Is your cat drinking enough water?

When you take your cat to the vet, a commonly asked question is most likely to be "is your cat drinking normally?"  How can you tell? 

Water is essential to all life, and by having an idea about your cat's drinking habits, you may be able to tell if something is wrong if circumstances change.  If your cat is an outdoor cat, then it is often difficult to monitor how much is being drunk as you can't see what they do when out of sight. 

There are ways to help encourage your cat to drink water in the house.  As we all know, cats can be very fussy!  If they don't want to do something, they won't.  The same applies for getting them to drink water.  Here are a few simple tips to help encourage your cat to drink more.

~ use a shallow cat dish for water, most cats don't like to drink out of a dish they can't see to the bottom of.  Standard round plastic bowls are ideal.
~ don't use a metal dish as it can sometimes taint the water and your cat may not like the taste.  Try plastic or ceramic bowls.
~ move the water away from your cat's food.  Cats prefer to have lots of different places to access water from and often don't like it near their food.  Ideally, place a few small bowls around your house so that your cat has a choice of where to drink.  Even if it is only just the opposite side of the room from their food, it may be enough to encourage them to drink more.
~ some really fussy cats don't like tap water as it has gone through a purification process to make it safe for us to drink.  Why not try collecting rain water in a bowl and see if your cat prefers it?

All cats will drink different amounts of water depending on what they are fed.  If you are feeding a wet diet (ie: cat meat) they get a lot of water from the food itself, so you may not see them drinking as much.  Cats who are fed on dry food (ie: cat biscuits) will drink more water.

Try experimenting with different types of drinking vessels and where you place them.  See where your cat prefers where to drink and what to drink from, you may be surprised.  My cat has just started to ignore his water fountain in favour of drinking from the measuring jug which I leave next to it!  I know someone whose cat will only drink from a wine glass placed on the dining table!  If you can stand it, why not try leaving a tap dripping as a lot of cats seem to prefer it.

Please note that changes in drinking patterns can indicate underlying disease, especially with older cats.  If you are concerned about how much your cat is drinking, it is worth asking your vet for advice.