Water toys for cats? Aren’t they supposed to hate water? Maybe… maybe not.

According to the Tufts School of Veterinary Medicine, cats originated in the desert. This means that they haven’t evolved to drink as much water as you may expect. That’s why you won’t find them sloppily lapping at their water bowl like a dog. Certain medical conditions, like bladder stones, however, might make it advisable for your cat to drink more water. 

Even if your cat is in good health, she still needs water to stay hydrated and keep her body temperature down – during the summer more than any other season. 

Can You Train a Cat to Like Water More?

This is another cat myth to take down. Cats are not untrainable. They just can’t be trained in the same way as dogs. It’s helpful to learn both about cats in general and about your cat’s specific character and preferences. You can use these observations to acclimate your cat to water – and even help them like it a little bit.

Read on to learn about making water a fun playland for your cat.

Go with the Flow

First and foremost, think about water in nature. You’re more likely to see an animal drinking from a clear, running stream or river than a stagnant pond. Employ this same reasoning with your cat’s water. 

What does that mean?

Moving water appeals to a cat’s natural instincts. If you’re at home to supervise, and not currently in a drought, try running a small stream of water from the tap. Then let your cat hop up to the sink. They may be tempted to lap – or bat! – at the stream.

You can also find filtered water fountains in pet stores and online. These circulate water in a bubbling or cascading fashion. You may be surprised how much more this encourages your cat to drink.

Water Games

Straight water not doing the trick? Make the experience more like a game for your cat.

Float different objects in a bowl of water to entice your cat to play and drink. You can try floating:

  • Ice
  • Treats
  • Toys – extra points if they’re fish-like!

You might also look for pet-safe bubbles, which float and dance in the air. Your cat will likely have fun chasing and “hunting” the bubbles. Some even contain catnip for an added buzz.

Frozen Cat Treats

To help keep your cat cool and hydrated, freeze tasty liquids like brine from a can of tuna, soupy cat food, or a hearty broth, as long as it contains cat-safe ingredients. These can serve as frozen treats and a source of water.

Location, Location, Location

You probably know by now that cats can be picky about… well, anything. So if you feel like you never see your cat drink water, take a moment to examine their set-up:

  • Is their water in a location that’s convenient to drink? You could try keeping water and food on a designated “place mat.” It should be placed somewhere that feels like your cat’s own personal cafe table. Keep it out of high-foot-traffic areas so they feel safe to pause and drink.
  • Have you provided more than one source of water in the house? You can carry a glass of water around during your daily activities. Your cat can’t – so make things a little easier with a few different water stations. This especially helps if you have an indoor/outdoor cat. Keep some water outside for those blazing hot summer days. 
  • Does your cat like their water dish? Maybe your cat prefers porcelain to plastic. Maybe the reflection from a glass bowl is freaking them out. Keep in mind that you also need to clean their water storage container frequently to keep it from getting gross. If you wouldn’t drink it, your cat probably won’t either.
  • Do any parts of your family routine upset your cat’s ability to drink? For example, maybe you host your daughter’s friends after-school most days, and they play in the area where your cat eats and drinks. 

When in Doubt: Consult Your Veterinarian

If you feel like your cat’s water intake is affecting their health, don’t hesitate to visit for an exam. Your Essentials PetCare Veterinarian can determine if your cat’s aversion to water comes from a more serious condition.

At Essentials PetCare, we offer same-day visits at an affordable cost with convenient online check-in. We’re here to make sure your cat stays cool and healthy this summer.

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