Are you worried that your cat is not taking enough water? Cats’ bodies are estimated to contain 80% of water and you should monitor them to ensure they take water.
Cats unlike human don’t develop an urge to drink water and they may end up getting dehydrated. This is why you need to find creative ways of making your cat increase water intake.
What’s the role of water in cats’ nutrition?
As much as cats don’t like taking water it is still very important in their bodies. Water serves a number of functions in your cat’s body. Here are some of those functions:
1. Transportation of nutrients
A balanced nutrition is essential for your cat. It provides your cat with nutrient supply which is carried in the cat’s body by blood. Oxygen is also transported by blood to vital organs.
Waste removal and excretion of nitrogen and other toxic elements also require enough blood. Water is the most constituent of blood and that’s why you need much of it to be added to your diet.
2. Temperature regulation
Cats are more tolerant to high temperatures compared to humans. They have a normal temperature range of 100.5 to 102.5. However when the temperatures get too high your cat may end up getting dehydrated.
To curb the high temperature your cat will try looking for a cool spot or reduce the activity level. In addition to this she will want to drink some water.
Cats also sweat like humans though it comes through their paws and noses instead of skin pores. As sweat evaporates some heat dissipates making it an essential in temperature regulation.
3. Helps in digestion and absorption
Starting from the mouth it adds saliva that helps break down food. Water is essential in formation of liquids in saliva. It also helps a cat in secretion of mucus in the saliva that breaks down food.
The mucus layers also helps protect the stomach layer from being digested by acids. If the stomach lacks this protection ulcers would begin to form.
Water also regulates the pH level of stomach acids. A dehydrated cat may not be able to produce enough acid to break down the food.
This will deter flow of food to the small intestines leading to abdominal discomfort. Insufficient water will reduce the bile produced in the small intestines hence the digestive bacteria will not digest food properly.
This will result to insufficient nutrient absorption.
Other than the functions we have listed water helps in moisturizing the body organs, joints and improving metabolism. This shows you that water is very essential for a cat’s body to function fully.
Factors that affect a cats water intake:
Sick cats can go for longer or shorter duration without taking water compared to healthy cats. This depends on the illness which results in to a noticeable change in drinking habits.
Diabetic cats or those with urinary tract infections will require water more frequently. Cats with liver and respiratory diseases tend to drink less amounts of water.
Pregnant or nursing cats may get stress hence go longer without taking water.
As a cat grows older the body mass reduces which means it requires less water. Some breeds will however retain great mass as they get older meaning they will require more water.
A cats activity will also affect the amount of water your cat takes. Older cats are more active compared to young cats which means they will require less amounts of water.
3. Environmental factors
Changes in dry air and temperature will affect how often your cat drinks water. Temperatures between 50 and 60 degrees will hardly affect your cats drinking pattern.
Further increase in temperature will mean that your cat’s body requires more water to function efficiently. Low temperatures also mean that your cat requires taking water so as to warm up.
Cats taking raw or unprocessed food require little amount of water compared to those taking canned or dry foods. Such cats may take water up to 10 times a day.
Cats that take wet foods or have some incorporated in their diet will need little amount of water intake. This is because wet foods have high moisture content. It is crucial to have water your cats diet.
Symptoms of dehydration
Inadequate water in cats system can have lethal consequences. This is why as a pet parents need to be on the lookout for such symptoms. Here are some of those symptoms:
Pale gums and/or dry mouth
Inactive cats for long periods
Panting or fast heart beat
Reduction in skin elasticity
If you find your cat taking more water or often this may show she has some underling condition. Excessive water intake may be an indication of some of these diseases:
Aging cats have a high chance of getting diabetes. Diabetes is characterized by frequent urination which results in to your cat taking more water.
Increase in sugar in the blood makes it overflow in the urine causing it to urinate more. Constant urination will result into excessive need of water.
2. Renal failure
If your cat’s kidney fails she will pass urine more thus get thirsty frequently.
Hyperthyroidism is a condition where the thyroid glands release thyroid at an excessive rate. It causes an increase in appetite hair loss and even increased water intake.
Pets unlike humans don’t develop an urge to drink water. They also have a problem in seeing still water and tend to drink from the most outrageous places.
They love drinking from ponds and puddles and that is why you need to invest in a cat drinking water fountain.
Veterinarians recommend that a cat should access at least 150 ml of water every day. Ensure that your pet has clean running water every day. Clean running is not only safe for your cat’s health but also encourages her to drink more.
If your cat is not suffering from any of the problems we have mentioned but have changes in drinking patterns or drinks less water you should try visiting a vet.