Having enough water each day is crucial to a pet's health. According to PetMD.com, household cats originated from desert-dwelling felines who got water solely from food. Nowadays, however, most cats are fed dry foods and given water from a bowl.
While some cats will readily drink from a bowl, others don't drink nearly enough which can lead to urinary problems and sick cats. Cats who don’t drink enough may develop issues with bladder inflammation (commonly called feline idiopathic cystitis) or even bladder stones. According to VCA Animal Hospitals, bladder stones are rock-like formations of minerals in the urinary bladder. They can range in size from sand-like to pieces of gravel and are very painful.
PetMD.com reports clinical signs cats with urinary issues exhibit include eliminating outside of the litter box and crying out in pain while attempting to urinate. VCA reports other signs such as straining to urinate and even blood in the urine. Owners should bring their cat to a vet hospital if they notice any of these problems.
To encourage cats to consume more water, owners should consider switching to an all canned food diet. Some cats will require a slow transition to avoid rejection of the new food. In this situation, an owner can mix in the old dry food at first to entice it. Other ways to increase water intake include offering ice chips as “treats”, providing water in a free-flowing fountains or even from a slowly dripping faucet. Some cats prefer large bowls of water and these can be placed at a variety of places around the house to encourage increased water drinking throughout the day.