Care Tips

How to Encourage Your Cat to Stay Hydrated

Isabel Hartley

Key Takeaways

  • Hydration is crucial for feline health, and encouraging drinking is a loving part of pet care.
  • Strategic water bowl placement and enticing flavors can coax cats to drink more.
  • Meal choices and observation are key in ensuring our cats stay properly hydrated.

Water is the elixir of life, and that’s no less true for our feline friends than it is for us mere humans. But if you’ve ever caught yourself pondering why Fluffy isn’t sipping more from her water bowl, you’re not alone.

Cats can be finicky drinkers, often needing a nudge to keep their hydration levels up. Without adequate water intake, our cats can face a whole host of health issues, which is why it’s paramount to keep them well-hydrated.

I’ve discovered through a combination of trial and error, expert advice, and the internet’s collective wisdom, that there are clever ways to encourage our whiskered companions to drink more water.

You see, creating an appealing hydration station with fresh water bowls or fountains placed in just the right spots can make all the difference.

Even the flavors and the types of meals we provide can trick our savvy predators into lapping up more liquid.

Rest assured, getting our cats to drink up is part art, part science, and all about caring for our curious companions.

Key Takeaways

As a cat enthusiast, I’ve learned a thing or two about keeping my feline friends well-lubricated. Without enough H2O, your kitty could end up more parched than a cactus in the desert!

Signs of Dehydration

When it comes to spotting the thirsty signs in cats, I’m like a detective with a magnifying glass.

Watch for lethargy, an unenthusiastic pant or skin that snaps back like a rubber band—these are all red flags that kitty might need a water intervention.

My personal “aha” moment is when their pee turns as concentrated as an over-brewed cup of tea.

Benefits of Staying Hydrated

Now, why should our fur-coated friends guzzle water like it’s going out of style?

Well, top-notch hydration keeps their kidneys purring along, ensures their temperature control is more reliable than my car’s A/C, and contributes to a fur coat so luscious, it would make a shampoo commercial envious.

Remember, a hydrated kitty is a happy kitty, and their water bowl should be as full as my Friday night schedule—brimming!

Water Bowls vs. Fountains

When it comes to quenching my kitty’s thirst, I know there’s a perennial debate: Team Water Bowl or Team Fountain? Let’s dive straight in and tackle the ins and outs of each option, so I can keep my feline friend happily hydrated.

Pros and Cons of Water Bowls


  • Simple and convenient: I just fill it up, and boom, ready to go!
  • No power required: I absolutely love not having to untangle cords or hunt for an outlet.
  • Quiet: No motor means no buzz to disturb my cat’s zen (or mine).


  • Stagnant water: Unless I’m diligent, the water can get a bit icky, and nobody wants that.
  • More frequent refills: Between my cat’s drinking and half the water ending up on the floor (courtesy of playful paws), I’m refilling it often.

Advantages of Using a Fountain

  • Freshness on tap: The constant flow means water is less likely to become a science experiment.
  • Cats love a good show: Many felines find the moving water more appealing, possibly because it’s like their own personal wildlife documentary ending with a drink.
  • Filtration: It often filters out the fuzzies and other mysterious floaties.

However, fountains can be a pain to clean, and my wallet isn’t thrilled with the replacement filters and energy costs. But hey, if it turns hydration into an enchanting experience for my cat, it might just be worth it.

If you’re curious about the pleasures and perils of cat fountains, take a gander at these insightful perspectives on drinking fountains for cats, and may your cat’s water bowl (or fountain) runneth over!

The Art of Water Placement

When it comes to keeping my feline companions perky and hydrated, I treat water placement with the finesse of an interior designer. I know the purr-fect spots are key.

Strategic Bowl Positioning

I’ve learned that setting up a water bowl right next to the food bowl is a no-no, because just like some of us don’t love the kitchen’s tap water with our fancy takeout, cats prefer a separation of dining and drinking areas.

Move the bowl a few steps away from their chow, and they might just be intrigued enough to take the hydration bait.

Multiple Water Stations

I create a veritable water park inside my home with bowls in the most unexpected of locales: next to the sunny windowsill, one in the quiet corner of the living room, and even a cheeky one in the bathroom.

Cats are all about the journey, and with multiple water sources, my furry friends never miss a chance to quench their thirst on their little home safaris.

