For many people, July can be one of the hottest months of the year. Soaring temperatures, scorching sun, and brutal humidity have us reaching for water almost all day. It makes sense, then, that July is National Pet Hydration Awareness Month. As much as humans need water to stay hydrated during the heat, so do our furry friends.
Did you know cats should drink about one ounce of water per pound they weigh? To aid in keeping your beloved kitty companion properly hydrated during these hot summer months, follow these five simple tips:
Tip One: Refill their water bowls daily with fresh, clean water
Some cats prefer super cold water, some like ice added to it (my first cat Samantha loved ice water), and others like it at room temperature (like me). They’re also pretty picky and seeing dirt, dust, or a dead gnat floating in their water bowl would be all the ammunition they need to not drink. Keep it fresh and keep it clean.
Tip Two: Separate their water bowls from their food bowls
In the wild, cats eat their prey away from water sources to avoid contamination. Domestic cats may not want to drink their water if they feel it's contaminated by food particles. In a blog written by Certified Cat Behavior Consultant Pam Johnson-Bennett, she highlights how the location of your cat’s water bowl can affect whether or not your cat will drink from it. If you notice your cat isn’t too interested in its water bowl, try moving it away from the food bowl and see what happens. I have personally done this with my two cats, Momo and CiCi, and they like the setup.
Tip Three: Place their water bowls in different areas of the house
To piggyback off of tip two, in addition to keeping water and food bowls separate, it’s also a good idea to scatter several water bowls around your house. First, you never know when or where your cat will get thirsty and want a quick lap of water. Second, if you have multiple cats, the last thing you want is to have them fighting over resources. By placing bowls throughout your house, you will ease their anxiety over “claiming” one water bowl as their own.
Tip Four: Invest in water fountains
Water fountains can be an excellent idea for any cat who prefers running, or moving, water. In the wild, cats prefer to drink water from a running source that is less likely to be contaminated than stagnant water. This is not to say your cat will never drink from a standing bowl (mine do just fine!) But if you notice your cat is hesitant about drinking from a bowl or they jump on the counter and stick their head under the faucet for a sip every time you wash the dishes, you might want to consider a fountain.
Tip Five: Offer them wet food
Wet food typically has a higher moisture count than dry food. For example, one dry cat food brand has a moisture count of 10% while the wet version has nearly 80%. That’s a huge difference! So if your cat is not very interested in water and you feed them dry food, consider switching them to wet food so at least their diet provides them with hydration. You can also consider food toppers and broths which, when added to dry food, increases the moisture count.
Water is essential to your cat’s health. Make sure they have access to clean, fresh water every day. Also, be alert to the signs and symptoms of heatstroke and seek veterinary care if necessary.