Part 2: Freedom from Thirst
We have talked in previous blogs about the Five Freedoms for our pets. These freedoms highlight what our cats truly need to be happy and healthy. Freedom from hunger and thirst is the first one.
If you have a dog, you probably see them go to their water bowl multiple times each day to drink, often after eating or exercise. However, most cats are not big drinkers. In the wild, they get most of their moisture from the food they eat. This is another reason why feeding primarily canned food is very helpful for kitties.
Cats also prefer not to have their water source right next to their food. Provide fresh clean water daily in an easily accessible bowl that is wide enough so that their whiskers don’t touch the sides. Some cats dislike stagnant water and prefer to drink from running water. If this is the case, purchase a water fountain for them or allow them to drink out of the faucet. This can encourage water intake in our already finicky cats. Offering multiple water dishes around the house can also be incredibly useful.
It also matters where you put the food and water dishes in your house. Although the easiest place is likely right next to the fridge, this may be a stressful location for your cat, particularly if there is more than one cats or lots of commotion around the food and water dishes.
Pay attention to your cat when they approach their water and food dishes. If they walk up casually or eagerly, tails raised, and dig right in, they are probably happy where they eat. If they approach slowly or warily with ears down and looking about or eat a little then dart off, they are stressed. This can affect their digestion and overall health. Cats may enjoy eating together if they are very bonded. Oftentimes cats prefer to eat separately, either in different rooms or around a corner. Cats that openly hiss at each other or lay back their ears when near each other should have alone time somewhere the other cat cannot bother them to eat and use the litter box.
If you provide high quality cat food, abundant attractive water, and a good environment to enjoy these, you will be helping your feline family to live happy and healthy lives.