What started out as “cute” might actually be a bad habit.
Take pets drinking from a faucet. It’s really cute to see a little kitten tilt his head to drink. It’s cute the way he comes meowing to the faucet every time you pass a sink.
Did you ever think it would be your cat who made the video dunking his head under the running water, the one that’s all over the Internet right now?
Let’s stop and analyze this for just a minute, though. Why is he so adamant about you turning on the water for him at every sink? Could it be that it’s the only time he drinks? Could it be that he’s so addicted to clean, fresh water that he won’t drink from a bowl any more? Could it be that he’s as addicted as you are to Diet Coke?
Could it be that he is howling for water flow because he’s let himself become dehydrated, waiting for you to “water” him?
I’ve seen it happen.
At the risk of making an overly broad statement I will say: Kidneys are a weak point for cats. One of the best ways to prevent some of the wide variety of kidney problems that occur in cats is to maintain excellent water intake. “Flushing” lots of water through your kitty helps prevent some bad things from building up in his system.
Cats have various levels of addictive personalities. Have some cats chase a flashlight beam for five minutes and they will enjoy it until it’s over, then go on to something else. Other cats, like our Martha, will sit for hours waiting for it to reappear. Only the sound of her automatic feeder will break the trance.
You may not be aware of exactly the exact volume of water your kitty consumes each day. If you have more than one pet, it may be especially difficult to tell. So, a decrease in his water intake may sneak up on you until he is afflicted with urinary tract infection, urethral obstruction or even toxicosis from dehydration.
It’s not hopeless. Here’s a plan.
If you haven’t yet started this bad habit, don’t.
If you have, most cats will easily convert to a pet drinking fountain. Available in many brands from many sources, a recirculating pump provides water that comes from a “faucet” continuously. To provide the “clean and fresh” component you wash the apparatus frequently and change the water at least daily.
By the way, you dog owners who let your pets drink from the hose aren’t off the hook, either. The same admonitions apply to you if the hose or outdoor spigot is a frequent source of water intake for your pup.
Fortunately, pet drinking fountains are sized from small kitten to Great Dane.
See you tomorrow, Dr. Randolph.