How to encourage your cat to drink

There may be times when you will need to increase your cat’s water intake for a variety of therapeutic reasons.

Your cat may have idiopathic cystitis and the aim is to encourage it to produce a more dilute urine, or it may have renal insufficiency and you need to help prevent dehydration. Whatever the reason here are some tips on increasing hydration.

Tips for increasing a cat's water intake

  • Feed a wet food.
  • Add water to the food.
  • Offer 'broths' (eg, water that meat has been boiled in).
  • Use flavoured ice cubes. These can be made by boiling meat and freezing the water from the meat in ice cube trays. An ice cube can be put in the water bowl each day to add a 'meaty' flavour to the water.
  • Many cats prefer a specific type of water – rain water, puddle water, bottled water or tap water. Try different types to find the cat's preference.
  • Some cats prefer flowing water (eg, water fountains, a dripping tap) to still water.
  • Many cats also have a preference for the type of container that the water is in (glass, metal or ceramic rather than plastic, which retains odours), as well as the shape of the container (large wide container, glass, mug, etc).
  • It is useful to try different containers in different locations in the house to identify an individual cat’s preference.
  • Multiple water bowls should be provided, located away from food and litter areas.
  • Cats should be able to drink alone without the risk of another cat coming up behind them.

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