Enticing Elixirs: Making Water Appealing

I know what you’re thinking: How can plain old water be anything but… plain? Fear not, my finicky feline friends, because I’m about to share some tricks that’ll make your cat think H2O is the nectar of the gods.

The Flavor Boost Method

Trust me, your cat’s inner gourmet will purr with delight when you enhance their water with a flavor boost.

Adding a splash of low-sodium chicken or beef broth to their water bowl can completely transform their drinking experience.

Imagine their surprise when they find that their usual water has suddenly developed a rich, meaty aroma!

This tactic not only makes the water more appealing but also adds a bit of a treat to their hydration routine.

The Ice Cube Game

Cats love a good mystery, and an ice cube skittering across the floor is a puzzle wrapped in a conundrum, served cold.

But when that ice cube is in the water bowl, it’s an entirely different story—a story of intrigue and refreshment.

Pop a few ice cubes into the bowl and watch your cat paw, play, and sip at the intriguingly chilled water.

Bonus points for freezing treats or a bit of broth in the cubes for an extra element of surprise.

Hydrating Through Cuisine

Alright, let me dish out the deets. When it comes to quenching my cat’s thirst, the menu matters—a lot. It’s not just about the water bowl; it’s about savvy hydration through what I plop into their dish.

Wet Food Wonders

Forget the desert-like dry kibble; let’s talk about the oasis of wet food.

When I serve up a can of wet food, I’m also dishing out hydration. Canned food is often comprised of about 70% to 80% water. Tasty and hydrating? Score!

Benefits of Wet Food:

  • Hydration: a major moisture boost without coaxing them to the water bowl.
  • Taste – Even finicky felines find it hard to resist.

Now, not all my four-legged customers are sold on the first bite. If my cat raises an eyebrow at the new grub, I just go slow, transitioning their diet gradually to prevent a feline food critic meltdown.

DIY Savory Broths

I sometimes don a chef’s hat and get crafty with DIY savory broths for my furry gastronome.

Simple Broth Recipe:

  1. Start with unsalted, boneless meat (chicken or fish) in a pot.
  2. Cover with water and simmer; no onions or garlic—those are a no-go for kitty tummies.

Don’t forget, these broths are treats, not meal replacements. Think of them as the sprinkle of parsley on top of the hydration casserole.

Training Tips to Encourage Drinking

Keeping my feline friends hydrated can sometimes feel like a cat-herding endeavor. But, fear not! I’ve got some claw-ver tricks up my sleeve.

Using Positive Reinforcement

I’m no stranger to the art of persuasion, especially when it comes to my cat. Who knew a few encouraging words (and delicious treats) could lead to my cat actually wanting to drink water? Here’s my go-to move:

  • Every time my cat takes a sip, they get a small treat or a head scratch.
  • I make sure the praise is as immediate as possible. Timeliness is key!

This method is simple yet effective—pretty soon, they’ll associate drinking water with those positive vibes.

Hydration Reminder Routines

Consistency is my middle name—well, not really, but my cat seems to think so. To keep the hydration game strong, I’ve set specific times for water breaks. Here’s the rundown:

  • Morning: When I stretch out of bed, we both head to the water bowl for a quick drink.
  • Meal Times: I sneak in a casual “water aperitif” before every meal.
  • Evening: Before bed, we have our nightly wind-down with—you guessed it—a sip of water.

Maintaining this routine turns drinking water into a regular part of their day. It’s like they have an internal water clock now!

Monitoring Hydration Levels

Before we talk about turning into a hydration sleuth for my purring pal, let’s remember that knowing the signs of a well-hydrated cat and when to call the doctor is like recognizing a good cat meme—important stuff!

Observation Techniques

I’ve got my detective hat on, and I’m observing ol’ Whiskers like she’s the star of her own mystery novel.

For starters, I check her gums; they should be as pink and moist as a watermelon on a summer day.

Then, there’s the skin elasticity test, where I gently pull up on the skin between her shoulder blades. If it snaps back faster than I can say “meow,” we’re in the clear. But if it lingers like an unwanted furball, we might be dealing with dehydration.

And let’s not forget about the litter box—a hydrated cat is a peeing cat, so fewer clumps in the litter might mean it’s time to up the water ante.

When to Consult a Vet

When my feline’s hydration habits go wonky and I notice drastic changes, I make a mental note to consult your veterinarian. The pros say that early detection is crucial. So, if my kitty’s hydration routine seems out of whack or she’s showing signs of dehydration, I get on the horn to the vet.