How to Encourage Your Cat to Drink Water

You can lead a cat to water… but you can’t make it drink. Sound familiar?

This can be a really tricky business for a lot of cats – it’s something of a Goldilocks approach in finding out what suits yours. As cats are very susceptible to water infections, struvite stones and various kidney related problems that stem from dehydration – making sure your cat is drinking enough is vital in ensuring that they live a long, happy (and lower vet-bill related) life.


Over my years as a cat sitter, I’ve collected information about weird drinking habits, and thought it might be helpful to share! So here’s a brief summary of things that have worked for the cats that I have met along the way;

  • Try placing water bowls in a completely separate area, away from the food bowls and away from the litter tray. We have a bowl on the mantelpiece and the cats queue up in a line to drink from it. The thinking here is based on how cats may behave in the wild; either the “peace at the water hole” theory – or, that food found near to a water source could contaminate the water and therefore be unsuitable to drink from.
  • Use a ceramic/glass bowl for water. Plastic bowls can often change the taste of water – as well as harbouring bacteria if there are any scratches or dents on the surface.
  • Some cats prefer ‘day old’ water – we’ve all seen our cats head straight outside to drink from puddles despite our best efforts!…
  • but clean water is best – and messy eaters will need their bowls changed sometimes twice per day.
  • Experiment with different shapes and sizes of bowls. Some cats prefer shallow dishes like glass casserole lids, others prefer to drink from something deeper like a cereal bowl – depending on how they use their tongue to lap it up. We have a huge dog bowl because we find the cats’ whiskers get ‘twitchy’ if they’re trying to drink from a smaller bowl and their whiskers hit the sides.
  • Consider offering your cat a glass to drink from. I have a lot of customers who put glasses of water on windowsills (after realising their cats would drink from their bedside tables during the night!). Maybe they like to be able to drink from something more like a deep pool of water.

Cat drinking water from tap

  • A lot of cats prefer to drink straight from the tap – and I’m often asked to facilitate this when I’m looking after cats! – but this can be difficult to make sure your cat gets enough liquid if you’re not always in the house to keep the tap running… aaand a lot of people aren’t that keen on the hygiene side of things. Hence you could try…
  • …different types of pet water fountains. There are so many different types available – but the running water can stimulate interest. Make sure to fully empty and wash regularly and replace the filters as these fountains can too often get forgotten and attract insects.
  • Cook them some chicken broth – simply place raw chicken (no salt or added flavourings) in the bottom of a small saucepan, cover with cold water and bring to the boil. Cover and turn down the heat to a simmer. Two chicken breasts will usually cook in about 15-20 minutes – just make sure they’re not pink in the centre. Chicken thighs can be tastier and cheaper – but make sure to never feed your cat cooked bones. Once the chicken is cooked, remove from the pan and slice up as a treat for you or your cat. Once the remaining ‘broth’ has cooled you can serve some to your cat. This can also be a good way of stimulating a poorly cat’s appetite.
  • Switch to a special urinary diet. This could either be wet food with a high moisture content or specially formulated recipe – or dry food that encourages drinking (e.g. Royal Canin Urinary High Dilution).
  • The dry food vs wet food debate is possibly the most contentious amongst cat owners – second to the outdoor/indoor cat question! I’ll come back to the merits of each another time. In relation to cats’ drinking habits a lot of theory is linked to the fact that a cat’s natural prey e.g. a mouse would be roughly 70-80% water. Wet food is usually within that range but dry food is roughly 10%. Dry food has been linked to bladder issues and renal failure because cats can struggle to drink enough water to combat dehydration when on an all dry diet.

kitten water fountain

  • See if your cats prefer filtered tap water – they may like the taste better, especially if you’re in a hard water area.
  • Lactose free “cat milk” can encourage your cats to drink, and the lactulose it contains can make cats thirsty. Please beware that cat milk can often cause tummy problems, which in turn can lead to dehydration!
  • If you give your cat the occasional treat of tuna, you could also give them a small amount of the ‘tuna water’ (make sure to go for tuna in fresh spring water as opposed to oil or brine) and add water to that. Be careful with ‘human’ tuna as it’s not nutrionally complete for cats and you have to be aware of the mercury levels in their diet. Some cats can become very fussy if they have too much tuna – and start refusing their normal meals!
  • Simply adding a few tablespoons of water to wet food and mixing it in can help.
  • Try putting the bowl on top of a thick book (like the argos catalogue) if elderly cats are struggling to bend down quite so low… or splash out on a fancy feeding station if you’re feeling particularly lavish.
  • Always ask your vet if you’re concerned about your cat’s hydration levels. They’ll be able to advise you on the best course of action – and explain what signs you’d need to watch out for – such as dry/sticky rather than moist gums, or the ‘pinch test’ to measure elasticity.

