You may have heard that cats do not drink enough water because they have a low thirst drive. If so, you are probably also aware that this can lead to health problems, and you might be wondering what you can do to help. Of course, wet food is a good start, but can you mix wet cat food with water to increase the amount your cat drinks?
Can You Mix Wet Cat Food With Water?
You can add water to your cat’s wet food, which may help ensure that your cat drinks enough fluid, especially if it is fond of dry biscuits or rarely seems to drink. However, this could lead to problems with your cat feeling full too quickly, and it should be done with a bit of care.
Why Might I Add Water To My Cat’s Food?
Many of us are becoming increasingly aware that many cats don’t drink enough water because they have a relatively low thirst drive. Cats take in much of the water they need from their food, but this requirement is not necessarily met by commercial foods, especially if your cat likes dry food.
Cat biscuits are suitable for your cat because they help keep your cat’s teeth clean and strong, but they do not contain nearly enough moisture to keep your cat healthy. Giving your cat wet food is the first step to combating dehydration, but you might decide to take it further by mixing water into the food.
So, let’s find out why this may be a good idea and the possible drawbacks!
What Are The Advantages Of Adding Water?
The most significant and obvious advantage of adding water to your cat’s food is that this ensures they are taking in an increased amount of liquid. So if your cat eats a lot of dry food or doesn’t seem to drink, no matter how many different vessels you offer water in, you might want to do this.
Constant dehydration can increase the cat’s chances of suffering from urinary tract infections. It also puts increased strain on the kidneys, leading to renal failure if not addressed promptly.
Renal failure is difficult to control in cats, and it’s crucial to make sure your cat is drinking enough so you can avoid this problem.
Other issues can include poor blood circulation and an imbalance of electrolytes. The imbalance can affect almost every single one of your cat’s organs, and it’s imperative to avoid it if possible.
As a final benefit, is an increase in water can improve your pet’s digestion. Cats have shorter digestive tracts than humans, meaning that food is not digested for as long, and adding water can make the digestion process easier for them.
Therefore, adding water is helpful in many ways, and it should keep your cat healthier. However, note that unless your cat is suffering from dehydration-related health problems, you may not want to add very much water to your cat’s regular meals because it can also cause some issues, which we will look at next.
What Are The Disadvantages Of Adding Water?
Some people say that adding water to a cat’s wet food is unnecessary because it already contains quite a high water content. This may be particularly true if you are feeding your cat “soups” or “gravy” foods that have a very liquid sauce in with the meat.
However, you might be left wondering whether there are any specific disadvantages associated with doing this.
One of the first potential problems is that many cats do not like it when you mess with or change their food. So what might seem like a minor addition of a few drops of water to you could put them off the dish entirely, and once a cat has rejected a meal, it may refuse to go back to it, even if you increase the meat to liquid ratio.
However, the second problem is that extra liquid in the meal could cause your cat to feel full before it should. If your cat is not used to having its stomach full of water, it might not recognize that it still needs nutrients, and in this case, it might not eat enough.
This could, in extreme cases, lead to deficiencies and weight loss. However, this is quite unlikely, especially if you only add water in small amounts. Nevertheless, you should keep an eye on your cat’s food intake and make sure that it is consuming as much as it should be over the course of a day.
There’s no problem with including additional water in its diet as long as it is, provided it will still eat the food.
How Do I Add Water To My Cat’s Food?
The easiest way to add water is to keep a dedicated knife or fork near your cat’s bowl. When you have served up some food for your cat, add a small amount of water to the bowl, and use the knife or fork to mix it around and incorporate it into the food.
PetMD suggests that you should add about a quarter of a cup of water to a bowl full of cat kibble, but they are explicitly talking about dried food. You will probably find that you need significantly less for wet food.
It’s a good idea to start with a small amount so you can check that your cat does not object to this. You can then slowly increase it, until you feel happy with the amount that the cat is getting. There isn’t a risk of “over-hydrating” your cat as with people. It will just urinate out excess liquid.
That isn’t to say that you should drown your cat’s dinner in water, but you don’t need to worry too much about quantities. If in doubt, chat to your vet.
Different cats have different needs. If your cat has had issues or is at risk (male cats are much more likely to suffer from urinary tract issues than females, for example), you might feel it is safer to add quite a lot of water, whereas other cats may only need a small amount of water adding.
Should I Also Provide Water Separately?
Yes, your cat should always have access to a bowl of clean, fresh water. It should not be placed by the food bowl, as many cats don’t like this. Instead, put it in a different area and remember to refresh it regularly to avoid dust or hairs in it.
Even if you add lots of water to your cat’s food, you should provide it with a separate drinking dish. This will ensure the optimum setup where your cat has access to the water it needs and is getting its natural water requirements met by additional moisture in its food.
You certainly can mix wet cat food with water, and your cat will benefit from you doing this. Cats are at risk from multiple health issues due to dehydration. An increasing number of people are becoming aware of this problem.
So give your cat a boost by adding more liquid to its wet food!