Water Water Everywhere, I still don't want to drink!
Cat owners often find themselves in a difficult situation when it comes to feeding their pets. They observe that their cat is reluctant to drinking water. One assumes that like every other living creature, cats too must need water. But surprisingly, domesticated felines do not seem to fancy the idea, and more than often owners are left in a dilemma. A number of ignorant methods to make your cats drink water usually result in failure.
Why do cats refrain from drinking water? What drives them away from their water bowls? It is the color? Is it the design? We all know that cats are proud and choosy, but does this behavioral trait drive them away from water, which is an essential element for day-to-day bodily functions?
Let us try and break down the reasons for such erratic behavior!!
1) Still water? Umm, I am not so sure about it, hooman!!
Since domestic cats are descendants of the wild forest beasts, they do not prefer drinking water from sources that have still water. Their natural instincts prevent them from trusting stagnant water for various reasons. One of the primary reasons is that felines hate contaminated water. Their sense of smell is too strong and tells them whether a certain water body is safe or not. At home, if the water bowl is kept next to the food bowl, your cat would probably not drink from it, as it fears that the water would be contaminated by food particles. Cats are always known to be picky, but who knew that they could be picky to the extent of developing resentment towards something as basic as water?
2) Flowing water is what I prefer!!
Cats in the wild normally quench their thirst by finding spots where the water is flowing, i.e. a waterfall or a flowing river. The same trait can be seen in domestic cats. Your house cat would love to drink from a flowing tap or a shower than from its water bowl. The reason for such an extraordinary behavior is due to the fact that felines sense the freshness of water. For them, flowing water has a lesser chance of being infected by bacteria or fungus than still water. They love it when the waterfalls on their heads, making it slightly comfortable for them to drink the water rather than putting effort towards scooping the water in their mouth from still sources. Also, cats love flowing water as it is sparkly; something that would strike their curious nature most aptly.
3) Ohh, you have changed the place of my water bowl hooman! How interesting!!
Talking about the curious nature of your fur baby, they love to explore around. Parents usually prefer to set one particular location for their cat’s food and water bowl. This might work, but not for long. Given their curious attribute, it is advisable to keep changing the location of their bowls frequently, leaving them clueless as to where their meals may be. This will excite them, and their eagerness to hunt will be fulfilled. Being natural hunters, the idea of looking around is something that keeps them engaged. Also, the additional physical input of jumping and exploring will probably make them tired and thirsty, increasing the chances of water consumption. This activity will not only ensure that your cat’s hunting instincts are worked upon, but also make sure that they remain hydrated.
4) Hooman, can you please get me a different bowl, else I will bite you!!
It is a common observation that cats do not like to get wet. Even a drop of water anywhere on their body will make them jump around, trying to shake it off. For such animals, who prefer to be dry and not wet, it would be rather difficult to remain dry even while drinking water. Most house cats are known to avoid drinking water because the bowl provided to them may not be appropriate. It might end up wetting other areas of their face and mouth, something they would not like. Their whiskers are very important when it comes to staying alert. And thus, it does disappoint them when the whiskers get wet when drinking water. Therefore, it is imperative that parents get sufficiently bigger bowls for their felines so that they do not have to squeeze their furry faces into the bowls while drinking water, leaving their face and whiskers fairly dry.
5) Can you not make me test the depth of the bowl every time? I hate wetting my paws!!
Parents should be careful to not irritate their felines, especially after knowing that they hate getting wet. Owners should ensure that they fill the water bowls consistently, with freshwater, at least twice in a day. Cats do not like stale water, and also do not prefer to sink their faces deep into the water bowl just to figure out the depth of the water. This might wet their faces, or in many cases, their paws. When they are not able to figure out the quantity of water-filled, they tend to test the depth by putting their paws into the bowl. This can give rise to multiple things. Firstly, it might end up wetting their paws, ruining their mood to drink the water at all. Secondly, it may make them feel that the water is contaminated by their paws, and it may drive them away from the water bowl altogether. Hence it is important for parents to maintain the water level in the bowls, to prevent the cats from getting dehydrated at all!
It might seem odd that an animal is not inclined towards consuming water. After all, water is one of the basic elements of life. But we must realize, that modern-day cats are descendants of solitary and deserted wild beasts, who have a very strong survival instinct. They can go on for days without water, and still be completely fine. It is up to us humans, especially cat parents, to make sure our felines are hydrated all the time so that the unnecessary dehydration does not cause other health issues in our dear babies.