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Getting Your Cat to Drink More Water

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We have a cat that won't drink much water. This worries us because we know how many cats die from kidney problems. We started adding extra water to his wet (or dry) food. This makes a sort of "gravy" which he'll lap up like there's no tomorrow! He can't get enough!

Plus, since he's got a bit of a weight problem anyway, the extra "gravy-water" helps him to feel full so he stops begging for more. Be careful not to add to much water or they won't eat the food. It's probably best if you start by "slowly" adding just a tiny bit of water at first, then gradually add a bit more at a time. We use Friskies Prime Filets cat food which has a bit of gravy in it. This mixes in easily with the water. I'm looking for any way to get extra water into his diet and this is one way we've found that actually works!

By Cyinda from Seattle

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By meshube210/01/2012

I agree with the water in motion. We have a cat that would not drink water out of bowls, and would only drink out of a sink with running water, which we did not like him getting on the counters, so we had to come up with a different scenario. We came across the electric watering bowl and it did not take him long to discover it. He literally sat for several minutes drinking from it. He got to a point that he would drink it as the water was coming out of the hole. We have noticed that he is a private drinker. If he knows that we are watching he sometimes gets distracted from what he was doing and will walk away at times. So we placed his water in an area that may be more private and not as much traffic. The most ironic thing that I have notice is that I thought our cat was the only one, but looking at your post and observing all the motorized watering dishes in the pet store, I realized there is a whole lot more cats in his same way. Good luck with what you decide.

By meshube210/01/2012

I agree with the water in motion. We have a cat that would only drink out of a sink with running. He would not drink water that was placed in a bowl. We came across the electric watering bowl and it did not take him long to discover it. He literally sat for several minutes drinking from it. He got to a point that he would drink it as the water was coming out of the hole. We have noticed that he is a private drinker. If he knows that we are watching he sometimes gets distracted from what he was doing and will walk away at times. So we placed his water in an area that may be more private and not as much traffic. The most ironic thing that I have notice is that I thought our cat was the only one, but looking at your post and observing all the motorized watering dishes in the pet store, I realized there is a whole lot more cats in his same way. Good luck with what you decide.

By meshube210/01/2012

I agree with the water in motion. We have a cat that would only drink out of a sink with running water. He would not drink after our other cat nor drink water that was placed in a bowl. We came across the electric watering bowl and it did not take him long to discover it. He literally sat for several minutes drinking from it. He got to a point that he would drink it as the water was coming out of the hole. We have noticed that he is a private drinker. If he knows that we are watching he sometimes gets distracted from what he was doing and will walk away at times. So we placed his water in an area that may be more private and not as much traffic. The most ironic thing that I have notice is that I thought our cat was the only one, but looking at your post and observing all the motorized watering dishes in the pet store, I realized there is a whole lot more cats in his same way. Good luck with what you decide.

By MissyM03/16/2010

Amazing! I always wondered why my cat would use her paw to move her water bowl before drinking. I thought she just liked to see the water move! She always spilled the water, so I bought her a bowl that had a rubber bottom and wouldn't move. I'll put the old bowl back.

By Emily (Guest Post)12/26/2008

I need advice on getting my cats to drink water. One has gotten sick from urinary infections (crystals and blood) in the past 3 months. We stopped giving both dry food two weeks ago. Our male cat however, is not so fond of the all wet food diet and seems to be eating less, but I was told the Innova Evo I was feeding them has been known to cause crystals. I am trying to get them to eat 5-6 oz of wet food daily each.

Would like to do more, but my husband is concerned of the cost because each can costs at least $1. I have tried to different types of water fountains for them and they refuse to drink from either so had to return them. I don't know if it is the motor they dislike, that is what we are thinking. Our water at this apartment has chlorine in it and we got a aquasana filter for our tap and shower water for them. It worked at first, then the female got sick and the vet said she still was not getting enough water even though they were drinking what seemed to be a lot. But in the last two weeks both of them are drinking very very little water. I have no idea what else to try, and am afraid that chicken broth might have too high a fat content for them that it could cause pancreatitis, like table scraps do. Any ideas? We need your help. Thank you.

By Cyinda [214]04/27/2008

I've recently started buying my cat litter at a wonderful "natural" type of pet food store (see: http://www.thriftyfun.com/tf45749477.tip.html ) and they've educated me about cats & water. Here's what they've told me:

Domesticated cats evolved from desert cats where little water is available, so their bodies are adapted to extracting water from prey as their primary source. Cats are not thirst driven like dogs. Dry food contains very little water, so cats who eat dry food must increase their water intake in order to avoid dehydration. Their systems were not designed for the need to drink large amounts of water & it does not come naturally to them. Natural prey is sixty-five to seventy-five percent water. Because our cats evolved from desert cats where little water was available, their bodies are adapted to extracting water from prey as their primary source of hydration.They cannot seem to drink enough water to maintain proper hydration while being on dry food.

