Water is essential to all living things, and cats are no exception. Like most mammals, cats need water to be able to function well. Without sufficient water, they may suffer from dehydration, urinary and kidney problems, or even death, in worst cases.
Cats need to have access to clean water at all times and should be replaced at least once daily. Whether you provide your cat water in old-fashioned pet bowls or fancy cat fountains, it’s important to wash and change them regularly. The frequency of refills will greatly depend on various factors, which we shall discuss in a bit.
There is a lot of conflicting information out there when it comes to changing your cat’s water. How often should you change the water? How often should you wash the bowl? Every cat owner seems to have a say on this matter. So, we have decided to take a closer look at these issues to find out everything we have to know about your cat’s hydration and bowl hygiene.
How much water should a cat drink?
To be able to know the proper frequency of water refills, you have to determine your cat’s rate of water consumption first. Although cats need to be well-hydrated to maintain a healthy body, they don’t actually need as much water as you think.
If your cat’s diet is primarily wet cat food, your cat will naturally drink less water. You may even rarely see your cat drink at all. This is because canned or wet cat food already contains a high percentage of water.
On the other hand, cats on a dry food diet tend to consume more water. Nevertheless, you should still make sure that clean water is accessible to your cat every day on different areas of the house your cat frequents.
Other factors such as environment, age, and health condition also influence your cat’s water consumption. For example, hot weather can make a cat drink more water. Certain health conditions such as kidney disease, thyroid problems, or diabetes can also increase a cat’s need for hydration.
What type of water should you give your cat?
Cats can be very picky about their drinking water. Some cats don’t like the taste of hard water, which is high in mineral salts, while some cats are good with any kind of water as long as it’s clean.
As famed veterinarian and author James Herriot once said, “Cats are connoisseurs of comfort.”, so it’s not surprising that these felines are very particular about everything that concerns them.
In general, filtered water is recommended for cats as it removes some of the chemicals that may have distinguishable odors and taste.
Refilling Cat Fountains vs. Water Bowls
Cats like the taste of clean water. Being the fastidious felines that they are, they will never drink water that doesn’t taste or smell up to their standards. However, it’s nearly impossible to continuously refill their bowls with a fresh supply of water every couple of hours.
Fortunately, there are options for cat owners who care about the quality of water their pets are drinking—one of which, is the cat fountain.
Cat fountains are ergonomically designed water fountains that help cats drink water easily. You may have noticed that cats have this fascination with faucets.
This is because cats have a natural instinct to drink from running water sources. The sound and motion of the water circulating on the fountain are very attractive to cats, which entices them to drink from it more.
Cat fountains can be refilled less frequently than traditional water bowls. As they have a bigger water capacity, you don’t have to constantly refill it.
If you opt to stick to the more conventional way of using water bowls for your cat’s hydration fix, prepare to change the water more often—at least once a day.
Cat Water Temperature
Cats have a reputation of being finicky, even when it comes to the water they drink. These fussy felines usually prefer their water on the cooler side, but then again, your cat might have a different preference.
During summer months, cats really enjoy really cold water. You can even try putting ice cubes on your cat’s bowl of water to make their water drinking more enjoyable. Your cat can lick the ice cubes or even play with it, while the water stays perfectly chilly for hours.
On the other hand, your cat might prefer room temperature or maybe even something slightly warmer during the cold winter months.
If you notice that your cat doesn’t seem to be drinking enough, try changing the water temperature or their water bowl. You’ll have to experiment with the water temperature to figure out what they exactly like, as they can’t tell you what they want.
Keeping the Water Clean
Cleaning your cat’s water bowl or water fountain on a regular basis is important to prevent bacteria from contaminating your cat’s drinking water. Microbes that live in your cat’s mouth and saliva can be transferred to their water bowl or fountain, creating an ideal environment for growth.
Water bowls should be wiped dry before refilling and thoroughly washed with hot, soapy water every couple of days, or more often as necessary. Stainless steel, porcelain, or glass water bowls are highly recommended as they can be sanitized thoroughly unlike those that are made of plastic.
Cat fountains, on the other hand, should be cleaned at least once a week. Filters of cat fountains should also be replaced on a regular basis.
Do cats like ice cubes on their drinking water? Some cats really love cold water, so adding ice cubes on their drinking water would be such a treat for them. If you’re wondering if it’s risky, then you don’t have to worry. Cats won’t choke on ice cubes because unlike dogs, they don’t gulp. They can only take in little amounts of water with their teeny tiny tongues.
Why do cats not drink water next to their food? Cats don’t like it when their water bowl is next to their food bowl. In the wild, cats wouldn’t drink water next to their food because nature has taught them that water has already been contaminated from their killed prey. Try moving their water dish to another room, or at least across the room, away from their food bowl.
Do cats need fresh water every day? Proper hydration and access to clean drinking water are essential to your cat’s overall health and wellbeing. Like most mammals, a cat’s body is composed of 2/3 water, so water is critical to every system in your cat’s body. Cats are very particular about the water they drink. If it’s not clean and fresh, they wouldn’t drink it. So yes, they need fresh and clean water every single day.
How much water should a cat drink in 24 hours? Generally speaking, cats need between 3.5-4.5 ounces of water per 5 pounds of body weight per day. But of course, there are other factors that need to be considered such as your cat’s diet, environment, and health condition. Cats don’t actually need as much water as you think, as they also get hydration from their food.