Hi everybody! Molly, with your Bonding Tip of the Week. This week’s bonding tip is: keep your cat well-hydrated.
Dehydration contributes to one of the leading causes of medical death in cats, which is renal issues. Kidney failure can result from a number of different factors over the course of your cat’s life, but since kidneys are the organs responsible for balancing bodily fluids and removing toxins via urine, it makes sense that dehydration would have a negative impact.
If you see your cat drinking a lot of water, that means they’re dehydrated. Since cats are the descendants of desert cats, they have evolved with a very low thirst drive. In the past, they got all the hydration they needed from their natural prey source, which of course is birds, lizards, rodents—all of which have about 90% water content in their body. Now, as a result of these natural feeding patters, a lot of dehydration comes from feeding our cats dry food, which provides up to only 10% of a cat’s necessary hydration.
So, you can lead a cat to water, but how are you going to make it drink?
First of all, make sure you have a bowl of fresh water. You might notice that the bottom of your bowl is kind of slimy; that’s because when cats drink, a little bit of their mouth bacteria gets in the water and then starts to grow on the bowl. You should be washing out your water bowl daily, and not just dumping and replacing it, but scrubbing out all that bacteria too. If you’re busy and work a lot, the dishwasher is your friend. I have a set of four, wide-mouth water bowls, which are nice and whisker friendly. Since I have multiple, I change them out often and put the slimy ones in the dishwasher.
However, you already know that all cats are different. If your kitty likes to go a bit rogue and drink out of something other than a bowl, let them. If your cat likes to drink out of the faucet instead, then indulge them in that, and turn the faucet on for them often. And I know it sounds a little nasty, but if they like to drink out of the toilet, leave the toilet seat up so they have access to that water as well.
Whatever your cat likes to drink out of, let them. We’re on a bonding mission here, after all, so think about how you feel when you’re dehydrated—you’re certainly not in the mood to snuggle, and that’s true for cats as well. So keep your cat well-hydrated this week (and every week!), and enjoy bonding with them. Until next time, keep calm and purr on.
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