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Best way to get more liquid into cat that doesn't like wet food?

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  • Best way to get more liquid into cat that doesn't like wet food?

    Having found out one of my cats has chronic bladder inflammation, the vet says one way to help with this problem is to get more water into her by feeding wet food (they're currently on dry food 2x day with the occasional "treat" of some wet food now & again). Cleo seems to drink regularly and well from the water bowl (or my water glass!). Their water is distilled, the bowl is wiped out & refilled daily, washed 2 - 3 times a week, but she still could use some more liquids to help with this bladder issue.

    However, when I feed the girls (I have 3 cats) wet food, the one who really *needs* it doesn't really seems to like wet food... Cleo'll take a bite or two, maybe lick it abit and then walk off, leaving it for one of her sisters to finish it off... I've tried different brands, different flavors, different textures (flaked vs. chunks vs. mushed), she just doesn't seem to like it.

    I've been adding a tiny bit of water to their dry food when I feed, but I'm wondering if anyone had other suggestions as to how to get more liquid into my Cleo (short of squirting water down her throat!)? Suggestions? Thoughts?
    View my photographs at www.horsephotoguy.zenfolio.com

  • #2
    get rid of the dry food altogether and just persist with the wet- dry food is really bad for cats.
    Some people offer clam juice, tuna water, or chicken broth to cats to try to get them to drink more.


    • #3
      Changing to a water fountain really helps them drink more—I've burned out the motors on two because the kitties drank so much I didn't catch the empty tanks in time!
      "Dogs give and give and give. Cats are the gift that keeps on grifting." –Bradley Trevor Greive


      • #4
        Can the cat drink milk without it upsetting her stomach?


        • Original Poster

          Wendy, good suggestion, but I'm afraid to go to wet food totally as I sometimes will leave them for a weekend or what not and can't see how I could leave that much wet food out... That and if I get a travel grant I applied for, I'll be gone for 3 weeks this summer and I try to make it as easy as possible for my pet sitter... though I guess I could do a combo of wet/ dry for when I'm out of town and have the pet sitter give wet when there...

          chestnut, also a good idea, but I used to have one of those and because it was plastic two of the girls got really bad chin acne (though I cleaned the fountain regularly). Chin acne is about gone since I switched to clear glass. There are fountains that are not plastic, but they're expensive!

          grayarab, nope not an option... :-(
          View my photographs at www.horsephotoguy.zenfolio.com


          • #6
            I have a cat that blocked so I feel your frustration.

            1. Better wet food. Not all canned is appealing to all cats. So try something stinkier and tastier. Salmon is pretty appealing.

            2. I make soup of their kibble. Basically I pour hot water over the kibble and mix in the canned.

            He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).


            • #7
              Put more water bowls out. My cat had bladder problems years ago and I put water bowls throughout the house. Spare bedroom, living room, my bedroom, back porch. They all use them and I believe it upped their water intake as well. Their favorite is still the fountain though.

              *Knock on wood* No chin acne yet. Google home made cat fountain - I've seen a website that shows how to make one using a glass or ceramic bowl and a filter for fish tanks. Never tried it, but maybe it would be an option.

              Can also dilute tuna juice - open can of tuna, drain juice and add water to it. Can either give it to her like that or pour a little over some canned food.


              • #8
                cats are lactose intolerant I would not offer milk.

                I like the diluted tuna, clam juice ideas and the water fountain as well as taking away the dry and only offering wet.

                Originally posted by grayarabpony View Post
                Can the cat drink milk without it upsetting her stomach?


                • #9
                  My one kitteh that's pretty "meh" about wet food will chow down if I give her a good grooming session or play with her quite a bit before plunking the bowl down in front of her. I also have to put a piece of whatever it is on the floor first before she shows any interest in what's in the bowl -- if she eats the bit on the floor, she'll go to the bowl.

                  I also buy PureBites freeze dried chicken breast which she goes nuts for and I make "soup" with it -- crumble up some of the chicken in a little bowl and add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of hot water. Let it soak till the water gets lukewarm -- she'll drink all of the liquid first then eat the chicken. If you have a PetCo nearby, the cat sized package runs around $3 and also come in shrimp and turkey versions.

                  I've also done the "kibble slurry" thing that Paula mentions, but you'll want to start out with a very little bit of kibble first or you'll end up with a paste and not soup.

                  Does she show any interest in the bathroom sink (like wanting to drink from it) or likes to watch the water run down the tub walls after you've showered, etc? You might be able to encourage non-traditional consumption if she thinks its a game. For some reason, mine really likes to lick the tub walls after I've showered -- I have hard water so maybe it's like a salt lick to her. I just have to make sure I rinse them really well whenever I clean.

                  My little guy is part fish so thankfully I don't have to worry about his water consumption yet.


