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Will Your Cat Not Drink out of Its Bowl? This Simple (and Free) Fix Will Keep Them Hydrated

Have you noticed your cat doesn’t like to drink water out of its bowl? Maybe you’ve spotted them drinking from a dripping sink tap or sneaking a sip from your glass instead of the fresh bowl you’ve filled for them. It’s surprisingly common problem — but there’s a totally easy solution that will keep them hydrated.

According to UK veterinarian Cat Henstridge, there’s no need to invest in a fancy water fountain to entice your kitty back to their own water. Instead, it’s all about finding a better location to place that H2O. 

“It’s all to do with the prey that our cats hunt in the wild,” Henstridge explains in the video below. “They will often catch mice or rats, and if there’s any water nearby, it’s likely those mice and rats have been using it as a toilet. If the cat drinks it, they might get sick, so they are absolutely hardwired to never, ever drink close to where they eat.

Although they aren’t hunting down the kibble you put in their food dish, that mentality still makes them wary of the water you put next to it. “That water bowl is going to have to go well away from the food — the other side of the room or even in a different room entirely,” Henstridge says. 

Take a look to hear more from her:

It’s not too surprising this is also linked to cats’ preference for dripping water, too. As Henstridge points out, “Faster moving water is less likely to be contaminated.” So even if you splurge on a water fountain for your furbaby, like the Venek Pet Fountain (Buy on Amazon, $26.99), just be sure you’re also placing it far away from their food.  

One of our latest print magazines (buy on newsstands now or on Amazon, $16.97 for a year’s subscription) offers another helpful explanation: Your cats might not be able to see that there is water in the bowl. Although their sense of smell and night vision are strong, it’s difficult for them to see standing water. Getting a fountain can help, or you can try simply putting a small ping pong ball in the water. It will move around and signal to your kitty that the bowl isn’t empty.

Setting up a few different drink stations around the house might be good idea, too. As long as they’re away from the food, this will help pique your cat’s curiosity and inspire them to drink more throughout the day. Switching up the material of their bowl — like using a ceramic dish one day, metal another day, and so on — will also encourage them to investigate the changes and take a sip or two.

Now, if your furbaby has the opposite problem and seems to be drinking a lot more water and you find yourself refilling the bowl more than usual, they should probably take a trip to the vet. Dr. Mike Paul, DVM, explains to PetHealthNetwork that this excessive thirst could be a sign of kidney trouble, blood sugar issues, or hormonal imbalances. Your veterinarian will be able to easily run blood and urine tests to determine if there’s any trouble and find the right treatment.

Keep these tips in mind and you’ll have a happy, healthy, and hydrated kitty!

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