How can we make sure our cat gets enough water while we're not home?

CatChannel behavior expert, Marilyn Krieger, CCBC, offers some solutions so cats that play in and spill their water can have enough to drink while their owners are away.

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Q: I have a 4-month-old Bengal female at home who loves to play in water. She even jumps in the shower with me! The problem with this is that she often will spill all of her water out of her bowl. My husband and I work all day, and are not home to refill her water bowl. I’m afraid that she is not drinking enough water throughout the day because she is spilling it. Do you have any suggestions as to how I can get her to drink her water and not play in it?

A: Welcome to the world of Bengal cats. Their love of water is one of the unique attributes that sets them apart from many other cat breeds. Instead of discouraging the water play, provide her activities that will encourage her to drink more water.

Water can provide hours of fascination, environmental enrichment and play for Bengals and other water-loving cat breeds. There are many innovative products on the market that promotes more feline water consumption, saves on utility bills, keeps most of the water in the sink and provides hours of entertainment for these special kitties. One of these is a faucet that easily mounts on an existing faucet. It has an infrared sensor that turns the water on or off by detecting movement. Cats easily learn to trigger it with their head or their paws.

There are also a variety of pet fountains available that are fun for cats and provide a clean source of filtered water. I advise frequently checking the levels of water in the pet fountains and cleaning them at least once a week.

It is very important that all cats get plenty of fresh water with their food. In addition to using the products mentioned in this column, I add water to my cats’ canned food. Also, it’s very important that cats always have access to fresh water. The shape of the bowl can make a difference to some cats. I have had clients with cats that are uncomfortable with the sides of the water dishes touching their whiskers when they drink. Often these cats either will not drink enough water or will use their paws to scoop the water from the dish. Changing to a wider, shallower bowl often remedies the situation.

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Reader Comments

CatChannelEditor    Irvine, CA

6/27/2012 1:14:02 PM

Bibianne -- This is a good question to ask our cat behaviorist directly. Contact her through the link on her landing page here: LINK

Bibianne    Casselman, ON

6/26/2012 2:52:38 PM

Hello, It is a very good article but there is still another question on my mind. I have 8 cats. Spotty is a male cat who is 3 years old. He was diagnosed with cat arthritis and also had to get water put under his skin because he was dehydrated. I have 2 different fountains, one upstairs, one in kitchen, 1 huge bowl in basement, 1 medium bowl in kitchen beside fountain, and 2 medium bowls upstairs near bedrooms. He will only drink from them if I rub his face with the water from the bowl and then I have to stay beside him. Sometimes this doesn't work. The only thing that does work is to open the kitchen tap, then he drinks and drinks and drinks. I have talked to the vet about this. I also change the water and clean their bowls everyday. Some bowls are tap water, others bottled water. Luckily I can walk to go to work so I see him at lunch. But now we plan our activities around him because of this. Shopping, we can't go camping, trips, etc...But if I can't find a solution, I will continue to plan activities around him because we consider our pets family members. Any suggestions? Thank You

gg    la, CA

6/10/2012 7:45:50 PM


Jody    Phoenix, AZ

5/25/2012 12:34:04 AM

Also, there are bowls with a rubber-type ring around the bottom of the bowl. This keeps the bowl from sliding.

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