As cat owners, we all want our furry friends to live long, healthy lives. One crucial factor in achieving this is providing them with a well-balanced diet that meets all their nutritional needs, including water. Unfortunately, many cat owners make the mistake of feeding their cats only dry food and assuming that it provides sufficient hydration. However, research shows that cats who do not consume water and rely solely on dry food are at an increased risk of health problems and a shorter lifespan.¹
To understand why this is the case, we need to take a closer look at the role of water in a cat's diet. Water is essential for every living organism, and cats are no exception. They require water for numerous vital processes, including digestion, regulation of body temperature, and flushing out toxins. However, unlike dogs, cats have a low thirst drive, meaning that they don't feel the need to drink as much water. This is due to their evolutionary history as desert animals, where they obtained much of their moisture from their prey.
When a cat consumes only dry food, they're not getting enough moisture, which can lead to dehydration. Dehydration can have several negative impacts on a cat's health. For instance, it can cause urinary tract problems, such as bladder inflammation, blockages, and kidney disease. According to the American Association of Feline Practitioners, dehydration is the leading cause of urinary tract problems in cats.²
A study published in the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery found that cats who consume only dry food have a higher risk of developing lower urinary tract disease (LUTD) than those who consume a wet food diet. LUTD is a term that covers several diseases affecting the bladder, urethra, and surrounding structures. The study found that cats who ate a dry food diet had a 1.6 times higher risk of developing LUTD than those on a wet food diet.³
In addition to urinary tract problems, dehydration can also lead to other health issues, such as constipation, weight gain, and dental problems. It can also impact a cat's overall quality of life, causing lethargy and decreased activity. These problems can compound over time, leading to a shorter lifespan.
To further understand the impact of water intake on a cat's lifespan, a study published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association found that cats who drank more water had a longer lifespan than those who drank less. The study followed 32 cats over six years and found that cats who drank more water lived an average of 2.5 years longer than those who drank less.⁴
In conclusion, cats who do not consume water and eat only dry food are at an increased risk of health problems and a shorter lifespan. Therefore, it's essential to provide cats with a well-balanced diet that includes sufficient water.
It is our mission at Bistro Cat to deliver the highest quality wet food to ensure that our feline friends get enough water to help them live longer, healthier lives.
- National Research Council (US) Subcommittee on Dog and Cat Nutrition. (2006). Nutrient requirements and dietary nutrient concentrations. In Nutrient Requirements of Dogs and Cats (pp. 31-79). National Academies Press (US). https://doi.org/10.17226/10668
- American Association of Feline Practitioners. (n.d.). Feline lower urinary tract disease. https://catfriendly.com/feline-diseases/feline-lower-urinary-tract-disease-flutd/
DiBartola, S. P., Osborne, C. A., & Lulich, J. P. (2006). Feline lower urinary tract disease: Past, present and future. Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery, 8(5), 329–340. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jfms.2006.04.001
Forrester, S. D., Towell, T. L., & Nachreiner, R. F. (2007). Evaluation of water intake and urine output as risk factors for urolithiasis in cats. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 230(11), 1648–1653. https://doi.org/10.2460/javma.230.11.1648