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Encouraging Healthy Hydration for your Feline Friend

catWater is an essential nutrient for your cat, accounting for 60-75% of an adult feline’s body weight.  Water helps your pet’s body digest food, regulate body temperature, eliminate waste (urinary issues continues to be one of the most common medical reasons pet parents take their cats to the veterinarian) and allows salt and other electrolytes to pass through the body. Encouraging a healthy daily intake of water can help keep your cat feeling and looking good.

The amount of water your pet needs depends on a variety of things such as their level of activity and environmental factors. While diet can play a significant role in helping to prevent problems like urinary tract issues, hydration or adequate water consumption are equally important. Here are some things to keep in mind when considering your cat’s hydration habits.

1. When considering the urinary system, an ideal diet for a domestic, household cat, whether it is a canned or dry recipe, should contain lower levels of magnesium and encourage an acidic urine. All Wellness® Canned Recipes for Cats are designed with these criteria in mind. Our variety of minced, sliced and cubed entrees for cats offer the hydration cats need with a savory gravy they’ll love, now available in new varieties and new larger 5.5 oz cans!

2. Along with feeding a proper diet, encouraging sufficient water intake is a major concern. Many cats love to drink running water. Re-circulating water fountains are very attractive water stations that in many cases, will stimulate a cat to drink more frequently.

3. Fresh, palatable water should always be available in more than one area in the house, especially if there are multiple cats in the family. You can also try moving the water from one location to another regularly as sometimes a new location stimulates pets to drink.

4. Canned foods are another great way to add water to your cat’s diet.  If your cat has had urinary problems in the past, canned foods should be a major part of their diet. You can even add more water to your cat’s canned food to encourage increased water intake. Wellness offers numerous recipes (including grain-free varieties) in both canned and pouch options to allow for a wide variety of choices for those sometimes finicky felines.

5. Multiple clean fresh litter boxes should be placed in out of the way places, making it easy for your cat to relieve himself without interruption.

6. The most common reason for insufficient water consumption is feline stress. Usually physical stress is the culprit, although sickness and disease can surely slow or stop the intake of water and food. In North America, the average cat owner owns more than one cat. Any time you have more than one feline in a home, there will be competition for dominance. It doesn’t have to be physical aggression, although that can occur. Many times all it takes is a certain look or a particular posture and the more sensitive, least dominate pet may run and hide under the bed for the rest of the day. While avoiding the confrontation and hiding, the kitty is not eating or drinking. This can go on for hours and the longer the kitty goes without food or water, the more concentrated the urine becomes and the more likely there will be a urinary problem. Be mindful of this if you do have a multiple cat household and be sure to get your bashful cat to replenish with plenty of water and canned food under times of stress.

14 Responses to “Encouraging Healthy Hydration for your Feline Friend”

  1. Nicole St John says:

    I personally add a lot water directly r to my furbabies food – Wellenss canned & Nature’s Variety raw.. almost to a “kitty shake” consistency. They love it & are well hydrated.

  2. Amy says:

    I’m having issues for the first time with my cat and I think there is an urinary problem goin on. I’ve been told that dry food is the problem for most cats. What do you think?

  3. Diane Martel says:

    my cats eat raw food and as such don’t seem to drink that much. do they need to drink that much?

  4. Sue Moulton says:

    This so explains why my baby (6yrs now!) has had issues. She was feral for her first 12 weeks and while completely domesticated with me, she definitely runs and hides due to cars/people/etc outside. My middle girl, a calico, is definitely dominant. While the two of them get along well, there is still a dominance issue. I did put Mazy on wet CD based on my vet’s recommendation but she loves her sister’s Wellness wet Turkey and Salmon and probably eats more of that then the prescription food. I leave some dry wellness out for nibbles throughout the day. Knock on wood, for the first time we have gone over a year without any visits to the vet for urinary problems! Thank you Wellness!

  5. Paula Gallo says:

    What an excellent article. I learned alot. I have 4 cats and a dog. I keep 2 big bowls out. I love the suggestion about a Re-circulating water fountain. I have to get one. It was also very helpful to learn about dominance among multiple cats. I notice that my youngest one always drinks water in the middle of the night. She is probably avoiding confrontation. This article taught me alot and I am going to take all the suggestions.

  6. Deb W. says:

    My two Ragdolls share one large can of Wellness food daily that I give in three feedings. With each meal I mix in tons of water so they’re well-hydrated (just check the kitty litter for proof) but they never drink any additional water. I’m not worried because I know they’re getting more water than most cats. Canned food is the way to go to prevent urinary problems as any well-versed Vet will tell you. Thanks, Wellness, for great food!!

  7. Becky says:

    Growing up, one of our family’s male cats had several problems with blockages. Ever since, with my own cats, I feed wet and dry food everyday. I also will add water to their wet food meal to up their fluid intake. They lap all the water down and seem to love it. I also have purchased a special gravy for their foods and this mixes well with water. I also have two water fountain dishes and my cats love them:)

  8. kathryn denise says:

    very good article. i have a cat with dry bowel syndrome and have made changes so she will drink more water, yet every couple of weeks i have to give her a day or two of medicine. any other options would be helpful.

  9. cathy says:

    Having one cat who has had stones and almost died, twice already, and is not particularly thirsty and another cat who is very fussy, I have found that they seem to like it when i keep their water fresh with ice cubes. This is quicker for me than constantly having to stop and add fresh water to their dish, I can just drop an ice cube in. And i think it keeps the water nice and cool. So now, I find that they drink more. Of course I wash their dish about once a week and add fresh water anytime that the water looks dirty, but this really cuts back on time.

  10. AJ says:

    Cats are descended from desert animals and as such they do not have a high thirst drive. In the wild they get most of the water they need from their natural diet of small prey animals. I too believe the raw diet is the healthiest for cats as it most closely approximates what they eat in nature but not all cats will readily eat a raw diet and many owners can not offer a raw diet for various reasons. Giving a cat a canned quality brand wet food such as wellness has reversed a number of my cats ills which most can be by eliminating the kibble according to many veterinarians and animal nutrition experts. My cat no longer suffers from diabetes, has lost to a healthy weight and no longer gets feline urinary syndrome and the life threatening complete blockage which can occur in males with this painful disease.Increasing a cats intake of water is always a good thing, I dont think anyone would find otherwise!

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