All cats, or at least the majority of them, have a conflicting relationship with water: they hate getting wet, and not only that!
Cats, in fact, tend to drink very little and for this reason they are often dehydrated. As to why cats drink very little, there is not yet a unique and shared theory, the most reliable one is that cats’ kidneys tend to store more water than they actually need, since their ancestors lived in the desert, where, as we know, water is scarce.
How much water does a cat need to drink? And why does he drink so little?
Whatever the reason for this behavior, drinking a lot of water is necessary for cats, as well as for all living beings. Water hydrates, helps the kidneys to dispose of waste substances and preserves the urinary tract from infections and diseases. When a cat takes little water, the kidneys become overloaded and work harder than they should. In the long run, this extra work can lead to adult kitten suffering from chronic kidney failure, which is one of the leading causes of death in cats.
Typically, a cat should drink between 50 and 100 milliliters per kg of her weight per day. Therefore, if she weighs 3 kilos, she should take between 150 and 300 ml of water per day.
Let’s see how we can encourage a cat to drink more:
- It is very important that the cat always has fresh water available: it is good practice to change it at least once a day. It is much more likely that the kitten will drink if she has fresh, clear water available.
- For the same reason as in the previous point, it may be useful to buy an automatic water dispenser or fountain: many cats seem to like it!
- From time to time, give her some wet food. This, in fact, contains more water than dry food: cats fed with cans, nibbles or pates drink less than those who prefer dry food.
For this reason, dry food is made saltier to encourage kitten to drink more.
Finally, always monitor your cat’s water consumption; a change in habits may indicate a disease (for example, cats with diabetes or kidney failure drink a lot). If you notice that she drinks more or less water than usual, take her to the vet for a visit.