By The Tiki Cat Staff
Cats don’t like to drink water. It’s easy to see why this common, but inaccurate, belief has arisen. Many cats are never or rarely seen drinking out of their water bowls, putting them in sharp contrast to dogs, who typically down their liquid in a few slurps, often emptying their bowls several times a day.
There are several explanations as to why felines drink so little water compared to their canine counterparts. One is that they evolved in dry desert climates where water was scarce. In nature, cats are obligate carnivores, relying on animal protein from their prey for all of their essential nutrients. The lack of moisture in their environment also forced them to derive most of their hydration from their prey, which contained 60 to 70 percent water. To this day, many domestic cats prefer getting moisture from their food as opposed to lapping up liquids.
Dangers of Dehydration
But just because a cat turns up her whiskers at a stagnant bowl of water doesn’t mean she doesn’t need her daily fluids. Like humans, cats that don’t take in enough liquids can get dehydrated. Chronic dehydration can lead to a deficiency of essential minerals as well as more serious feline health issues, such as urinary tract problems. Without sufficient water flowing through a cat’s urinary tract, bacteria may grow and multiply, leading to persistent infections and even kidney failure.
How much water should a cat drink? It depends on how much moisture her food provides. Felines on dry kibble diets take in less liquid than those eating wet food, and will therefore need to drink more supplemental water. As a total from all sources, the general rule is that a cat should have about 3.5 to 4.5 ounces of water per 5 pounds of body weight daily, according to Preventive Vet and other health experts. For a 10-pound cat this would amount to 7 to 9 ounces of water from a combination of food and other liquid sources.
It may be hard to determine exactly how much water a cat gets, so your clients should always monitor their cats for signs of dehydration. These can include general weakness, panting, trembling, loss of appetite, dry or sticky gums, an elevated heart rate, and excessive or infrequent urination. One good way to tell if a cat is dehydrated is to give him the “skin tenting” test. Pinch the cat’s skin between his shoulder blades and lift it to make a tent. Fluids provide elasticity, so if the cat is well hydrated her skin should fall right back in place when you let go. If the skin stays up and peaked, it’s a sign the cat may be dehydrated. A veterinarian should be called immediately if dehydration is suspected in a cat.
Wet Food Provides Hydration
The good news is that there are things your clients can do to increase their pets’ intake of liquids and stave off dehydration. Since cats evolved to get water from their prey, one of the most effective steps cat owners can take is to “go with the flow” and build on this innate behavior by making sure their cat’s food contains a high degree moisture that will be absorbed during the eating process.
Tiki Cat foods are formulated to nutritionally mimic the way a cat eats in nature, and this includes providing the supplemental hydration that they would receive from their prey. All Tiki Cat wet food recipes consist mainly of fresh meat or seafood, offering up to 95 percent animal protein, since cats, who are obligate carnivores, rely on these proteins for all of their essential nutrients such as taurine, arachidonic acid and vitamin A. But another important benefit of Tiki Cat’s fresh-meat formulas is that they are extremely rich in moisture and an excellent hydration source.
Many Tiki Cat recipes even offer extra moisture in the form of a tasty broth. For example, the new frozen raw food line, Tiki Cat® Raw™, is made from uncooked ground poultry or meat in Bone Broth, an ingredient not found in many raw cat food brands. Not only does Bone Broth give Tiki Cat Raw added hydration, it is extremely palatable and creates the smoother texture that many cats prefer. Available in five carefully sourced single-protein varieties: Chicken (USA), Turkey (USA), Lamb (New Zealand), Quail (France), and a Duck (France) diet for older cats — Tiki Cat Raw is ideal for cat owners who want to give their cats the benefits of a natural raw diet with no GMO ingredients, fruits, veggies or grains.
For cat owners who prefer a non-raw diet, Tiki Cat offers moisture-rich, high-protein conventional wet foods in more than 40 different flavors and textures. Inspired by a cat’s natural-prey diet, these range from Luau™, real chicken and fish formulas like seabass and tilapia in a hearty consommé, to After Dark™, nutrient-rich organ meat served in either a finely ground pate or as wholefoods in broth. View the complete Tiki Cat food line.
Top It Off
Eating wet food with a high moisture content can help ensure a cat achieves her required water intake. But what about cats that are fed mainly or strictly a dry kibble diet? Since they’re not getting hydration from their food, they’ll need to be given more supplemental liquids to ensure they stay healthy. One tasty way to do this is to add hydrating high-protein meal toppers to kibble.
Meal toppers are available in a wide range of formats, from wholefoods to broths, and they are a great way to boost the moisture content of a cat’s meal, as well as to add essential nutrients and entice finicky and older cats to eat. Tiki Cat has recently introduced two main meal-toppers: Complements™, a naturally hydrating topper made with shredded chicken in broth; and Filets, a whole all-natural tuna or salmon filet that’s been steamed to perfection and is an excellent source of supplemental moisture. Both high-protein toppers are so delicious they can be given on their own as a treat, in addition to being a perfect complement for dry kibble such as Born Carnivore™.
Even when a cat gets moisture from her food or meal toppers, it may sometimes be necessary to add some good old H₂O to the mix to ensure hydration needs are met. Happily, there are tricks cat owners can use to coax a water bowl-avoiding cat to drink. The key is to tap into instinctive feline behavior. For example, since some cats are drawn to moving water, it might be effective to replace their bowl with a pet water fountain, as its flow may encourage more drinking.
Owners could put water in different containers and in place them around their home, such as in a bathtub or on a windowsill. When a cat sees the surprising object, her natural curiosity might compel her to stick her nose into the bowl and take a few laps. By using felines’ natural inclinations, and throwing in a little creativity, your clients can make sure their cat gets the hydration she needs.