Key Takeaways:

  1. Water intake is important
  2. Please try to feed more wet food than dry kibble
  3. Cats prefer their water source slightly away from their food
  4. Water Water Everywhere” – placing numerous water bowls is a must
  5. Stay away from plastic bowls

Water intake is as important for cats as it is for people, but more so from moisture intake from food, especially for kidney health. This is critical because cats do not have a strong thirst drive to drink water. They must “eat” it. Do not get me wrong water bowls are a must.

Cats need lots of moisture in their food to help dilute toxins and to support overall health. Cats initially came from the desert where there was not much water to drink, so they got water from the food they ate. In the wild, cats’ prey is very moist: about 75% water. Dry food, on the other hand, has around 7% water. Therefore, a cat may be getting over 10 times less water per bite when eating dry food. Cats are not built to catch up in the water bowl, which often leaves them, as some veterinarians describe, “chronically dehydrated.” The results impact the kidney and urinary tract; clearly to be avoided if possible. Please look out for my article on coping with CKD (Chroic Kidney Disease) in cats – this is a topic I have a lot of experience in (I wish I didn’t).

Please try to feed wet food, and avoid kibble. I also suggest adding in a touch (a tablespoon) of water to the wet food – cats don’t always love this, so sometimes it can only be a few drops. Another tip would be to try to place numerous bowls in rooms around your home. Refresh them daily; please do not neglect to clean them after every meal, and regardless of what type of diet you offer your cat. Food and water bowls should be washed with hot, soapy water after each meal; make sure to thoroughly rinse and wipe dry before refilling. I suggest water bowls to be cleaned daily also.

Not only does leftover food attract its own bacteria, but the microbes that normally live in your cat’s mouth and saliva can be transferred to leftover food and moisture in the bowl, creating an ideal environment for growth. The list of potential food bowl pathogens is impressive. Also, that slimy film that starts to grow in water bowls after a day or two is Biofilm.  Biofilm slime is a collection of living and dead organic and inorganic material. Yes, dead and liveing material is making up the slimy yuck. Clean those bowls, like you would your own.

I would recommend ceramic or stainless steel bowls. While plastic bowls are inexpensive and convenient, they’re also difficult to thoroughly sanitize, and in addition, as the plastic begins to break down it can leach toxic chemicals into your pet’s food and water. Bacteria and oils can also get trapped in the peeling plastic, potentially causing skin irritation or worse. Some cats can develop allergies to the dyes and materials in plastic bowls.

I hope you fund my article useful and as always please feel free to ask me any questions or comment if you have thoughts on the topic.

Caroline (& Rio)