2001-Sun Feb 26 16:38:54 MST 2017
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We’ve all seen cats drinking in weird places. No, not your local dive bar. I’m talking the kitchen sink, the bathtub, that dripping faucet in your powder room — or even the
Why don’t cats simply
sip out of their water bowls? There are some interesting facts behind that question. But, first, let’s get a handle on feline physiology and how it affects our cats' drinking habits.
Cats descended from desert animals that were built to subsist on little water if necessary. Being
obligate carnivores — meaning they must have meat in their diet — they take in water from their prey when they eat it. You may notice that your cat’s feces are usually somewhat dry, and if you could examine his urine in a laboratory, you would often find that it’s highly concentrated, because of his super-efficient kidneys. Those are two ways that a cat’s body is able to retain water.
Now, that doesn’t mean
cats don’t need
water. They do. But, according to my veterinarian colleague
Dr. Deb Greco, an internal medicine specialist and feline expert par excellence, how we present it to them can be problematic.
“It’s hard for cats to get water, because they can’t really see still water well, and they may
feel vulnerable sitting at a bowl, especially if it’s in a corner, so they have their back to other cats who might jump on them,” she says.
Another reason cats might be
suspicious of water in a bowl is the instinct that whispers to them telling them standing water isn’t always safe. It might be contaminated, for instance. For most wild animals — and I think we can safely say that most cats are at least wild at heart — running water is a better bet.
Dr. Greco explains that cats might also prefer running water, because they can detect it with their
keen sense of hearing. It’s easier for cats to find running water using sound than it is to rely on their sight to find still water. And the swift-moving stream from a faucet may be cooler and more oxygenated, improving the taste.
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