Solve with this guide your doubts about the hydration of cats. Find out how much water they need per day, how you should give it and much more.
Putting in the same sentence the words cats and water almost seems like a joke, because everyone knows that the relationship between them is not too good. Cats, by nature, don't like getting wet. But water is necessary to maintain your hygiene and, of course, to make your body function properly.
Many cats even have trouble staying properly hydrated. They drink less than they need and this can lead to major diseases.
Cats and water - All you have to know
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Therefore, to know how much cats should drink and what type of liquids are most suitable for their organisms we have written this guide.
Topics covered in this publication:
How do cats drink?
First of all, analyze the system that cats use to drink water. They do it so fast that, naturally, it is almost impossible to discover their technique. But for that there is technology, which allows us to observe in slow motion your way of drinking.
The cats bend back the tongue forming a kind of U and with it they lightly touch the surface of the water. Just when they touch the water, the cats pick up the tongue causing the inertia to also raise a small thread of water that goes straight to their mouth. This movement lasts less than a second and they repeat it constantly until they manage to quench their thirst.
Watching it in slow motion is very curious, because water seems to defy gravity.
The video shows how cats drink, but ... how much does a cat drink? It is another question that many owners ask themselves. We analyze it below.
How much do cats drink?
There is a fork marked by specialists that marks the minimum and maximum water limits that a cat should ingest. The recommendation is that the cat drinks at least 50 ml. of water for every kilo of weight. Thus, a cat of five kilos should drink at least 250 ml of water daily, that is, a glass of whole water of a normal size.
The maximum limit is usually set in double, about 100 ml. daily, but these are indicative amounts that may vary depending on the feeding, the physical activity of the animal, etc ...
Of course, temperature is the factor that most influences when calculating the amount of water a cat should drink. In winter, hydration needs are lower, although it should not be neglected because a lack of water in too cold environments can also easily lead to worrisome diseases.
In summer, as happens to humans, cats need more hydration and can easily exceed those 100ml / kg we talked about before. Their own instinct makes them drink less than the bill, so in summer it is necessary to "force" them to hydrate properly. The best way to do this is to provide them with foods that contain more water or feed them in a bowl with some water. Thus, at the same time that it feeds it will contribute water to your body.
As we can see, our cat drinks enough water is essential, because what happens if our cat is not properly hydrated?
What happens if the cat does not drink?
If we see that our cat does not drink enough water we should worry. Lack of hydration can favor the onset of diseases such as urine infections, commonly known as urine crystallization, as well as other health problems.
If the cat does not drink it will go into a dehydration process that can be complicated by causing other diseases. The symptoms of dehydration of these animals are:
- Accelerated and difficult breathing
- Increased heart rate
- Hollow eyes
- Loss of skin elasticity
- Urine too concentrated (with a very dark color)
Dehydration is a problem that affects many animals when summer heat comes, something you can learn more in this guide: How do animals survive summer?
How long does a cat stand without drinking?
As in the case of humans, cats can endure several days without eating but no more than 48 hours without water. It is not even recommended that they exceed 24 hours without ingesting a drop of water.
Therefore, if you plan to leave your cat alone at home for several days, you should leave him with enough food and water.
Problems derived from poor hydration of cats
As we pointed out above, dehydration of cats can cause more serious diseases and worst of all, in a very small space of time if dehydration is not corrected properly.
Cats and water
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The most common problems in cats caused by poor hydration are:
- Renal problems: such as excessive concentration of urine, kidney stone formation, chronic renal failure, etc. They are quite common problems. In fact, chronic renal failure affects one in three cats older than ten years. Kidney problems are silent and slow developing diseases, but they can cause our cat's health to deteriorate if not treated in time. Therefore, it is recommended that from a certain age, between 6 and 8 years, our cat have regular check-ups.
- Liver problems: The liver soon suffers the consequences of dehydration and also the lack of food. Diseases such as liver lipidosis or feline cholangiohepatitis are the most common and although they do not have their direct cause in dehydration, this lack of water can accelerate liver processes causing the death of our pet in a short period of time.
- Hormonal problems: As the hyperthyroidism, a disease that is also quite common in cats older than eight years. Hyperthyroidism is a disease that causes weight loss, despite the fact that our cat eats abundantly and maintains normal physical activity.
