According to our authentic diet being desert hunters, my great-great kitty ancestors rarely drank water as we got most of our moisture from our prey – small rodents, mice and more.
Today we are still hardwired to get our water from our food, except the commercial diets that many of us exist on today involve dry food which only contains about 6–10% moisture.
Canned wet food is better, containing 70–80% moisture, but believe it or not, that is still not enough water each day for us cats.
Do cats actually get dehydrated?
Mom will tell you that she almost never sees us drinking water so it is important to structure our diet and hydration around the reality that we don’t!
The problem of dehydration in cats is as serious as it is in humans. And us kitties can get dehydrated very quickly. If we don’t have enough moisture in our diet, we can get crystals and urinary stones – or come down with diabetes or hyperthyroidism.
Also, with the onset of summer and hot weather, it is extra important that we don’t become overheated.
How to Find Out If Your Cat Is Dehydrated
You may know if your cat is dehydrated if it has a loss of appetite, is lethargic and portrays less playful behavior, even vomiting and diarrhea.
You can do a quick test to see for yourself if we are a bit dehydrated – just pinch the skin on the back of our necks – the skin should be elastic and go right back into position…if the cat is dehydrated, the pinched skin will slowly retract back into position.
So what is a cat parent to do since most of us do NOT drink from the water bowl like you think we do!
How to Make Sure Your Cat Drinks Enough Water
To begin, if you serve your pets commercial pet food, we strongly recommend you transition your cat to canned wet food only if you serve dry. Kibble and dry food is poison basically and has no redeeming nutritional value and should never be served.
We focus on the benefits of a fresh raw protein diet, but if that is not something you want to do, then at least only serve canned food.
Cats need at least a cup of water each day – about 3.5–4.5 oz for 5 pounds of weight. So a cat weighing 10lbs needs 7–9 oz daily in liquids.
Both of our vets recommended to mom that she put the water, flavored or not, directly into each meal. That way you know how much water we are drinking. Knowing how hard it is to guarantee that we are drinking water, mom decided to go with the vets’ suggestion and just put the liquid into our food.