                  • #10
                    What cat wouldn't go for clam juice?

                    OP, the other way is to give kitteh subcutaneous fluids. It's not as hard as it sounds and you can put in all the fluid you want, when you want.....for the whacko cat who rejects the various other methods.

                    Did your vet mention the sub-q option?
                    The armchair saddler
                    Politically Pro-Cat


                    • Original Poster

                      All good suggestions, thanks all.

                      I'll try first, making a "mash" out of the dry food and wet food, and see about hydrating some of the freeze dried meat treats... and look into making a homemade water fountain...

                      Haven't yet tried the clam or tuna juice, but will!

                      And she does like to play/drink in the sink when the water is dripping, but can't see how I can leave that running for her all the time!

                      mvp - we haven't talked about sub-q fluids yet, trying other stuff first...
                      View my photographs at www.horsephotoguy.zenfolio.com


                      • #12
                        I feed two of mine canned twice a day, with about a table spoon added water in each bowl. Number three will not touch canned. Ever. has not done so since she was a kitten. As such I would take wendy's suggestion with caution: if your cat truly dislikes wet, she still won't eat it much even if you take up the kibble (but I would give it a go with starting the day with some wet...when they are nice and hungry.

                        Somebody suggested to make a 'broth' from chicken or similar, no seasoning added, to put out as water.
                        While I only saw my one kitty drink once, all seem fine, with two of them bugging me in the bathroom for a drink (the no wet kitty also prefers running water to drink, the diva! )


                        • #13
                          Look for the Pioneer Pet fountain on Amazon. They make them in stainless steel and ceramic. Usually $30-40. I've had mine for a year and a half, and they all love it.
                          *OMGiH I Loff my Mare* and *My Saddlebred Can Do Anything Your Horse Can Do*


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by wendy View Post
                            get rid of the dry food altogether and just persist with the wet- dry food is really bad for cats.
                            Some people offer clam juice, tuna water, or chicken broth to cats to try to get them to drink more.
                            Wendy beat me to it.

                            I totally understand the convenience of dry food but she's right - it is generally NOT good for cats. (You can find a lot of info on this topic at http://catinfo.org, if you want.) The net is that cats are obligate carnivores and they don't process carbs well. That is why so many of them wind up with diabetes. (Yes, I learned that one the hard way.)

                            However, as a cat lover with a pet who has refused most canned foods for about seven years now - I can totally understand the challenge with getting enough hydration into a cat that lives on dry food. (BTW, mine eat Young Again zero carb dry - which has kept their blood glucose under control, thank goodness.) You can find info about it here if interested: http://www.youngagainpetfood.com/10b...&category=cats It's a bit pricey (although a bag lasts a LONG time) ... but much cheaper than insulin!!

                            Anyway - beyond that I would definitely suggest a fountain (from Petsmart or similar) to encourage drinking, as noted above. They can make a huge difference.

                            Good luck!
                            We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.


                            • #15
                              I have a cat that can't eat wet food- she, however, gets plenty of water because she LOFFS her water fountain.
                              "As soon as you're born you start dyin'
                              So you might as well have a good time"


                              • #16
                                I tried clam juice, tuna, wetting dry food, really smelly canned foods, people canned meat, etc. Nothing worked to get my old girl to eat wet food. All that works for me is a water fountain (which she loves) and subcu fluids. Good luck!
                                Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Goethe


                                • #17
                                  It's pricey, but Stella & Chewy's might tempt your cat to eat wet food: http://www.stellaandchewys.com/cat-products.php

                                  My guy loves it. I add water to the freeze-dried poofs.
                                  Sarah K. Andrew | Twitter | Instagram | Flickr | Calendar


                                  • #18
                                    A friend's cat would only drink a lot if you turned a bathroom faucet on for her, and it has to be while you stayed there, and she was picky about the exact faucet also. She also wouldn't eat canned food, but if you bought the fish type she would lick the juice up.
                                    You can't fix stupid-Ron White


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by MunchingonHay View Post
                                      cats are lactose intolerant I would not offer milk.

                                      I like the diluted tuna, clam juice ideas and the water fountain as well as taking away the dry and only offering wet.
                                      Not all cats are lactose tolerant; our cats have always been fine with it. Otherwise I wouldn't have suggested it.


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Alibhai's Alibar View Post
                                        It's pricey, but Stella & Chewy's might tempt your cat to eat wet food: http://www.stellaandchewys.com/cat-products.php

                                        My guy loves it. I add water to the freeze-dried poofs.
                                        I tried this, but it was more work than it was worth (for me). Cats didn't like it too moist, although three out of four will eat it dry. Even wet, it didn't seem to get that much extra water into them. IME.
                                        *OMGiH I Loff my Mare* and *My Saddlebred Can Do Anything Your Horse Can Do*