Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Cats and Water - Here Are the Facts!


Did you know that a cat's body weight is 2/3 water? Although most people don't think of water as a nutrient, it is vital to your cat's health and serves as the center of all chemical processes. To our feline friends, water is the "king of all nutrients!"

No, seriously...they need a lot of it to be healthy. It is common belief that cats were first found and domesticated in Egypt - the desert. They are carnivores. This means that they got their nutrition from killing their prey...fresh, bloody, moist, dead animals. Gross, I know. Their diets consisted of mostly rodents, birds, amphibians, and insects - beings whose tiny bodies contain 70-75% water. Because of their diets, cats don't naturally drink a lot of water. Outdoor cats or indoor cats who eat only canned food do not need as much water as indoor cats who eat dry kibble. Canned food contains a lot of water, and, as long as the water content of the food does not dip below 61%, extra drinking water may not always be needed. And, even with water bowls available to kitties who eat only dry food, they still will not drink nearly enough water on their own to compensate.

Domesticated cats' thirst drive has also diminished, so without feeding mostly canned food, control of water intake and balance can be difficult. When a cat is thirsty or dehydrated, they are slower to initiate drinking and will take up to 24 hours to replenish six percent of their body weight as opposed to dogs, who can take as little as one hour to do the same. Wow!! 

So, how much water DOES your kitty need??? Cats need five to ten fluid ounces of water each day.

Here are some tips and tricks up the water intake in your feline:

  • The number one way to ensure your kitty is getting adequate moisture is to feed a mostly canned/raw diet - it's important to know that not all canned food is created equal. Check the product label and the Guaranteed Analysis to see just how much water it contains. 
  • If you feed your kitty dry food only, moisten it with water or broth.
  • Provide plenty of water bowls throughout their living space to make access easy.
  • Fountains will sometimes lure kitties over and prompt them to drink.
  • Try adding low-sodium tuna juice or clam juice to your cat's water...you can even get creative and freeze into little ice cubes to add to the water bowls.
  • Test different bowls - your kitty may not want to share your dog's water bowl...slobber...ew!
  • Embrace your cat's quirky need to drink from the faucet!!!

For more information on this subject and to see where I got all of these fun facts, you can visit: animalendocrine.info/2011/10/daily-water-requirements-and-needs-for.html

Allison Otero
Owner, AlleyCat's Pet Service


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