The owners of this "natural" pet store said one of their employees was at a "Pet Food Quality" conference where someone mentioned the problem in the US of many cats dying from kidney disease, when someone atending the conference from Europe mentioned they don't have this problem in Europe because they only feed their cats wet food in Europe. This way cats get almost enough water from their food. I of course asked "But what about their teeth?" to which she replied "That's a common fallacy, the way cat's teeth are made is not like dogs. They usually don't even chew up the dried food, but instead usually swallow it whole, so dried food can't help cat's teeth anyway." Instead, if you can't brush their teeth, then give them something to chew on that will make their saliva increase or add a "plaque & tarter control supliment" to their food or give them a "Dental Treat" like "Greenies" They work by binding with the calcium ions so it won't become plaque.

HERE'S A FREE SAMPLE FOR GREENIES DENTAL TREATS:
http://www.greenies.com/en_US/FreeSample/

PETSMART $2.99:
http://www.petsmart.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3082073

Another important thing they told me about water was that since cats evolved from the desert, they have an instinct to not drink water that sits in the same place day after day... (they think it's stagnant water) they also said that the very worse place to keep a cats water dish was beside their food... (strange but true!) & that if you move their water dish every few days to other places all around the house they will be more likely to drink from it.

But me? I've found that for MY cat, I can add quite a bit of water to his food. I call his new meal "Friskies Soup"... I give him about 1/3 can of wet food, with a bit of dried food & add as much water as I can & sill have him drink/eat it... We do this "soup" for 1 meal per day. At least now I know he's getting his daily water intake! And he won't have crystals building up in his urinary tract.

By Beth [25]04/04/2008

I've been adding a little water to my cat's food for a long time partly for that reason. And to the person looking for salt-free chicken broth, yes you should be able to find that in a health food store. But I have also made my own by boiling chicken (that I then grind up for the cats) and then chilling the broth and straining it through coffee filters. They LOVE it!

By Cyinda [214]04/03/2008

I also wanted to mention that several days ago my vet mentioned giving my cat watered down Chicken Broth (to get more liquids in him) She said a little salt wouldn't hurt him IF the salt made him drink MORE water, but if he didn't start drinking MORE water, then take away the salted broth because it would cause more harm than good. I'm looking for a NON-salted Chicken Broth, but can't find it at any stores in our area... (Maybe a Health Food Store?) Does anyone out there know of a brand of UNsalted chicken broth I can give my cat?

By Marie (Guest Post)04/02/2008

Our vet suggested slightly salting our cat's can food to make him drink more. We only gave our cat can food every other day, more of a treat than a meal. We fed him a premium dry cat food that was kept out at all times. I put together a small dish fountain using a small aquarium pump and large river stones and kept it on the floor. I made it simple so it would be easy to clean. Make sure the dish is deep to hold enough water so the water level doesn't go below the pump's intake. He lived to be fifteen years old. How I remember how he loved his water fountain.

By Smileah [2]04/01/2008

What a great idea! Yes, it is so important. We lost a dear little kitty named Felix to kidney disease in December, and I am now always looking for ways to keep Stella - our other cat - completely healthy.
I also like the idea of water in motion. I shall look into it! Surely there is a thrifty way to devise one of those?
This is a great tip. Thankyou.

By Cyinda [214]04/01/2008

Yes, at first I thought he might just like water that was "in Motion", but he isn't at all interested in running water (from the tap) as my daughters & sisters cats are. So I'll now try the "spring Water" trick, but I'm afraid he'll taste the plastic of the gallon jug. Maybe I'll have to buy water in only glass jugs? ... Oh well, at least he's now drinking water because we're mixing it with his food! We found that the canned food that is "ground" into fine pieces mixes with water even better than Friskies Prime Filets. We like the kind that says it's for "Urinary Health" because many cats die from kidney disease.

By kidsNclutter (Guest Post)04/01/2008

We give our pets, cats & dogs, water filtered through a Brita pitcher. We drink only the filtered water also. It tastes so much better & does seem to remove chlorine & other impurities.

By Carol W. [3]04/01/2008

I do the same for my cat with her wet food and she cleans up the broth first. She won't drink tap water, which has chlorine in it. I bring home spring water for her and she drinks that without any problem. Taking her cue, our parrot now only gets the spring water as well.

By Kelly [3]04/01/2008

Usually when a cat won't drink water, it's because he wants his water "in motion" rather than just sitting there. (I guess it seems stagnant to them when it's still.) There are water bowls you can buy that use an aquarium-type pump to keep the water moving. I use the Petmate Fresh Flow. It works great, and the cats love it.

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