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Is your cat drinking enough water?

Did you know that cats do not normally drink water until they are already dehydrated?

It’s true; unlike dogs and humans, cats have a very low thirst drive and are not typically motivated to drink water until they are already 3-5% dehydrated (a level at which, clinically, a veterinarian would administer fluid therapy).

This is because cats are “hard-wired” by nature to get their water from the food they eat instead of from lapping water up into their mouths.

In fact cat’s mouths are not designed for drinking enough water to stay hydrated. Your cat’s tongue is more of a grooming tool than a water scoop; when she does drink, she is only getting about 5 teaspoons of water per full minute of lapping! Instead of lapping up water, your cat was designed by nature to “eat” her water. In other words, she needs the vast majority of her daily water intake to come in the form of moisture contained within her food.

Cats eating a “wet food” diet (fresh meat or canned food) consume approximately double the amount of water consumed by a cat eating dry food. This is important because, whether dry-fed or wet-fed, no cat will voluntarily drink (lap up) enough water to stay optimally hydrated.

So, while dry food is a great convenience and can be safely included in her diet, providing your cat with at least some wet food is optimal. Most cat nutritionists and holistic veterinarians recommend at least 50% of the cat’s diet (and up to 100% to ensure optimal health) consist of either meat-based homemade food or a nutritionally complete canned food.