Cat drinking water from sink

So there we are. Now you’ve tried all of those… you’ll suddenly start worrying, “is my cat drinking too much water?” I told you! It’s the goldilocks principle at work!

If you have any more suggestions – I would love to know.

Rach x

(The Cat Whiskerer, South Shields and Sunderland pet sitter)

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Cats That Love Close Ups!

Up close and personal with my favourites on my cat sitting adventures 🙂

cat care in south shields

Zelda

whitburn whiskers cat care

Tabitha

cat sitting south tyneside

Yorkie

cat sitting south shields

Jasper

cat sitting in cleadon

Bruce

cat sitter whitburn sunderland

Hendrix

cat sitting southwick

Much missed Maisie

cat sitting boldon colliery

Sophie

cat care south shields

Marmite

cat services in south shields

Wilma

pet care whitburn sunderland

… and Cassie (pretending to be a cat)

Rach x

(The Cat Whiskerer)

Ten Reasons to Love Black and White Cats

I love black and white cats – they’re the ultimate moggies!

Felix the black cat at south shields cattery

Felix

They wear little tuxedos

Jess the black and white cat south shields

Jess

They walk around like penguins

Thomas the black and white cat

Thomas

They come in all kinds of fluffy coats

Black and white cat by the fire

Oscar

They’re often overlooked in shelters… which makes a lot of us think that black and white cats will love you more!

Lyla cat mobile cattery south shields

Lyla

They are the ultimate in style with a monochrome palette!

Black and white cattery

Neo

They’re the postman’s favourite kind of cat!

Missy the black and white fluffy cat

Missy

There’s nothing cuter than four little white feet on a lovely black cat

Cattery alternative in south shields

Hendrix

Their eyes are astonishing

Cat care in south shields for Jessie

Jessie

Sometimes their black and white coats can be really funny – I’ve seen cow prints, twirly moustaches and beards!

Cattery alternative in Sunderland

Coral and Trevor

And no two black and white cats are ever the same (although they might try to pretend otherwise!)

Rach x

(The Cat Whiskerer)

Happy Halloween with Handmade Bow Tie Cat Collars

These halloween bow ties are sure to bring a little bit of hocus pocus to your bat-cats. First of all you’ll find googly-eyed spiders on a bright halloween orange!

Halloween cat bow tie in orange and black spiders

Itsy bitsy halloween spiders!

Or how about a stripey number for any feline fashionistas out there! This one comes with a little pumpkin charm.

Halloween black and orange striped bow tie and cat collar

Halloween Stripes!

This ghastly green looks lovely on Lyla-cat for the creepiest (and crawliest) time of the year!

Green halloween cat bow tie

Green for Halloween!

And last but not least, this orange bow tie has a sneaky spider lurking in there!

Orange halloween bow tie cat collar with spider

Polka dots with a sneaky spider!

Fancy dress is for the whole family after all!

Hope you like the pictures – if you’d like one for your own yowling, prowling Halloween cat – pop over to my Etsy shop.

Rach x

(The Cat Whiskerer)

Homemade Catio – Outdoor Cat Enclosure

We’ve finally completed our DIY outdoor cat enclosure – or cat patio – or catio for short!… This followed many long nights of research, walking our cats around on cat leads and LOTS of meowing at the patio doors to go outside and a bit of elbow grease…

Catio drainpipe solution

Patio with spinning drainpipe enclosure… spot the two cats!

For Lyla and Boop, this is a way of getting sunshine and fresh air but at no risk from busy roads, noisy neighbourhood foxes, eating things they shouldn’t or getting stuck in trees (I’m looking at you, Lyla!). The pros and cons are endless but we’re happy with the compromise we’ve made for them both – and they seem happy too.

Outside cats in catio

Lyla and Boop – outdoors!

We have a small garden (7m x 5m) which we’ve recently had patioed (goodbye lawnmowers) with standard 6 feet fences and a car port bordering our property. After painting the fences and assembling and painting the shed – we were ready to go!  First of all I fixed some bamboo screening against the car port fence for privacy and also to stop them escaping that way.

outdoor cat enclosure bamboo fencing

Carport Bamboo Fencing

Then we set about installing the cat enclosure drainpipe ‘system’. I’ll be honest. We weren’t 100% sure if it would work… but we really wanted to give this a go rather than just using brackets and metres of overhanging wire mesh – which we were worried would look a little bit prisony.

Whole Catio View

Catio Panorama

Here are the materials we used (incase you were interested!)