Hyperthyroid cats usually end up dying from kidney or heart failure, so it is advisable to increase the checks as our pet ages.
Hyperthyroidism can be solved in several ways: with medication prescribed by the veterinarian to control hormonal levels, with radioactive iodine therapy or with surgery.
Keep in mind that the poor hydration of our cat can be a cause but also a consequence of other problems.
On the one hand, it is possible that a bad hydration is cause, for example, of problems in the kidneys of our animal. For another, it is possible that dehydration is a consequence of another disease, like a diarrhea in which the cat loses liquids much faster.
They are just two examples of how dehydration can affect our animal, so it is important to control the level of water the cat drinks. Next we analyze how to do it:
How to know if the cat is drinking enough water?
As in humans, the body of cats gives us clues as to whether there is dehydration. Some of those clues are:
- The sinking of the eyes: It is an indicative sign that our cat is dehydrated and needs to replenish fluids urgently. In fact, the symptom of sunken and dry eyes is a bad sign and it is advisable to visit the veterinarian to correct dehydration.
- The gums: It is another of the clues that the body of cats gives us. In a cat that drinks enough water, the gums are permanently wet. Therefore, when we observe that the gums are a bit dry or sticky, our cat should replace fluids.
- Skin elasticity: When the cat does not drink enough water, its skin becomes increasingly smooth and loses elasticity. You can verify this fact by gently pinching the skin of our cat's back. In the case of healthy cats, the skin automatically returns to its position. Therefore, if we observe that it takes longer for the skin to return to its site, it may be a symptom that our cat is dehydrated.
- The amount of water in your bowl: Normally, the dehydration process of a cat is slow and it is difficult to perceive it if it is not attentive. Therefore, the best way to know if our cat drinks enough water is to check the condition of his bowl daily and measure the amount of water he drinks. The bowl or drinking fountain is the best proof of how much our cat drinks.
If we perceive that our cat does not drink enough water we must take measures to correct this deficiency. We review below some tricks for cats to drink more water.
What do I do if my cat doesn't drink enough water?
As we said at the beginning, cats have a hard time keeping themselves well hydrated. Thus, Sometimes you have to help them drink, looking for original forms or adapting to the tastes of each pet. Some ideas or tricks to carry out if our cat does not drink enough are the following:
- Add water to your food: especially if they are dry feed, which have less concentration of water than canned food.
- Place small fountains at home: Some cats prefer to drink from these small domestic springs than from their own drinking fountains.
- Place bowls throughout the house: It is another good technique for our cat to end up drinking in any corner.
- Add flavor to the water: There are aromas and flavors that can be added to the water that we put in our drinking fountain to our cat. They are sold in specialized stores and in large stores. H> What happens if the cat vomits water?
Vomiting in cats is a sporadic fact that should not worry us. They may vomit due to multiple causes, such as eating a spoiled food, forming hairballs or having eaten too quickly.
Water vomiting should worry if they become recurring and that happens easily. Actually, if our cat vomits water very often it is telling us that he is probably suffering from a more serious internal disorder. It can be problems such as a kidney infection, a liver problem, a stomach or bowel disorder, a poor diet, an intolerance to any food, a tumor or the presence of a foreign element in the digestive system.
If it is observed that the cat vomits very often one must urgently go to the veterinarian.
On the other hand, that the cat vomits water sporadically can be a symptom of having drank too much or too quickly. Up to a point, vomiting from these causes can be normal while If you vomit water continuously it must be a veterinarian who clarifies what happens to our pet.
To prevent water from affecting our cat's digestive system, we must follow some recommendations regarding temperature, hygiene, etc ... Here are some temperature tips below.
Cats and cold water
Surely sometime in summer you have come home very hot and have drunk very cold water from the refrigerator. When you do that the throat seems to burn and the stomach undergoes a sudden change in temperature that is not good for our body. Well, something very similar happens with our kittens and cold water.
Cats can be hurt by too cold water, so it should be mixed with warm water to temper it.
What we should avoid, then, are the sudden changes in temperature, As we would do with our own body.
Cats and hot water
As usual, it is not advisable to give hot water to the cat to drink. Our little cats like fresh water more and usually reject water if it is at a higher temperature.
