Convincing a feline to drink enough water isn’t always as easy as we’d like. A distaste for tap water amplifies this problem, leaving you wondering if bottled spring water is a better option. Purchasing bottles of Evian water for cats may seem excessive, but it can sometimes be necessary to ensure that your cat stays hydrated.
If water is bottled fresh from a spring, it will be healthier for cats to drink because it is chemical-free. However, plastic bottles can contain harmful chemicals and toxins that leech into the water. Find a bottle made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET), or give your cat spring water from a glass or cardboard carton.
There are alternative hydration options for cats. You could get in a purifier and give your cat filtered water or even distill water at home. Just ensure that your cat is drinking enough water each day to stay healthy.
Is Mineral Water Safe for Cats?
Premium bottled water from a natural source is ideal for cats. You can easily taste the difference between tap water and mineral water. Your cat will also be able to tell these water sources apart.
If you buy natural spring water, your cat will enjoy hydration that’s free from the chemicals found in tap water. This reduces the likelihood of your cat walking away immediately after sniffing the water.
Choosing the Right Mineral Water
Mineral water may be preferable to water from a tap, but it’s not the ideal solution. As discussed, not all mineral water is the same. Unless you are buying a trusted brand, you should focus on improving the quality of tap water.
Another concern is bisphenol A, aka BPA – a chemical frequently found in plastic water bottles. As per Environmental Science and Technology, BPA has been linked to mutations and health concerns in animals and humans.
While some of these concerns are countered, and misinformation is unhelpful, many experts still advise against using plastics constructed from the material. When inspecting a plastic bottle, check the label for a recycling logo with a number inside. This is called a resin identification code.
The American Chemistry Council recommends plastics with the number 1. This denotes that the bottle is constructed from polyethylene terephthalate, aka PET, which is deemed safe. Alternatively, get water housed in glass or cardboard.
Sparkling Mineral Water
The bubbles generated by carbonated water are more interesting to a cat than when they’re completely still, which may tempt a cat to drink. Alas, sparkling water is not recommended for cats as a regular refreshment. This water can cause painful stomach bloating, especially when lapped up in large quantities.
Sparkling water is typically best used to amuse your cat. Most felines will stare at these bubbles for hours. When encouraging hydration, persevere with encouraging your cat to drink still water.
Flavored Spring Water
Another bottled water that may tempt a reluctant cat is a flavored option, such as strawberry or watermelon. If your cat avoids plain water but loves the smell of fruit, it may express more interest in drinking regularly.
It is advisable to avoid flavored water at the supermarket as these fluids are typically packed with sugar. Worse still, they often include artificial sweeteners, such as xylitol. The Journal of Veterinary Pharmacology and Therapeutics suggests that, unlike canines, cats do not experience toxicity from xylitol. All the same, it offers nothing positive – and may deter hydration. Felines are drawn to the scent of fruit but cannot taste sweetness.
That’s not to mean that you cannot flavor your cat’s water yourself. Infusing tap water with the essence of fruit may tempt cats into drinking. The smell will pique interest and mask any existing aromas of copper or chlorine.
Try to avoid making fruit-infused water a default selection. If cats grow used to this scent, they’ll be even less inclined to hydrate with plain water – even in an emergency, such as dehydration. What’s more, fruit-infused water can be sticky. Cats are clean drinkers, minimizing waste and spillage. Water can and will stick to a cat’s muzzle, and the sweetness may attract flies.
Why Won’t My Cat Drink Tap Water?
Domesticated cats have an innate distrust of still water. In the wild, cats drink from streams, ensuring a moving water source. This is why many felines show a strange desire to drink from the toilet.
There could be another explanation for your cat to refuse tap water. Before spending money on mineral water and filling your home with plastic, consider if any of the following reasons rationalize the refusal to hydrate.
Dirty or Stagnant Water
As discussed, cats are only interested in clean, pure water. This means that anything that has been laid down for longer than an hour could be deemed dirty or stagnant.
Cats are curious animals, and some may consider pungent aromas to make water more interesting. It is likelier that the cat will express no interest in the water, though. This becomes increasingly likely if another cat has used the bowl.
Smell of Treatment Chemicals
Cats have a sense of smell that’s up to 16 times stronger than that of humans. While this can be helpful while hunting, it’s detrimental to the enjoyment of tap water. Cats can smell every chemical used by the local water company to keep the liquid safe. Tap water will invariably be treated with the following chemicals before it reaches a cat’s bowl:
- Liquified chlorine
- Sodium silicofluoride
- Aluminium sulphate
- Fluorosilicic acid
- Calcium hydroxide
The aromas generated by these additions will deter most felines from drinking. If your cat approaches its water bowl, sniffs, and walks away, this is why. Purifying, distilling or filtering water is the fastest way to resolve this issue.
Close Proximity to Food or Litter
This sensitivity to the smell of water could also apply to location. You should never place a cat’s food and water bowls side by side. To a feline, the scent of food contaminates any liquid. The same also applies to litter boxes.
Serve fresh tap water and relocate the bowl. If possible, keep this on a separate level of the home to any food. This won’t be possible in an apartment. In this instance, the opposite corner of a room will suffice.
The key element of this practice to keep nourishment and hydration as entirely separate entities. Cats rarely drink immediately after eating. Even if they do, felines prefer walking to a different location than meeting their nourishment and hydration needs simultaneously.
Is Hard Water Bad for Cats?
The International Journal of Preventive Medicine recommends avoiding the consumption of hard water. Water is deemed ‘hard’ when it contains dissolved calcium, magnesium, lime, and chalk. If these dissolved minerals total more than 1 grain per gallon of water, it’s considered hard water.
Almost every territory of the U.S. has hard water. Completely soft water is undrinkable due to its high sodium content. There is a sliding scale of hardness, as measured by grains per gallon (GPG). This table explains the impact of GPG:
|Grains Per Gallon||Water Hardness|
|1 – 2||Slightly hard|
|3 – 6||Moderately hard|
|7 – 9||Hard|
|10 – 13||Very hard|
|14 +||Extremely hard|
Extremely hard water is linked to feline urinary issues. This suggests that it should be avoided. If you are unsure of the water quality in your local area, ask your supplier for further information.
Does a Purifier Make Tap Water Safe?
An alternative to spring water is purified water. That way, you can make tap water as safe as store-bought water. This is advisable if you live in one of Best Life’s cities with the worst drinking water.
The use of a water purifier softens hard water and removes any harmful chemicals. This makes your cat likelier to drink. The aroma of these additions is removed from the water ahead of serving.
Can Tap Water be Distilled?
If you don’t want to get a water purifier, consider distilling water instead. Distillation is the process of removing any impurities from water through boiling. The water is turned to vapor, captured, and condensed back into liquid form. If you’re keen to make distilled water for your cat, follow these instructions:
- Empty tap water into a large pot on a stove
- Place a smaller pot inside this larger vessel
- Turn up the stove heat to around 200 degrees Fahrenheit
- Place an inverted lid on the large pot to trap steam
- Consider adding ice to the lid to speed up condensation
- Wait for the steam to turn back to water and drip into the small pot
Distilling water is effective, but it can be time-consuming. If you are looking for a faster solution, a water purifier may be the way forward.
The most important thing is finding a way to keep your cat hydrated. If your cat still refuses to countenance drinking still water, consider why this may be the case and consider changing your cat’s bowl or where it’s placed.