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ENCOURAGING WATER CONSUMPTION BY CATS
Cats originated as desert animals; they are not normally inclined to drink a lot of water. Inadequate water consumption is a significant predisposing factor for serious bowel and urinary problems.
Cat lovers are very aware that cats can be very finicky about what they eat, but we do not ordinarily think that they might be equally as finicky about what they drink. Simply putting fresh water down in a bowl each day might not be enough; here are some variations on providing water that could increase consumption:
Provide fresh water daily
Try filtered or bottled water in place of tap water.
Flavor water with ice cubes made from clam or tuna juice.
Provide water in more than one location. If possible, do not place water next to food bowls, and never place it next to litter boxes. If your cats are allowed on the counter or table, keep a full glass or bowl there for them.
Experiment with different types of water containers - bowls and glasses of all sizes and shapes. Try wide and shallow bowls, and dog bowls with edges wide enough that the cat can comfortably place it's front feet on it (picture a lion crouched at the edge of a pond). Some cats will drink from a glass, and some cats prefer running water such as a dripping tap or pet water fountain.
Keep the water container filled to the top.
The water containers should be meticulously cleaned often. Stainless steel and ceramic will not retain odor and are easiest to clean.
Increase the frequency of meals. Cats that eat 2 to 3 times each day will drink more water. But do not increase the amount of food, just the number of meals.
Add water to canned food. Do not make it too soupy. Some cats will even accept water added to dry food.
(A cat will never drink "too much" water; you do not have to worry that you will be "too successful" in your effort to get your cat to drink more. Some illnesses will cause a cat to drink a lot, (diabetes, for example) but even in these cases the cat should have an ever-present water supply that it prefers.)
Yarmouth Veterinary Center
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