One of the options to give them water (such as the tap, for example) is to boil it. This is a recommended step for smaller kittens, who are weaker and more susceptible to disease, but if we do we must wait for the water to cool to offer it.
Cats and tap water
Who has a cat at home will know that they are very fond of drinking directly from the taps. There is no scientific explanation for this, they simply love to put their tongue under a dripping tap.
Is this hobby dangerous? Well it depends on the quality of the water. There are places in Spain where tap running water carries a huge amount of chlorine, lime and other additives which, in the long run, can affect the kidneys of our cats. However, there are other areas where tap water is clean and cats can drink it perfectly.
Unfortunately, it is increasingly difficult to find quality public waters that do not affect the delicate organisms of our pets. And although the overall quality of tap water in Spain is quite good, there are places where it is better to buy bottled water.
The most fortunate in this regard are the inhabitants of Burgos, San Sebastián and Las Palmas, the cities with the highest quality tap water according to the Organization of Consumers and Users (OCU).
Cats and mineral water
Mineral water is the alternative for those who believe that tap water can harm your cat's health. Bottled water usually contains less minerals than tap water, so a priori it is much better for our cats. There is no problem, therefore, in that cats drink mineral water to hydrate.
Cats and milk
The question about whether cats can drink milk is another one of the most frequent among the owners of these animals.
When cats are weaned, that is, when they stop feeding on their mothers' milk (they do so between 6 and 8 weeks after birth), they stop needing the contributions that milk provides them and acquire their nutrients through other foods
In fact, Some cats may develop lactose intolerance when they start growing. This happens because the enzymes responsible for digesting milk disappear from your body, although not all cats occur with the same intensity. That is why there are cats that can digest small amounts of milk and others that cause allergies, vomiting and diarrhea. The most tolerant to milk are those who continue to drink it often after they have been weaned.
It can be said that, in general, cats do not digest milk well, so it is not recommended that they drink it. In some cases they can take small amounts if we observe that they do not produce adverse effects, which also includes other dairy products such as yogurts or fresh cheeses.
In the case of lactating cats, which for some reason have been separated from their mother or we have found them on the street, there are special milks in all veterinary stores that replace breast milk. You can even prepare a breast-like milk with simple ingredients (¼ liter of lactose-free milk, a teaspoon of cream and an egg yolk) to feed our baby cat. Whether we buy it or do it at home, we must always administer it in small doses every two to three hours.
For adult cats that do not tolerate milk well, there are low lactose milks in the market for cats, similar to those taken by people suffering from lactose intolerance, which can be a good alternative for our pets, although they are much more expensive.
In any case, milk can never be one of our cat's main foods. As we say, adult cats get nutrients from milk from other foods, making it a perfectly dispensable food.
What not to give a cat to drink
We've talked about everything a cat has to drink to stay healthy, but we shouldn't overlook some fluids that he should never drink because they can damage his body. We list them below:
- Juices: Cats have trouble digesting fruits such as grapes, bananas, citrus fruits or avocados. Therefore, it is not recommended that you drink fruit juices, which can alter the proper functioning of your digestive system.
- Beb> The best water troughs for cats
Let's talk now about some types of cat drinkers. Let's put aside the classic bowls that must be filled manually to move to a higher level: the drinking fountains that include a bottle that dispenses the water needed to fill the bowl every time our cat empties it.
They are similar to those office machines that carry a large built-in blue carafe and can be very comfortable to avoid moving the site bowl every time we want to fill it. Although logically, we will have to change the carafe when it runs out.
By the way, even if it seems silly, The bowls must have a minimum width that allows the cat to drink water without its whiskers touching the edges. It's something they don't like and that, if we consider it, will help our cat drink more.
But without a doubt, those who have become the star drinkers are the famous electrical sources for cats. They were launched a few years ago almost as an object of luxury but nowadays they are quite popular.
These are sources that are connected to the electricity grid and that have a small pump that circulates the water between several platforms or that creates a continuous trickle so that our cat can drink. The truth is that these sources are very attractive to cats, since they prefer to drink water that jumps, runs or gushes to drink from a boring bowl. It is proven that cats drink more with these sources.
