There’s a common myth that states that cats hate water. Cartoons depict
cats as hating anything wet so much that they become physically capable of walking on top of it on their
tip-toes to avoid it altogether. Well, cats are living creatures, and like all living creatures they need
water to continue being living creatures. Too often people seem to misunderstand the relationship that
cats have with water, so let’s talk a little bit about why water is so important for your
Just like humans, you’re going to find cats with wildly different personalities. Some of them are picky eaters,
some are incredibly shy, and some want nothing to do with dogs at all. But then you’ll come across the handful
of cats who love water and don’t mind investigating it on their own terms. That last part, “on their own
terms,” is the key to their relationship to water. Plenty of kitties enjoy diving right in to a pool or
splashing around in the bathtub, but it’s only when they want to. Most anyone hates when they’re thrown into a
pool or have get sprayed with water, so why expect a cat to act any differently?
Simply, kitties need water just as you or I. As their bodies are smaller and covered in hair, they generally
can’t go without water for very long before they become dehydrated and experience health problems. Without
adequate water, they can experience their kidneys shutting down, though inversely if they drink too much water
they could develop something known as polydipsia, which is basically an overdose of water, oddly.
The big thing is, cats like running water more than still water. You may have wondered why you’d put down a
bowl of water, only to have your cat’s little nose sniff it and walk away despite mewing insistently a moment
ago for some. The reason is that instinct has forced cats to feel that running water is safe whereas still
water is likely dangerous to drink, and again this becomes a matter of preference on your cat’s part yet again.
In the wild, stagnant water is very likely to cause illness, so either investing in a drinking fountain for
your cat or just providing them with fresh water multiple times a day can solve a lot of the
Personally I’ve found a lot of luck with an automatic water dish that acts like an
automatic feeder, except instead of food it’s with water. This works great as I rarely have to refill it
and because it burbles down after drinking a bit, my cat feels this is acceptable enough to count as
movement. A lot of water can be easily consumed via wet or canned food as well if you’re a stickler about
setting down a water dish, but that may be a bit extreme. If your pet still isn’t drinking, consider
moving the water away from the food as some cats prefer it this way for some reason.
The goal is basically to make sure your cat is well hydrated. You don’t want your feline to get sick, so make
sure they’re getting enough to drink and that what they’re lapping up is cool, fresh, and healthy. You can’t
replace it with something different like milk, either! It’s got to be pure, clean water!
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