So you’ve got a kitten and you are worried that it is not drinking enough. You’ve seen the stories about how feline dehydration leads to bladder and urinary tract problems and you want to make sure your kitten is getting the water they need.
Well you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we are going to tell you everything you need to know to make sure your kitten stays healthy, hydrated, and happy.
Step one : Relax!
As long as your kitten was not taken from its mama too early, it does not need to be taught to drink water. Kittens learn everything from their mothers, including how to drink water, and as long as your kitten was with its mama for at least a month, it should have the same drive to keep itself hydrated as any other animal.
And don’t worry if your kitten doesn’t seem to drink a lot of water. Cats have the ability to concentrate their urine and that means they don’t need as much water as we humans do in order to flush the toxins from their bodies.
Bonus : now you know why their pee smells so bad and the smell lingers so long.
Now, in the wild, cats get most of their moisture from the food they eat. And you know what that means…
You have to feed them the wet stuff
Yes, I know it’s smelly and icky and gross. Wet cat food is a horrifying substance on nearly every level. But cat cannot live by dry cat food alone. So if you want to make sure your little feline friend stays frisky and healthy then you are going to have to hold your nose and give them wet cat food at least two or three times a week.
If you’ve got the stomach for it, you can also mix a couple of spoonfuls of wet food into their dry food every day instead.
Let’s talk about the water bowl
It should be small and shallow enough for your kitten to be able to get its muzzle to water level without too much trouble. It also should be made of something that won’t change the taste of the water. Metal, glass, and ceramic bows are all fine.
You might have to try different shapes and sizes before you find the one that works for your kitten.
It’s also a good idea to keep the water bowl next to their food bowl for your kitten’s convenience, and to let them see you filling each bowl while you pet them. That way, they don’t ever have to go looking for them.
And this goes without saying, but never ever put your kitten’s water bowl or food bowl close to their litter box. They will be no happier with that than you’d be.
Let’s talk about what goes in the bowl
The important thing is that the water be fresh and clean. Don’t worry about it being cold… cats do not care.
But do remember to rinse out the bowl and refill it every day- sediment and saliva can build up in the bowl and make it unpalatable to our finicky feline friends.
So the easiest thing is to just get into the habit of dumping out the water that’s left in the bowl at the end of the day, giving the bowl a good scrub with a dish sponge (and soap and water, of course) and good thorough rinse in the sink. Then it’s just a matter of refilling it with fresh clean water, and putting it back where it belongs. Voila! Your kitten has lovely fresh water to drink.
The Nuclear Option
If nothing else works, you may have an extra finicky feline who will only drink from running water. That means you need to up your game by going to the pet store and getting a cat fountain. These are pretty much the same as the little recirculating fountains you can get for your garden and you can get one for around $25 at your local pet supply store.
Plus, it will make your kitten feel all fancy. And you have to admit, a kitten drinking from a tiny pet water fountain is pretty darn adorable.
Do I really have to go to all this trouble?
Yes and no. It is, of course, very important for your kittens health that they get the water they need. And it’s best to err on the side of caution in this because your cat can’t tell you that it’s thirsty and the signs of feline dehydration can be hard to detect.
So you do need to pay attention. But don’t fall into the trap of thinking your kitten needs to be taught to like water. All living creatures need water to live and nature has provided them with the drive to seek it out when they need it.
So all you need to worry about is making sure they have access to good, fresh, clean water every day, and that’s as easy as spending a few minutes at the sink.
And, in conclusion
So there you have it. Everything you need to know and more about seeing to your kitten’s hydration needs. You are now ready to make sure that lovely little kitten(aww!) stays healthy, strong, and ready to chase the red dot one more time.