Although it is sometimes difficult to understand that your beloved domestic cat comes from the ancient desert-dwelling African wildcats, this rich heritage has led to some suggesting that cats are better suited to living on less water than dogs and different domesticated animals.
Although it’s true that cats typically consume less water than a dog on a pound basis and can also endure mild instances that may result from dehydration, it’s not safe to think they’ll live the same way as their predecessors.
While they’re both members of the same family tree, the way of life and diet of the wild cats from the past is quite different from today’s domestic cats. Wildcats get most of their drinking water from the prey they consume, and they remain active. In addition, many domestic cats consume kibble that has less moisture and is typically extremely busy. This can cause domestic cats to be more susceptible to dehydration, which can cause or worsen specific health issues.
However, what is the amount of liquids felines require? And how long can an animal go without drinking? Keep reading to learn all you should know about ensuring your cat is healthy and well-hydrated.
Why Cats Need Water
Every living thing on Earth needs water for survival, and cats are no exception. Around 60% of your cat’s body comprises liquid ( 1) that sustains most of your cat’s bodily functions. In the absence of it, the cats wouldn’t be in a position not to be able to digest and swallow food. Water is also the central part of blood required to carry nutrients and oxygen to the entire body. It also plays a crucial role in the production of urine, which assists in ridding our body of both waste and toxic.
How much water do cats require? A healthy adult cat that is average in size needs between 7 and 8 ounces of water daily. But the amount of water your pet requires daily can differ based on the amount of moisture in the food they consume. Dry food is only around 10% water, so should you feed your cat a diet, primarily kibble, it is essential to ensure that your cat has plenty of fluids. Food that is canned or wet contains 75 percent water. Therefore, it’s common for cats on this type of food to drink less.
Specific health issues can affect the amount of water your cat needs and vice versa. For instance, cats suffering from kidney diseases cannot create concentrated urine. They lose more water each time they pee. Therefore, they require more fluids than healthy cats to keep them well-hydrated. Cats suffering from diabetes or urinary issues must also take more fluids.
How Long Can a Cat Go Without Water?
Cats should have plenty of water to drink. However, because feline renal systems are very efficient in making concentrated urine, they may tolerate brief time without water better than other pets if they’re in good health. Therefore, if you replenish your cat’s empty tank for a couple of hours, the chances are that it will be fine. It could be a better decision to create an ongoing routine.
In general, if your cat is eating only the kibble, and you’ve not observed them drink water in the last at least 24 hours, this is a reason to be concerned and should prompt a visit to the veterinary clinic.
If your cat is eating a diet solely wet food and eating as usual, don’t be concerned even if you don’t find they are drinking for the next few days. Remember that wet food comprises most water, making it much easier for cats to drink enough water. If your cat isn’t drinking or eating food for the entire day, that’s alarming. If the pattern was to continue for more than three days, severe and possibly life-threatening dehydration may be the result.
Suppose your cat is suffering from severe kidney disease or diabetes or is taking diuretics to treat heart failure caused by congestive. In that case, dehydration is more likely to develop and could become dangerous within a day. Cats experiencing diarrhea as well as diarrhea may also be dehydrated quickly.
Signs of Dehydration in Cats
Pet owners must be aware of the signs of dehydration for cats, particularly in the case of an ongoing illness such as kidney failure. The following symptoms are indicative of dehydration:
- Gums that are sticky or dry
- The thick, stringy saliva
- Sunken eyes
- Skin is less elastic
- Heart rate is rapid
You should consult your vet immediately if any of these signs occur on your pet.
How to Get Cats to Drink More Water
Healthy cats can regulate their water intake and drink the amount their bodies require. However, constantly dehydrated cats could be more susceptible to kidney diseases such as obesity, obesity, Idiopathic cystitis (abnormal urinary symptoms), and bladder stones. This is why pet owners should consider improving how much water their pets drink at home.
Feeding your cat all or most in wet meals will help your pet remain hydrated, which is more than cat-feeding diets, primarily kibble. Kibble-feeding cats are more likely to consume more water. However, studies suggest that the quantity of water they drink could still be less than the amount of hydration found in diets that contain only wet food ( 1).
But switching to wet foods is only sometimes the most effective solution to the problem of dehydration. Particular cats might turn their noses on a damp diet, particularly when fed kibble all their life. Additionally, some pet parents think moist food is too costly or difficult to access.
Another method to boost the amount of water a cat eats is to include water in their food. However, determining the amount your cat can take is a delicate matter. Add a tiny portion of water to your cat’s food for the best results to observe its reaction. If they are still eating, add a small amount of water to the kibble each meal for as long as they continue to consume their food.
Some cats think running water is more attractive than a static water bowl, so it is possible to boost your cat’s intake by using a cat’s drinking fountain or drip faucet. But, this is primarily an individual choice, and pet owners should play around with various options to determine which cat’s preferences are the most appealing ( 2).
The type and location of the water bowl you choose could impact the amount your cat drinks. In a survey conducted by the pet food manufacturer Royal Canin, results indicated that, on average, cats preferred bowls with smaller diameters. They also liked the drink in bowls placed separately from the food bowl ( 2).
Cat owners can also consider adding small amounts of tuna or chicken broth to their cat’s water to make it more fragrant and attractive.
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In the past, Purina released a nutrient-enriched water for cats that is flavored known as Hydra Care. Based on the results of Purina’s tests, adding this enhanced water to the regular water has increased the total consumption by 28 percent in cats who participated in the research ( 3). The supplement with a taste of liver isn’t only more delicious than regular water, but it’s made to be denser and denser. Cats consume more volume of it when they take it up. If you think this is appealing, ask your veterinarian if this is a suitable supplement for your pet.
For cats with urinary problems or other abnormalities, like bladder stones or the tendency to urinate outside the litter box due to idiopathic cystitis, an individualized urinary diet could improve their hydration levels and help prevent the recurrence of issues. These diets, known as Royal Canin Urinary So and Hill’s C/D diets, assist in boosting water intake by adding more sodium into the dishes, making cats thirstier. These diets aren’t suitable for cats suffering from specific ailments like heart disease or high blood pressure.
Ensuring your cat is well-hydrated is vital to maintaining the overall condition of their health and well-being. However, even if your cat needs a little coaxing to satisfy their daily water needs, This simple guideline can aid in getting your pet to drink more and remain well-hydrated. Remember, if you think your cat isn’t getting enough fluids or isn’t adequately hydrated, talk to your vet and bring your cat for an examination immediately if you notice signs of dehydration.
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