Water is an essential nutrient for life, health and vitality. Water is the main constituent of cells, tissues and organs acts as a lubricant and shock absorber is the medium in which all transport systems of the body function maintains the vascular volume and enables blood circulation performs the critical function of transporting nutrients and removing wastes.
The cardiovascular and respiratory systems, the digestive tract, the kidneys and liver, the brain and peripheral nervous system – every aspect of the body depends on adequate hydration to function effectively. Yet 80% of cats in the U.S. are fed dry food, which has so little moisture, it literally robs the body of moisture to metabolize what nutrients kitty is able to derive from it.
The need for cats to consume plenty of water cannot be emphasized enough, and their need for water is often overlooked – or understated.
Because there is no industry emphasis on the importance of water as a vital nutrient, there is often a lack of understanding of just how much water our cats need – and why.
How Much Water Is Enough?
Cats need 8 to 27 *tablespoons* of water (or more) a day for an ideal rate of hydration.Canned or homemade with a moisture content of 77% provides 6 to 9 tablespoons of water (based on average consumption by most cats). Dry food provides almost no moisture, it means that although it is often labeled as “Complete and Balanced” it is actually NOT.
Even cats eating a wet-food only diet can need up to double the amount of water they consume in their food for ideal hydration!
Chronic kidney disease
Although the role of hydration in the development of chronic kidney disease (CKD) has been downplayed or misunderstood, current research indicates that even mild dehydration is a risk factor in the progression of all types of chronic kidney diseases. In fact, there is also evidence that increasing hydration may actually have a role in preventing CKD. Importantly, water consumption also has been shown to have an impact on bladder and urinary stone diseases, mitral valve prolapse, and cancers of the breast, colon and urinary tract.
Chronic kidney disease is the number one cause of death in cats over 5 years of age, and is the number one reason for visits to the vet.