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how to get a cat to drink more water

Water is as essential for cats, as much as it is for humans. Just like us, a large proportion of a cat’s body weight is water. Despite this necessity, cats often tend to avoid drinking water and develop a tendency to oppose it.

Their ancestors are predominantly desert animals, and cats can persist without water for a longer time than other animals. However, they still need to stay healthy and hydrated. If your cat is refusing to drink water for an extended period, it can become a significant cause of worry.

Thankfully, alternative options can be incorporated to get your cat hale and hearty again. Here are a few tips you can try that generally works with cats.

You might also like to read about the water bowl for Persian cats. We test many bowls and finally make a list of bowls that Persian cats actually like.

Why did my cat stop drinking water? 

There are various reasons why cats suddenly reduce their intake of water. One common explanation found typically among the felines is that they tend to despise still or motionless water. This attitude can be associated with their instinct of avoiding stagnant water in the wild, deeming it to be dangerous. 

On other occasions, when a cat stops eating or drinking, it can be a sign of an underlying disease like kidney disease, periodontal disease, endocrine diseases, or sometimes even cancer. When a cat falls ill, their urge to drink water reduces. 

Nonetheless, you need not start fretting, as that might not always be the case. Less severe issues like the material and size of the bowl, the cleanliness, temperature, age, and as much as location can become an issue for your beloved pet. 

There is also a possibility that if you recently changed your cat’s diet from dry food to wet food, they might refrain from water. The intake of wet food would give them the necessary moisture content, making them less thirsty in general. 

How to Get My Cat to Drink More Water? 

1. Wet Food 

Wet Food

Firstly, if your cat eats wet food as a part of its diet, you can relax on this subject as it is an excellent source of hydration. If you are still not content with their water consumption, you can add small amounts of water to the food. 

If your cat is currently taking dry food, you can consult with your veterinarian and slowly incorporate wet foods into their diet. If your cat does not seem to like wet food and refuses to take them, you can add water to soften dry food.

If they still show aversion to it, do not force them and give them what they relish. 

2. Location

Cats do not like to be pushed to a corner. Their natural instinct is to be wary of what is happening around them and have a good view of their surroundings.

Move their bowl to a new location, or try placing multiple bowls in different spots across your home. This also works if you have multiple pets, as the smell might discourage them from sharing water. 

3. Switch up the water bowl 

If the existing bowl is deep and narrow for your cat, try switching to a bowl with a broader and shallower base and see if your cat treats it differently.

Bottomless bowls force cats to wet their whiskers while drinking, making it uncomfortable for them. 

4. Place it next to the food bowl 

Try placing a water bowl next to their food. This might encourage them to sip water on the side as they get their tummies filled. It also works if your cat eats dry food, making it satisfactory for them.

You can also utilize a timed feeder in the kibble, and your cat is more likely to drink water placed next to it as they wait. 

5. Add ice or flavor 

Adding ice cubes to the water will interest your cat as it adds a taste and gives them something to play with. You can also add flavors like low sodium tuna or chicken broth to entice your cat.

Make sure that whatever you add does not have too much salt. Consult your vet regarding the same. 

6. Water Fountains

Cats are easily lured by running water, and getting your pet a water fountain is a profitable alternative. They are naturally attracted by running water as it appeals to their senses and this can make a pleasurable and playful habit. 

Nevertheless, it is important that you clean the parts regularly and keep it free of bacteria and other harmful substances. Otherwise, your cat will quickly lose interest and start neglecting it. 

7. Other options

Sometimes, your cat might fancy drinking water from leaky faucets and pipes than bowls or fountains. If you notice them enjoy the running water, maintain the tap on a light drip and turn them off when your cat has had enough.

Although this approach is not appreciable as it wastes precious water, come up with other alternatives in the meantime or talk with your vet for a cat hydration supplement. 

Milk is not a suitable alternative to water either. Contrary to common stereotypes, do not feed milk to your cat as they are lactose intolerant and it will only make them sick, even though cats love milk for its fat content.

Also, educate yourself on how much water does a cat drink? So you can better understand the required liquid intake of your cat.

When Should I Take My Cat to the Vet? 

When your cat has stopped consuming water, it is necessary that you keep an eye on what they are doing. If they go 48-72 hours without drinking water or show any symptoms of dehydration, take your cat to a veterinarian as soon as possible. 

Some very common signs of dehydration include loss of appetite, trembling, lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive or infrequent urination, panting, or drooling. Gently pull your cat’s skin over their shoulders. If it returns back to its normal position very slowly, as opposed to a quick return, then there is a high chance that they are dehydrated. 

If your cat is active as usual and does not show signs of dehydration, it is best to be patient and see what interests your cat. After all, every animal is distinct and requires time to adapt to change. 

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