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Nine ways to help your cat stay hydrated during the heatwave

10 August 2022

10th August 2022, UK

As parts of the UK get set to experience four days of extreme temperatures, our cats will not only be feeling hot and bothered – they’re also at more risk of heatstroke. And it is flat faced breeds, such as Persians, who are most susceptible.

Drinking plenty of water is an easy and effective way to help prevent it, so it’s essential that cats stay hydrated in the heat.

60% to 70% of a cat’s bodyweight is water and, as a guideline, they should drink 70 ml of water daily for every 1 kg of weight. Most cat breeds tend to be roughly the same size, with a healthy adult weighing in around 4.5kg, although this of course can vary. So, a 4.5kg cat should drink around 300ml of water - just over half a pint – over 24 hours.

Rob Steele, from global pet company PetSafe® Brand, shares his nine top tips to encourage your cat to drink more water:

1. Let the tap drip
If your cat likes to drink out of a dripping tap, leave one on for her.

Cats are really sensitive to the taste of water. Most prefer it to be fresh and moving because it's easier for them to find and hear than still water. It’s also more refreshing and tastes better than water that has been sitting in a bowl.

2. Add moisture to her food
Kibble provides very little moisture, so introducing wet food is a really easy way to improve your cat’s hydration.

Every time you add some – whether that’s water or a broth, toppers, mixer, or even a creamy treat - you’re improving her health and they’re a great way to smooth the transition from dry food.

3. Try out different bowls
The only way you’ll know which size, shape and material your cat prefers is to try out different bowls. Better still, have them all out at the same time and see which one she enjoys drinking from most.

It’s also worth broadening your definition of what a bowl is – lots of cats like to drink from a clear drinking glass, for example, so give other drinkware a go.

4. Add flavour to your cat’s water
Add to your cat’s water ice cubes made from low-salt drained water.  As well as keeping the water colder for longer, it adds a really tasty fishy flavour that cats love.

5. Place water bowls everywhere
Most cats are really sensitive to where their water bowl is positioned, and even the slightest noise or distraction can put her off taking her next drink.

Keep freshly filled water bowls in lots of locations. Not only does this encourage her to hunt for water as she would in the wild, but it also makes each bowl a new and interesting object. Keep mixing them up and moving them around to prolong her interest and fun – and it’s even better if they’re different shapes and made from materials.

6. Go wide and fill up
Whiskers on cats are extremely sensitive to touch, which means that some cats aren’t keen when they come into contact with the edge of her bowl.

To overcome this potential problem, use wide, shallow bowls that your cat can drink from without the water touching her whiskers. And fill them right to the top to encourage her to consume more.

7. Make iced treats
Make up some ice lollies for your cat with some of their favourite treats. Freeze some tuna brine or some low-salt chicken stock for an icy snack that will keep them entertained and cool.

Ice cubes are another great option to up your cat’s water intake, whilst providing lots of fun. Pop them on a hard floor for your cat push them around and pounce on. As well as cooling their paws - where cats absorb and lose heat – they provide handy enrichment on days when it’s best to keep your cat inside.

8. Keep water bowls away from food
Many cat owners make the mistake of placing her tap water in a bowl next to her food. But cats don’t like eating and drinking right next to each other. It’s believed that this is because cats hunt away from their water source in the wild.

Cats really don’t enjoy the smell of food whilst drinking water - and are also deterred from drinking when there are food particles floating in it – some put some distance between the bowls.

9. Give a water fountain a go
A pet water fountain can make cats much more likely to drink. As with dripping taps, she can see and hear the moving water.

The technology behind PetSafe® Brand pet fountains creates free-flowing streams of water, which entice pets to drink more by continually aerating and drawing oxygen into the water, breaking the surface tension and keeping the water fresh tasting. In-built filters – we use charcoal and foam filters in our Drinkwell® Pet Fountains - also make it taste fresh by removing any unpleasant tastes and odours from the water, whist keeping food debris out of the pump for optimum performance.

When looking for a water fountain, do your research and opt for one that best meets your cat’s personality and needs. Shy cats tend to want a quiet fountain. Others like a lot of moving water. Some prefer a raised drinking area, so they don’t get their fur wet.

Rob Steele said: “Hydration is especially important when it’s hot and, even when temperatures aren’t so high, increasing water consumption can really help prevent kidney failure, which is very common in cats.  It’s certainly one of the best ways to improve your pet's general health and wellbeing.

“As any cat owner knows, when they do drink water, cats can still be notoriously picky. So, we hope that amongst these nine easy ways to encourage your cat to consume more of it, they’ll be a few handy hacks to help everyone keep their furry feline friends hydrated and healthy in this heat.”

Signs of heatstroke in cats
Early signs of heatstroke are similar in dogs and cats - although in cats the signs are often more subtle - and can include:
• Panting, this can progress to distressed or noisy breathing as the heatstroke worsens
• Restlessness or agitation, pacing, seeking shade or water
• Loss of energy
• Drooling
• Red gums or tongue
• Increased heart rate
• Vomiting or diarrhoea

Symptoms of advanced stages of heatstroke can include lethargy, confusion, weakness or collapse and seizures.

PetSafe® Brand has a wide range available to suit every cat’s taste and quirk - priced from £25.99 for the Drinkwell® Current Pet Fountain to £90.99 for the Drinkwell® 360 Stainless Steel Pet Fountain.