Cats are adapted to desert environments. In the desert their fluids come from their foods so they have evolved with a poor drive to drink
and inferior drinking techniques and equipment
- Fresh prey contains 60-70% water and hunting cats do not naturally drink water.
- You may have noticed that your cat often misses the surface of the water in the bowl at first pass. As predators, cats' eyes are designed to focus at a distance of at least 25cm so it's difficult for them to focus on the water surface. Many cats gauge the surface by looking at the far side of the bowl. Many prefer to lap from a tap or off the shower floor.
- Cats are very inefficient at lapping fluids of low viscosity, such as water, because unlike other animals that create suction in their mouths, they must rely on their tongues to pull a column of water into their mouths. They only take in 3/100 of a teaspoon with each lap.
- To top it all off cats are afraid of attack from predators and would prefer not to have to crouch at the waterhole to take in their fluids.
What can we do to prevent chronic dehydration and the dangers of kidney disease and bladder stones, especially in older cats? Feeding a high proportion of wet food - meat, cans or pouches - is the easiest solution. Providing fresh water in a private, quiet place every day and responding to their preference for moving water or water on large surfaces will also help. Avoid a solely dry diet
at all costs.