Forget the old cliché of cats drinking from saucers of milk: cats need water to stay healthy and hydrated. But how much water do you need to give them and how?
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Like humans, cats need water to stay hydrated. Dehydration can make your cat more at risk of developing illnesses and infections of the urinary tract, often referred to as Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD), and in severe cases, dehydration can even lead to death. By ensuring your cat has fresh water to drink at all times, you can help her remain healthy and fit!
You can leave a bowl of water out for them, but cats will also happily drink from other sources, particularly moving ones like the tap (a simple YouTube search will provide you with many examples) or a water fountain. Some outdoor cats even enjoy drinking water from puddles, although this is hardly hygienic. A cat’s diet will also determine how much water they drink: wet food is already made up of 80% water while dry food contains only 10% water, potentially influencing a cat’s desire to drink.
Where to place the water bowl or fountain?
Most households place the food and water bowls near each other for practical reasons, but this may not be ideal. Some recommend that the water should not be kept right beside the food bowl due to hygienic concerns and because some cats do not like to drink close to where they eat. However, most cats don’t seem to mind. You might also want to place the water bowl or fountain on a stone floor or on a special mat, because cats can be messy drinkers and some cats, especially young ones, will see a water fountain as a fun toy in addition to a drinking source.
We all know cats enjoy drinking milk and cream, but that doesn’t mean it’s good for them: too much lactose can cause diarrhea and other digestive problems. However, some cats that have been fed milk since kittenhood seem to have no problem digesting it. If you give your cat regular cow’s milk to drink, then keep an eye on her litter box to make sure she isn’t having any digestive problems as a result. There are also some types of milk specifically for cats on the market. These products contain less lactose and are easier on a cat’s stomach. Remember that milk should always be considered a treat and should never replace water as a cat’s main source of hydration.