The sources for cats have some advantages that we mention below:
- Its maintenance is quite simple.
- They have parts that can be washed in the dishwasher.
- They call the attention of cats and invite them to drink
- They can have easily interchangeable filters.
However, they also have some drawbacks that should be taken into account when buying them:
- All produce some noise. The constant work of the engine produces noises that vary depending on the brand and virtually no escapes this detail that can be very annoying.
- They require a regular cleaning of the pieces and filters to prevent the accumulation of lime and dirt. Most manufacturers recommend washing the fountains every week.
- Plastic sources can cause allergies. Although there are other materials with which sources of this type are manufactured, such as ceramics or stainless steel, most are still plastic, a material that can cause problems in the health of our pet.
- Its price. And more than its price, it is the expense to which we must commit to pay for the spare parts of the filters and other parts. A source of this type, in the long run, is quite expensive.
- Electricity is not a good ally. The combination of electricity, water and cats can be a deadly trap for our pets.
There are few cases that have been documented of cats that die electrocuted by drinking water sources, and this danger throws back many potential buyers of this type of drinking fountain.
Our advice is that you carefully monitor the quality guarantees of these products and make sure you are very sure about the particular characteristics of each source. Informing yourself well and checking the quality certifications can save you a good dislike.
If you are looking for a cat drinker, we leave you some of the most recommended:
Cats little water drinkers
Cats tend to drink little water, so they should be motivated to drink liquid
Those who live with cats may be surprised to see their cats with their heads under the bathtub faucet, waiting for drops to fall, instead of going to their bowl with water. Know cat tastes when it comes to drinking water It helps them drink the fluid they need to avoid health problems, both urinary and kidney.
The ancestors of the current domestic felines are, according to Emily Badarako, a veterinarian specializing in felines, "the African wild cats who, due to the water shortage of the ecosystems they inhabit, adapted their liquid intake needs to survive."
However, poor water intake favors cats in the appearance of a common condition consisting of urine crystallization. This ailment causes them pain and urinary tract infection. This tendency of the cat to drink little water implies a high risk that the cat will drink less water than it needs to be healthy.
The usual amount of water a cat drinks when well hydrated is between 50 and 100 milliliters per kilo of weight per day. When the feline exceeds that limit, it may be due to causes such as renal malfunction. However, these water intake figures are relative, since they vary depending on circumstances, such as cat drinking water through wet feed or high temperatures causing you to be more thirsty and drink more.
How much water should a cat drink?
The amount of water consumption depends on a variety of factors, including the size of your cat, the time of the year and whether your cat's diet includes wet cat food or only dry cat food.
If cats are only given dry food, they will require significantly more supplementary water to remain acceptably hydrated.
Cat feed contains only 10% water, while canned foods contain approximately 80% water. So obviously Your cat will need to drink much more water if you only give it dry food.
How can I know if my cat drinks enough water?
There are several ways in which we can check if our cat drinks enough water, or if your cat is dehydrating:
- Skin elasticity: Gently pull your cat's skin at the base of the neck (neck). The skin should recede when you release it. If it does not, your cat may not drink enough water.
- Shiny fur without dry layers: It is a sign of hydration.
- Physical activity: If your cat is well hydrated it should exhibit normal physical activity and not be too lethargic.
- Does your cat urinate 2-3 times a day? You can check it by checking the sandbox.
How can I make my cat drink more water?
You can take a cat to the water, but can you make it drink? Water is essential for your cat's health and may even be useful to help prevent some serious health problems., such as feline urinary syndrome.
There are some steps you can take to encourage your kitten to stay hydrated:
– Add a little more water over your pet's canned food. This is not recommended for dry food, as it can cause it to spoil more quickly.
– Try using glass or stainless steel water bowls. Sometimes, plastic leaves a taste that cats don't like.
– Make sure the water is fresh and clean. Change your cat's water every day.
– Use filtered water instead of tap water. The latter may contain high levels of lime.
What does water intake depend on?
It can be a very complicated answer. Water intake may depend on the size of the cat, The time of year where you are and, as we all or most know, of your diet.
If our cat feeds only on commercial food, which only has 10% water in its composition, we must provide between 60 and 120 ml more than cats that feed on wet food, which can contain up to 80% of water inside. Therefore, a cat fed only with dry feed should drink more water than those fed with wet food, all to stay properly hydrated.
