Cat owners will always want their feline friend to be happy and healthy and one of the most important ways to ensure this is to keep their diet healthy.
In the same way that humans need the proper hydration, so do cats.
The difference between humans and cats though is that cats do not drink flavored drinks or other man-made beverages that we enjoy.
Cats should not be drinking sodas or alcohol obviously!
You may, however, be wondering if there are other things, other than water, that cats like to drink – and if that’s good for them or not.
This guide will look at what cats should drink and what they like to drink, along with other handy tips for your furry friend to stay healthy.
So, take a seat with your furry buddy and let’s get into it. Here’s what cats drink.
The facts are simple – cats should only be drinking water when they are adults.
Most mammals share the need for water and require it at healthy levels to maintain a good diet and remain as happy and healthy as possible.
Water is crucial for proper kidney function, alertness levels and keeps cats fur coats looking shiny and smooth.
In a cat’s normal wild diet, most of their food will be plentiful with water and cats will often get their water requirements from their prey – but other than this, water dishes are totally fine.
I Thought Cats Liked Milk?
When cats are kittens, their mother’s milk is essential in their development, the same as humans and many other animals.
However, when cats are old enough, they need to move on from this and start moving on to water. Contrary to popular belief, milk is not healthy for cats.
Cats are certainly fond of the white, sugary liquid though.
The fats and smell of milk is very attractive to cats, but they can get their essential requirements from other food.
This is where cats and humans are very similar. A lot of us will enjoy the smell and taste of cow’s milk, but our biology does not support this for our health.
Cats and humans when young have enzymes in their stomachs which can break down the sugars in milk, otherwise known as lactose.
However, when we are old enough – most humans and cats lose this enzyme and can no longer break down the sugars.
This is a condition known as lactose intolerance and most felines and humans are lactose intolerant.
However, whereas the condition for humans is generally unpleasant and often embarrassing, for cats it can be much worse.
Cats can experience diarrhea, vomiting and extreme pains in their stomach if they consume milk when they are adults – so avoid giving your fur babies any milk!
Can Cats Drink Anything Else?
The easiest answer to give here is no.
Although there is little scientific research on whether cats should or could drink some other man-made drinks, the likelihood is – if it’s bad for us, it’s bad for them.
So, to be sure of our feline’s safety – be sure your cat is getting water and only water!
The Importance Of Water For Cats
Much like humans, water accounts for around 60 to 70% of a cat’s overall body make-up.
Therefore, getting enough water is crucial for their normal bodily function.
Water allows the kidneys to flush out deadly toxins, reduce the risk of urinary tract infections and reduce the risk of getting kidney stones, which can cause serious pain to cats – and in some extreme circumstances can be fatal.
Due to a cat’s eyesight, their vision causes nearsightedness.
This means that cats will struggle to see their water bowls properly, which means their water intake can be much less than you think.
When they’re lapping up water, they only get around 3% of a tablespoon with each take.
Therefore it’s very important that our cats are getting the best possible method for hydration.
Due to their heightened senses, cats are very sensitive to the quality of water that they drink.
They’re much more likely to be attracted to fresh water, so this is one of the reasons why your kitty might be likely to drink water from a running tap.
It’s difficult to assess how much water your cat needs to drink every day because it will vary depending on their size and breed.
If you notice, however, that your cat is drinking much more water than they usually do – this might be a sign that they are suffering from an illness.
This might be a virus or even diabetes, so if you see this, it’s crucial that you contact a vet as soon as possible.
How Would I Know If My Cat Is Dehydrated?
Without proper hydration, cats will become dehydrated and this can be dangerous. Here are some warning signs that your cat is struggling with dehydration.
- Reduced elasticity of their skin
- Dry mouth and dry gums
- Increased heart rate
- Fatigue and lethargy
- Loss or reduction of their appetite
How Can I Get My Cat To Drink More Water?
Getting your cat to drink water can be more difficult than you think – at the end of it all, cats will do what they want to do! But here are some tips.
- Make sure you have an accessible water bowl
- Use fresh, clean water and change it regularly
- Consider using a cat water fountain
- Change dry cat food to wet food
The Bottom Line
Cats should only be drinking water to keep them healthy and have the best functions for their kidneys, liver, heart and brain.
Although your best friend will love the smell and taste of milk, they shouldn’t drink it in their adult years because they are lactose intolerant.
Ensure your cat is drinking enough water and watch out for the warning signs of dehydration.