  • Electric screwdriver – make sure to drill into the horizontal fence post
  • Screws – choose the right length so that they don’t go through to your neighbours’ side if you have a shared fence!
  • Saw to cut drainpipes to size
  • Staple Gun
  • Steel Threaded Rods – small enough to go through the bracket holes – these don’t go all the way through the drainpipe
  • Drainpipes – we chose brown ones in the hope they’d blend with the paint!
  • Brackets – already twisted so you just need to bend them to your desired angle. Once they’re screwed to the fence you can still bend them slightly to the right position.
  • Hex Nuts – placed on either side to keep the rod firmly in place
  • Wire Mesh – we opted for the PVC coated mesh to last longer and to reinforce weak spots on the perimeter using the staple gun
Outdoor cat enclosure double rollers

Double Rollers for Extra Security

The basic idea is that the drainpipes rest on steel rods so that if the cats try to jump up, they’ll spin. I wish I’d recorded Lyla and Boop’s attempts to escape but after those first few occasions, they haven’t even tried again! We haven’t had any problems with other cats either as they seem a bit put off having to jump over the piping.

Wire Mesh Cat Enclosure

Using Mesh on the Weak Spots

We opted to go with double rollers as the twisted strap has more than enough space to hang both. It means the lower one can be pushed closer to the fence so the cats can’t get under the first drainpipe, or over the second drainpipe. This is a trial and error thing and very much depends on how much of a houdini your cat would be!

Catio weak spots

Plants and wire mesh in Corners!

We’ve had to put all of our garden furniture in the middle of the garden as otherwise they could use them as platforms to leap over the fence. And I’ve put a few plants around the corners to lure them away from weak spots! In time I’ll make them some outdoor cat toys but for now, this is where Boop likes to spend his time…

Silly Boop

Where’s Boop?

And because I’m a softy, I bought a little cat maisonette for our Lyla so she can even sit outside in the rain.

Shade for Catio

Cat Maisionette

Let me know what you think and if you have any questions, ask!

Rach x

(The Cat Whiskerer)

A summer vaCATion with Whitburn Whiskers!

Off on holiday? Well, leaving your cats at home with a cat sitter means they can be too. Here are a few of the happy (and sometimes a bit hot and flustered) cats I’ve looked after this summer so far in sunny South Shields and Sunderland!

Cat prowling outside

Mishka on the prowl

Cats whiskers outside

Saffy’s whiskers are twitching

Black cat rolling around in the sunshine

Boltzy cat rolling around

Cat in the summer

Gizmo pretending to be asleep

Cat rolling in the sun

Neo in a playful mood

cat sat in the sun

Mac-attack

Silly cat in the sun

Widget fully stretched out in the sun!

Cat too hot in the sun

Too much sun for fluffy Leo!

Missy cat in the sunshine

Missy posing next to plantpots

Cat in the sunshine and grass

Lily in the long grass

Cat playing outside

Miss Tinkle Puss playing in the sun

If you liked these pictures – have a look at Silly Cats Sticking Their Tongues Out and 13 Photos of Black Cats for Halloween!

Enjoy the summer : )

Rach x

(The Cat Whiskerer)

Christmas Cat Bow Ties

Bow tie cat collars are the perfect Christmas present for your furriest friend (Lyla-cat says so!). These four designs are all attached to a handmade, adjustable safety collar which makes sure your kitty is kept out of danger. The bow ties themselves are made out of a lightweight cotton, so as to not wear down your little Christmas cats, so please have a peek.

*1* Snowman Bow Tie Cat Collar

Jolly snowmen with button noses and eyes made from coal, tumble against a merry red cotton fabric! A swinging snowman is dangling from this collar. (click here to buy)

Christmas cat collar

*2* Christmas Tree Bow Tie

These Christmas trees have a special pink star on top – a very merry pattern for the holidays! And to spruce up the collar; a dangling Christmas tree charm! (click here to buy)

Christmas bow tie cat collar

*3* Christmas Holly Bow Tie Cat Collar

For the traditional cat, this holly bow tie is purrfect. The customary green leaves and merry red berries have a lovely gold trim with a holly leaf swinging from a split ring. (click here to buy)

Christmas holly bow tie cat collar

*4* Gingerbread Man Bow Tie Cat Collar

The cookie dough bow tie features little gingerbread men and tumbling green and red candy canes. Dangling from a split ring, Santa’s stocking is full of presents in this cute little charm. (click here to buy)

Cat Collar christmas gingerbread man

And Whiskers Boutique has gone international – this month, bow ties are winging their way to America, Australia and Sweden – so happy holidays, happy Christmas and god jul!

Handmade bow tie cat collars are available to buy from my Etsy shop.

Happy Christmas shopping!

Rach x

(The Cat Whiskerer)