If we refer to the age of the cat, we should know that kittens and senile cats should drink more water than adults. But there is no rule for this in ages, although in weight. A 5 kg cat weight should drink 250 ml of water per day in natural conditions It is always important to know how much water our cat's drinking fountain can hold and, if possible, not refill until it is empty. But a cat should drink as much water as he would like, so it is always good to motivate him with different bowls in different places of the house, so he will never forget it.
Finally, it varies in small proportions according to the time of the year. It is not the same in summer, they suffer very hot, than in winter, when they do not want to separate a second from the stove, although to go to drink water. We must be rational in these cases so as not to alarm ourselves unnecessarily.
Recommended amount of water for a cat
Of course, the volume of water a cat should drink It depends on different factors, mainly three: its body weight, the room temperature and his feed type.
Given these variables, An adult cat should ingest between 50 ml. and 100 ml. daily water for every Kg of weight, to be it is optimal hydration conditions. Adjusting this wide margin to each animal will depend on the different circumstances. As with us, before a heat wave in the middle of July, your cat should drink more water than in February.
Regarding feeding, it is not the same as your cat just eat dry feed, - in which case water intake should be increased-, that combine that feed with other moist preparations that already include a certain proportion of liquids.
In any case, remember that the minimum is 50ml / day. A cat of about 5kg. You must therefore drink at least 250ml of water. (two glasses). You must and can maintain the good health of your cat, and proper hydration will be essential to avoid diseases.
To encourage you to drink, try to always have clean, fresh water within your reach and, preferably distributed in several aluminum or stainless steel bowls instead of plastic drinkers.
What to do so that the cat is hydrated?
We cannot and should not force the cat to consume water, the best thing is that we give you the necessary tools for the pussy to consume the liquid you need. This is:
- Strawberry water, clean and in quantity. Pigs usually prefer fresh water and reject spaces that are dirtier, so it will be convenient to change the water and clean the bowl frequently. It is also interesting that there is enough water, in fact, especially during hot times, it is convenient to have several containers with water. And one way to keep it cool in summer is to include a bucket of water (there are cats that also play with it and enjoy drinking water as well).
- Moving water. Many mininos prefer the water that is dripping than not stagnant water, it is said that this occurs because in its natural state if it consumes stagnant water it is more likely to get sick, and also because of the playful nature of the pussycat. One way to offer moving water is with a good source for cats. Other cats prefer to drink directly from the jet tap.
- Non-plastic container. This material is not usually liked by the cats, since it neither keeps the water at a cool temperature nor is it pleasant for the taste. It is better that the water bowl is made of stainless steel, aluminum or porcelain.
- Wet feeding. Normally domestic cats are fed with feed, whose amount of water is rather low, so it is convenient to offer wet canned food frequently. Soon we will talk in another article about how to combine feed and cans.
And obviously always observe what the cat does and how it behaves. If, for example, you are looking for water in other areas of the house, it can be a sign that if water is not to your liking or not enough.
There are situations that can lead to dehydration, for example if the cat has had vomiting or diarrhea, or has suffered a heat stroke. Or that it occurs more frequently in cats that are older or have health problems. In those cases you still have to be more careful.
What happens if the cat is not well hydrated?
The cat is formed of approximately 80% water, so it is vital for your health.
A cat that does not consume enough liquid can suffer from various pathologies that lead to death.
A frequent problem in cats that do not consume enough fluid is the urine crystallization, which results in pain and urinary tract infection.
Water is also necessary for help the kidneys eliminate toxins from the blood. So the kidney can be one of the big affected by the low consumption of liquid of the mininos. The kidneys of a young cat without health problems are more capable of concentrating many residues in small amounts of urine, but overexertion in this aspect ends up in kidney problems for the pussycat, even triggering chronic kidney disease. Given that this type of pathology is the most common in cats and the main cause of death in adult cats, it is important to avoid reaching this point.
The Lack of sufficient water consumption also affects tissues and organs, since for them to be healthy they have to be hydrated.
So it is more than obvious that water consumption is very important and that, before any warning sign, you should go to the veterinarian.