If you have felines at home, you may have noticed something odd about their water-drinking habits: it’s not much of a habit at all! Cats can withstand a spectacular amount of fluid loss before they replenish their body’s water stores; they can sometimes take up to 6 days to completely rehydrate themselves. That thought alone is enough to make anyone reach for a glass of water…
My cat doesn’t seem to need much water, is it really that important?
Proper hydration is central to your cat’s health. Cats evolved from desert-type environments, where they hunted fresh prey (with a moisture content of 70-80%) to get their hydration fix. This likely explains why cats are less intuitive about drinking regular water; they prefer to derive it from food!
Unfortunately, the kitties of today are fed a predominantly dry food diet with very little moisture content. This places them at risk of inadequate water intake and can significantly impact their daily biological processes including:
- Circulation, digestion and waste removal
- Replenishment of fluids lost from urine, feces and perspiration
Dehydrated cats are also more vulnerable to common diseases, including:
- Crystals/stones in the bladder
- Lower urinary tract disease
- Stress to the kidney/kidney failure
If these conditions are left untreated, the results can be dire. In fact, feline lower urinary tract disease is one of the more common medical issues cats suffer from, and in severe cases, the bladder of male cats can become blocked (which is considered a life-threatening situation). Hydration matters and cannot be underestimated, even if your cat doesn’t exhibit an obvious “thirst drive”.
How can I tell if my cat is dehydrated?
Vets recommend that cats should consume 60-70ml of water per kilogram of body weight each day. For example, if your cat weighed 4.5kg then it would require about 300ml of water daily (roughly the equivalent to a regular takeaway coffee cup).
However, you cannot measure your cat’s hydration levels by simply observing how much water they drink. You can paint a more accurate picture by checking for general signs of dehydration such as:
- Loss of appetite
- Dry mouth or dry gums
- Sunken eyes
- Paws that feel cooler to the touch (compared to the rest of their body temperature)
- Skin elasticity (gently pinch an area of skin on your cat’s back. If the pinched skin does not snap back into place quickly, that may indicate some level of dehydration).
If your furry feline is exhibiting any of these symptoms, consider adjusting its water intake.
How can I improve my cat’s water intake to prevent dehydration?
Contrary to popular opinion, leaving extra bowls of water around the house will not encourage your cat to drink more! Stagnant water can be suspicious to your cat; it hints at contamination. Water can also stale easily as dust or bacteria gather in the bowl, causing your cat to reject the taste.
Basic wet foods, which contain up to 60% times more water than dry food, are a better option; but can still fall short of being a holistic solution. Just as humans take vitamins and supplements to ensure optimal health, cats benefit greatly from meal additions that help increase their water intake.
Feline Natural Hydration Boosters: a proven hydration solution
A recent study conducted by the Massey University Centre for Feline and Canine Nutrition showed 94% of cats preferred hydration boosters (specifically the Feline Natural Hydration Booster) over regular tap water.
The Feline Natural Hydration Booster was developed as an addition to the regular meals of cats. It’s comprised of 100% Lamb Green Tripe mixed with natural fresh water from New Zealand and provides 25% of a cat’s daily water requirements.
Tripe itself is known to be a superfood. Compared to plain water, it is a more nutritious hydrating solution for your cat as it contains protein, vitamins and pre/pro-biotics to assist with gut health.
Because the taste of tripe is naturally appealing to cats (and is reminiscent of prey), it is a palatable option on its own and doesn’t need any added ingredients like salt, which is used by some pet foods to increase your cat’s thirst.
For greater certainty around your cat’s hydration and overall health, mix the Feline Natural Hydration Booster into its meals each day.
A word of warning though. Pure tripe can emit a distinctive odor, so while your cat will find the Feline Natural Hydration Booster irresistible... it may be best enjoyed outside!