Updated: July 25, 2023
Cats are obligate carnivores, meaning they require meat in their diet. Cats naturally get hydration from raw meat sources, which works well for cats who are out in the wild, catching prey daily.
For house-dwelling cats on a dry kibble diet, there is a need to supplement with water to make sure they are getting the hydration they need.
Cats surprisingly do not need as much water throughout the day as we might think. Due to the lineage of cats dating back to desert animals, they have adapted over time to require little water to survive. Though this is true, their low levels of thirst do not necessarily mean that they don’t need any water.
Without proper amounts of hydration, organs will not function correctly, and the digestive system will not absorb all of the minerals and nutrients needed to stay healthy.
Cats who are consuming raw meat will need less supplemental water than cats who are being fed dry kibble. Research from Dr. Beth Turner states that cats need approximately 3.5-4.5 ounces of water per day per five pounds of body weight.
From understanding the signs of dehydration to discovering innovative ways to encourage water intake, our goal is to equip you with the knowledge and tools needed to keep your cat hydrated and happy.
Understanding Cat Hydration Needs
Understanding the hydration needs of our beloved feline friends is crucial to their overall well-being. Cats need to stay hydrated for various reasons, as water plays a vital role in their bodily functions.
From maintaining body temperature and lubricating joints to aiding digestion and waste elimination, water is essential for every aspect of a cat's health.
As responsible cat owners, it's essential to be aware of the signs of dehydration in our furry companions.
Signs of Dehydration
- Low energy
- Decreased Appetite
- Sunken eyes
- Dry & Pale Gums
- Dry Skin
- Thick Saliva
- Reduced Urine Output
Understanding the factors influencing a cat's water intake can help us take proactive measures to ensure they stay hydrated. As a responsible pet owner, take these factors into consideration to determine how much water your cat needs to stay hydrated.
Factors Influencing a Cat's Water Intake
- Diet: Cats consuming dry food tend to drink more water than those on a wet food diet since dry food contains less moisture.
- Age: Kittens generally need more water than adult cats. This increased water requirement is mainly due to their higher metabolic rate and rapid growth during the early stages of life.
- Weather Conditions: If your cat ventures outside on the daily, temperatures and humidity can influence how much water a cat needs to stay hydrated.
- Health Status: A cat’s activity level and health status can affect their water intake. Illnesses, medications, or certain medical conditions may increase or decrease a cat’s hydration needs.
5 Ways to Keep Your Cat Hydrated
As mentioned above, keeping your cat hydrated is vital for their health and well-being. Here are # effective ways to ensure your cat stays adequately hydrated.
1. Provide Fresh Water
Keep a water bowl available with fresh water. Cats love fresh, clean water, so be sure to empty the bowl completely and make sure there is no built-up slime or leftover food particles floating around in the water.
2. Present Water in Different Ways
Find different ways to offer water to your cat. Cat owners may be familiar with the curiosity that our feline friends have. Finding different ways to present water to them (e.g., running a faucet, a glass of water on a table, moving the bowl to a new location/using a new bowl) can help keep them mentally stimulated and interested in hydrating.
3. Incorporate Wet Food into the Diet
Incorporating wet cat food into your cat's diet can effectively enhance their hydration. With its high moisture content of approximately 70-80%, wet cat food serves as an excellent source of hydration for cats, fulfilling their natural water intake needs.
In contrast, dry cat food contains only 5-10% water, which may not be sufficient to keep them adequately hydrated.
To strike the right balance, opt for high-quality wet cat food while ensuring a well-rounded and nutritionally balanced diet with the guidance of a veterinarian, thus promoting your cat's health and reducing the risk of urinary tract and kidney issues associated with dehydration.
4. Freeze-Dried Raw Cat Treats
Momentum Carnivore Nutrition’s line of freeze-dried raw cat treats are a perfect option for incorporating raw food into your cat’s diet.
Add a little fresh water or diluted broth to the food to further increase the amount of water being consumed.
5. Add Broth to Your Cat's Water
Occasionally offer low-fat, low-sodium broth to your cat’s water bowl. Keep your cat interested with a different taste every now and then. They may feel inclined to drink more of a tasty liquid than plain water.
What to Do if Your Cat is Dehydrated
If you suspect your cat is dehydrated, act promptly and seek veterinary assistance.
Offer fresh water immediately in a clean and accessible bowl. Try different water containers or a pet water fountain to entice them to drink.
If severe dehydration symptoms persist, such as sunken eyes or lethargy, schedule a visit to the veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and treatment, which may involve intravenous fluids and addressing underlying health issues.
If you are concerned about your cat not getting enough hydration throughout the day, or if you notice any signs of dehydration, speak with your veterinarian!