Genius ideas to get your cat to drink more water, according to a veterinarian

Korin Miller

Most pets will devour a bowl of food soon after they’re served, but drinking water is a different story. It can be hard to know how much your pet is drinking, and whether they’re actually getting as much water as they need.

Hannah Tom, who owns Julio, 6, and Rocks, 11, was nervous about her cat’s drinking habits, so she called on Kurt Venator, PhD, DVM, chief veterinary officer at Purina, to help. “I really just want to make sure that I’m doing everything I can to maintain their happy, healthy lives,” she tells Yahoo Lifestyle.

Given that Rocks is much older than his brother, Venator tells Yahoo Lifestyle that he first recommends switching him to a pet food that’s designed for his senior lifestyle like Purina Pro Plan Prime Plus.

As for Tom’s water concerns, Venator recommends some cool tricks to help:

Use a smaller water bowl

“The bowl size for them can make a difference,” Venator says. “Cats don’t like their whiskers hitting the side when they’re eating or drinking.” With a shallow bowl, though, their whiskers won’t get wet.

Add extra water to their food

Venator recommends feeding cats a combination of wet and dry cat food, and the wet stuff can be up to 70 percent water. “It’s another really great way to make sure they’re meeting their daily water requirements,” he says.

Keep the water bowl away from the food bowl

Most pet owners will keep them together, but Venator says some cats just don’t like water bowls right next to their food bowls. “Science doesn’t know why, but it could be evolutionary,” Venator says. (One theory is that cats once used to have to hunt their prey, and they wouldn’t want the prey to contaminate their water source, he explains.) Separating the water bowls can make a big difference, Venator says.

Use a cat water fountain

“Some cats are really attracted to running water,” Venator says. “Part of it’s the motion, part of it’s the freshness of the water.”

Tom said she was “really surprised” to learn that the bowls she was using weren’t ideal for her cats and that she had “no idea” that separating food and water bowls could make a difference. Luckily, the changes seemed to work — the next day, her cats were drinking plenty of water.

This article was paid for by Purina and created by Yahoo Lifestyle’s branded content team. The Yahoo Lifestyle editorial staff did not participate in the creation of this content.