My mom’s cat once contracted a UTI (urinary tract infection) just because he wasn’t drinking enough. It’s a common problem amongst cats – especially for those of us who don’t feed our cats wet food, but stick to kibble instead.
It’s certainly not impossible to get a cat to drink more – far from it actually! And if you don’t want to switch cat foods to a wet food type, you’re in luck because there are a slew of other ways to get your cat to drink enough water.
While you may have the type of cat who doesn’t drink enough typically, using just a few of these techniques will almost certainly get your cat drinking a healthy amount of water. Use the techniques that work best for you, and keep your cat healthy and hydrated!
5 Techniques You Can Use to Get Your Cat to Drink More Water
Method 1: If your cat eats dry food, switch to wet food.
Again – you don’t have to use this technique, but I would be remiss to leave it out as it’s one of the fastest and easiest way to get your cat to immediately get more water into his or her system.
Wet foods contain substantially more water than dry cat foods/kibble. That’s actually the vast majority of the difference between the two types of food. So if you’re concerned because your cat isn’t drinking enough, seriously consider this option.
Method 2: Try placing a cat fountain in your home.
Ever met a cat that isn’t a fan of drinking – until you turn on the tap? Cats love the taste of running water, whether that’s straight from the faucet or whether it’s the running water that’s hit the basin by their paws.
How can you replicate this running water so that your cat will be happy to drink all the time, without you needing to turn on the tap? Get a cat water fountain. For many cats that don’t like drinking water, this one quick fix works very well.
When my mom’s cat got a urinary tract infection, her vet asked her to switch to wet cat food until he was better – but she didn’t stop at that. I asked her to grab a cat water fountain to make sure he’d be drinking water more often even after his UTI had cleared up. She picked up the a cat fountain and immediately her cat started drinking one heck of a lot more. After his UTI cleared up, my mom switched back to dry food – and you know what, with the help of the cat water fountain, as well as one of the other techniques I’ll address here, her cat hasn’t had a UTI in years.
One of the biggest problems I’ve seen with people hesitating to get a water fountain for their cat is that the prices of these things can be prohibitively expensive. Luckily, the Catit Design Senses Fountain is honestly not the type of product that will break the bank, being around $20 at regular price. I’m so glad this water fountain worked for my mom’s cat, as most other water fountains for cats start at almost double the price! Not a fun price tag, especially when you’re unsure having a water fountain will even do the trick.
Method 3: Mix your cat’s food with water.
I once took care of a friend’s cat while he was on vacation, and his cat, just like my mom’s cat, was the type who didn’t drink enough water. Before leaving his cat in our care, my friend gave us instructions to mix his kitty’s meal of kibble with water when we fed him dinner. Worked like a charm! Not a drop of water left in the bowl when it’s been mixed with dinner.
If you feel your cat isn’t getting enough to drink, you can add water to your cat’s meal every day – whether you use dry or wet cat food.
Method 4: Feed your cat meals in a feeding toy? Give your cat snacks in water daily to keep him or her hydrated!
I always advocate for feeding cats kibble in feeding toys to keep kitties engaged and active during mealtimes and to help keep them from devouring their meals in mere minutes, as they often do when food is given to them in a bowl. So what do you do if you feed your cat from a cat feeding toy, but he or she isn’t drinking enough water?
Snack time with water!
My mom uses the PetSafe SlimCat Food Dispenser to feed her kitty dinner every day. Her cat loves getting his meals this way as he’s the type of cat who loves to run after things – and has a particularly big thing for balls!
So in order to make sure he’s been drinking enough, even with the water fountain installed (he drinks more with the fountain then ever before, but she’s still always worried about another UTI – those are terribly uncomfortable for cats!), she gives her cat a snack of a few pieces of kibble in some water each day. These two methods alone (the fountain + the watery snack) have kept her cat from getting a UTI in years. He certainly drinks enough water now!
If you’re concerned about your cat becoming unhealthy because of having too many snacks (cat snacks are not often the healthiest), use kibble instead of the standard “snacks” you get on the market. Don’t want to feed your cat more of the same because you’re concerned with him or her getting bored? Get a different dry cat food specifically for giving your cat snacks with!
Method 5: Mix up the watery cat snacks: give your cat catnip cold tea daily!
Cats love catnip. We all know it; we all think it’s adorable to watch them show their love for the stuff. If you want to give your cat a daily dose of water without increasing calorie consumption, this is almost certainly the easiest way to do it!
Of course you don’t have to boil the water and make “real” tea – just mix some loose catnip into some fresh water and give it to your kitty. He or she will undoubtedly greatly appreciate it! Do this once a day and your cat will stay hydrated as ever! And will be very happy to do so!
(Twists on this method: a teeny bit of milk, tuna, chicken stock, or another food favourite really heavily watered down so it’s practically all water; essentially, the flavouring of your cat’s favourite taste should help the water be lapped up pretty quickly; hardly a calorie of the original food needs to be in there!)
*Bonus: Run the faucet in the sink or the tub and let your cat drink from the dripping water.
Down in the comments section, Brandy reminded me of one of the simplest and easiest ways to get most cats to drink there ever was or will be: let them into the tub or onto the sink, open the cold water tap ever-so-slightly, and let them drink from the dripping water, or the shallow little puddles created from that slow drip. You can do this whenever your cat wants, at specific points of the day, or you can even leave your faucet ever-so-slightly drippy all day for your cat to walk into and out of the bathroom to take sips out of.
Obviously, you have to be okay letting your cat into the bathtub or onto the sink, but it is an option. Not a fan of doing this? If your cat likes water that’s cold and straight out of the tap, try offering a fresh bowl of water whenever he or she eats. Cats often like to drink right after eating, like we humans do, so it’s a good time to freshen up the water for a higher chance of a drink!
How Would You Encourage a Cat to Drink More Water?
Leave your suggestions in the comments below!
Use any of the methods I’ve listed above? Let me know how they’ve worked out for you.
And good on all of you reading this for working hard to keep those kitties well hydrated!