How to help keep your cat hydrated in the heat
Good hydration is extremely important for cats to keep them healthy, but owners can find that sometimes their pets need encouragement to drink. Cats need to drink 300ml of water a day for optimal health and while feeding a wet food can help with their fluid intake, it is still necessary for them to take in additional water.
During hot weather, cats need to drink more than usual to maintain healthy skin and organ function. If your cat is not drinking enough to meet their daily needs, they can become dehydrated which can lead to ill health. Symptoms of dehydration include dry skin, loss of appetite, drooling, panting, weakness, trembling, and increased heart rate. If you notice any of these signs in your cat you should seek veterinary attention as soon as possible.
Cats can be fussy drinkers when it comes to the source of water they drink from. This is because they have retained the survival instincts of their wild ancestors by not drinking from standing water, which could be stagnant and make them ill. This is why you might find your cat ignores their water bowl but will try to drink from the kitchen tap at every opportunity instead. Cats naturally seek out running water as they know it will be fresher and free from contaminants.
To help your cat stay hydrated on hot days, follow our drinking top tips!
- Cats are put off drinking if they can smell food at the same time, so make sure your pet’s food and water bowls are not too close together. If possible, keep them in different rooms or at either end of the room. Also, make sure you are not putting their bowls anywhere near their litter tray.
- Try adding a little water to your cat’s dry food to increase their fluid intake on hot days.
- On a hot day your cat might be more inclined to drink from their water bowl if you add some ice cubes to cool it down. You could also add some ice cubes to their food so that they gradually melt as they are eating, increasing the moisture content of their dinner.
- Cats can be fussy about water bowls because their whiskers are very sensitive. They won’t like the feeling of touching the sides of a bowl with their whiskers so make sure the receptacle you use is wide enough for this not to happen. Make sure you fill the bowl right up to the top too so your cat doesn’t have to put its face too far in to find the water.
- Cats can be fussy about what material their water bowls are made from. Avoid stainless steel as cats can become distracted and worried by their own reflection in the mirrored surface.
- Give your cat a choice of watering holes by leaving a few different water bowls around the house in a variety of quiet locations and at different heights.
- Ensure all water bowls are thoroughly cleaned daily and regularly refreshed so that the water stays as fresh as possible.
- Consider splashing out on a special pet drinking fountain which will supply a constant source of fresh drinking water without you having to leave the kitchen tap on.
- If you are really struggling to get your cat to drink and you think they may be becoming dehydrated, speak to your vet. There are products that can be added to water to make it more palatable to cats but these should only be used with veterinary advice.