Adding water to dry cat food may sound a bit odd, especially when you can simply go for wet food options. But it is still a common practice among cat owners and there are many more benefits to it than you think. While adding water to dry cat food does not replace the need for wet and canned food in cats, it is still good for your cat in many ways.
So in this article, we will look through all the reasons you should add water to dry cat food, as well as some drawbacks of this practice that you should be wary about.
Let’s get started.
Adding water to dry cat food
Some people think that if they add water in the dry cat food mixture, it will change up the composition of the food and make it less impactful on the cat’s health.
This is entirely untrue. While yes, water does usually dilute the food and may also decrease the flavor at times, it does not mean you should just never add water to cat food.
Cats do need water for survival after all, and if your cat is not having the recommended amount of water daily, then you may need to add it into its diet in different ways.
We usually advise you to check with your vet for the perfect amount of water to add in your cat’s food.
A guide is provided below to help you figure out the optimal amount of water to add, but a consultation with your vet will allow you to see if your cat really needs this.
Now that we have cleared the common misconceptions about this practice, let’s look at the different reasons why you should add water to dry cat food.
Reasons why you should add water to dry cat food
For one or all of these reasons, you should add water to dry cat food. Do keep in mind that this does not replace the benefits of dry cat food all by itself, but it may just amplify them if done correctly.
Let’s look into the different reasons now.
Speeds up digestion
Dry cat food, as the name suggests, can have a bit of a dry and grainy texture. Due to this, some cats have difficulty in chewing and swallowing it.
Even if they manage to swallow it, most cats lose their appetite after a few bites. All this does is cause problems in their schedules and health.
In order to stay healthy, they need to eat the stated amount each day. This is where water comes in.
The addition of water will improve the texture of dry cat food and make it easier to swallow for the cat. This will also make digestion easier and put less stress on your cat’s gut.
Hence, this is an important point to consider when adding water to its food.
Reduces problems in cats
If your cat does not have enough water throughout the day, it can feel sick and nauseated. This is a common problem with cats that are used to having dry food.
There are a few things you can do to make it drink water regularly like having multiple water bowls at different locations in your home.
You can also add water in the mix of its dry food or kibble. Not only will this avoid your cat getting nauseous, but also reduce chances of UTIs and hormonal imbalances etc happening.
It also prevents kidney stones. If you have an older cat, it is even better that you wet the food up with some water before feeding it.
Increases water intake
A dehydrated cat is going to be very weak and sluggish. It is very easy to spot whenever your cat has a water deficiency.
So other than forcing your cat to drink a lot of water, there is not much you can do.
When you add water to the kibble, both the water and food simultaneously enter the cat’s stomach and will nourish its body.
Dehydration itself can give way to a number of diseases, so adding a bit of water to your cat’s food really can not hurt!
Your cat’s electrolytes will stay balanced, keeping it healthy and active throughout the day.
Makes your cat have a good appetite
Does your cat eat food way too fast or too slow? Or maybe it has a habit of overeating?
These are all issues that usually are rectified with adding water to dry food. If your cat eats too slow, then it is likely having difficulty in chewing and swallowing the food.
If it is overrating, then adding water will improve the consistency and volume of the food and make your cat feel much fuller than without it.
You can always try a small test of water with dry cat food to see if your cat enjoys it.
What is the perfect amount of water to add in dry cat food?
If we mention wet cat food here, it is worth noting that most of the moisture present in it is from water.
This is also why a lot of cat owners simply go for wet cat food instead of moistening dry cat food. Cats on a wet food diet just need around 26-30ml of water for the day.
But for cats on a dry cat food diet, it may need around 150+ ml of water to complete its daily water intake. This is quite a large amount, so you may need to portion out water in every meal.
For example, you can add around 50ml of water to the dry food every time you feed it a meal. So if it is 3 times a day, add water to its diet each time.
You also need to make sure you don’t completely boil the water. If you can make it warm or almost boiled, then add it to the dry food and let it soak.
This will name sure you do not get a gravy of dry food, but rather a mixture of warm, soaked kibble. Hopefully, your cat will enjoy this.
Lastly, if you add more water than 50ml, then you may get a consistency like wet food. But again, it does not replace the wet food diet.
Reasons why you should not add water to dry cat food
Now let’s look at some common criticisms of adding water to dry cat food.
Wet things attract bacteria. One issue that you may face when you feed your cat moistened dry food is that you can not leave it out for too long.
Bacteria comes on wet things and if your cat ingests it, then a line of diseases could start. Therefore, it is best to dispose of any kibble that has been out for more than 30 minutes.
Another issue with this technique is that it can get pretty messy especially if your cat is used to the dry diet.
Also, do remember that the benefits of dry food come from it being dry. You can add water all you want, but there is a reason that dry kibble exists. Your cat needs the nutrients from it.
The bowl is tough to clean as well after your cat is done with the kibble. These are all some reasons to go for a wet diet altogether.
But in our opinion, if you are ready to accept these lifestyle changes and your cat likes the food, then you should stick to wet dry kibble. If your cat coughs while drinking water go through our article before adding water in food.
In conclusion, should you add water to dry cat food?
There are a number of reasons why cat owners give their cats hydrated dry kibble. It helps with the texture of the dry food so that it will be easier for your cat to chew and swallow.
The softened texture will also make it easier for your cat’s gut to digest it, meaning less gut problems to worry about.
Especially for older cats, this is a great technique for easier food intake. Moreover, your cat’s water intake will be maximized, since you are adding a significant portion of water in its diet.
Diseases like UTIs, kidney stones, and gut problems may be reduced, and your cat will not be dehydrated anymore. Say goodbye to weakness and sluggishness.
Slow eating and overeating problems can also be solved with this technique. However, there are some issues that can be argued.
Your cat could be infected if the hydrated kibble is left out for too long. Leave it out for 30 minutes maximum, remember this. And don’t forget to clean the bowl well, as the kibble will stick to the bowl and be hard to remove for the next serving.
You must know the right amount of water to add in your cat’s food. Use the guide we mentioned above.
Finally, do consult a vet regarding this if you have any doubts. He/she will guide you about what water quantities are best in your cat’s food.