“The cat won’t drink!” says your roommate. “The vet says he’s got to drink more and not drinking water is making him sick!”
This isn’t your typical videogame blog post, but I just thought I would share my lifehack for all you cat-lovers out there. Cat dehydration is a big problem. Have you struggled with putting water bowls all over and cat bubblers that stub your toe and make noise that neither you nor your cat like?
Cats Won’t Drink Because They Usually Don’t Have To
So as you know, cats are skittish creatures who sometimes don’t fully adjust to urban life. Cats (and dogs) are predators that historically got a lot of water from the prey they ate in the wild. In an urban setting, especially when they’re often fed dry commercially-made food, pets really need water and they don’t know how to get it.
Lack of water for cats is a dire problem. Kidney function is dependent on good water intake (one in three cats has kidney problems in their life), and there are a myriad of other related health issues too.
Dehydration also causes obesity because, just like with humans, we often overeat when our bodies are parched for water because instinctively we are trying to get water from food. Have you ever gone to the kitchen hungry, grabbed a glass of water, found yourself parched, drained your water, and discovered that you weren’t all that hungry? Yep… like that. For a parched cat, this is the worst because the cat is overeating and exacerbating its dehydration by eating too much dry food.
Give Your Cat the Thirst for Water
Okay, you’re probably sick of reading the background so let’s just get to the answer for the “my cat won’t drink water” puzzle: it’s this — https://www.amazon.com/Encore-Plastics-5166-Measure-Ringfree/dp/B0018T5SFY/ref=sr_1_1?&tag=spasqu-20 . It’s a $3 bucket.
How do I know this? Because my cat loves it, and because my old roommate’s cat loved it. In fact, she used to complain about how her cat would always drink from the bucket instead of her fancy cat bowl. We discovered this by accident because I like to keep the water I run when warming the flow before a shower and later use it for household chores or flushing the toilet. As a result, I often had the bucket sitting in the bathroom full of water, and her cat would drink it constantly.
We theorized about the reasons. Was it because the bucket had some concrete encrusted on it, which tasted like the culverts of her wild youth? Was it because the water was somehow different, or the plastic? We don’t know for sure.
My theory is pretty simple: I think it’s ergonomics. If I were a cat, I’d prefer to drink water that I don’t have to crank my neck to drink. Some believe that some cats feel vulnerable when hunched over a bowl, or that their whiskers are impeded by the bowl, which blinds them to threats. Measure your cat and make sure the bucket is right, but it should be a perfect fit for most adult cats. If you’ve got a kitten, adjust accordingly. Maybe a Tupperware tub would do the job.
But I have a few more theories, too. A cat might be able to see the surface of the water more readily at that angle. Certainly it smells more like water, and I suspect a bucket is more comforting, like a deep pond or lake, than a dish.
Lastly, I think a cat would prefer to drink water from a bucket because they’re suspicious creatures. Their senses are honed for survival; they don’t want to drink something foul accidentally, like a pool of oil that has a thin layer of rainwater on top. If they aren’t 100% sure it’s clean, pure water, they’re not excited.
I’ve also found that adding a bit of water — an ounce or two — to my cat’s dry food has also increased her water intake and it seems to make her more interested in drinking as well.
I hope you find this helpful — please comment below if so, or if you have feedback!