If all the world was apple pie and all the seas were ink and all the trees were bread and cheese, what would we have to drink?
Last night I had to do a little double-sided tape baby-proofing, and I reset the timer on the nightlight because Rupert doesn’t seem to get so worked up at night when there is a nightlight on. I also pulled the blinds up farther, so he could get a view out of the window without the previous night’s entangled blind disaster. He went after the window one time, hit the tape, and didn’t do it again all night. I’ll talk more about aversion training techniques in another post.
I was able to give him a full-on head scratching session last night too. It’s another baby step, so for today I’ll talk about feral cats and water.
Water is important, and after watching feral cats for 19 years in my own back yard, I can say that they do drink a lot of water if it’s available, so I think that low thirst drive thing is a load of crap. Water is also important if you are going to try holistic stress treatments as a lot of them get added to water or food. We’re going to be trying some of the Spirit Essences and Bach Rescue Remedy. I’ll let you know my thoughts in 4-6 weeks. I’m a big fan of holistic mind over body style medicine, so we’ll see. Some people think it’s quackery, but for a few bucks, it can’t hurt.
Anyway, feral cats drink out of ditches, creeks, water gardens, ponds, birdbaths if they can reach, and Moon’s favorite was puddle drinking. In the winter, they would all drink from a large heated ground-level birdbath I had on my patio for that very reason.
The thing about feral cats though is … they like a wide berth and they want their water away from their food. Feral cats have a thing about their whiskers pressing against things and cross-contamination, so again, you want to mimic the outside as much as you can. If you don’t, they will not drink and will get dehydrated and will get all kinds of urinary issues as a result.
When we brought Moon in, we actually brought the heated bird bath in with us so he had something familiar. It was summertime, so it wasn’t an issue until I could figure out something that matched its height off the ground and its diameter. I ended up making my own stand from wood purchased at the home store, a little decoupage crafty-magic, and a glass bowl I found at HomeGoods. Always use glass or metal as they are easier to keep clean.
If you are going to purchase a water dish, get one that sits off the ground and get a large one, a big dog sized one so that it’s way wider than the cat’s head.
Put the water dish at least 3-4 feet away from the their food, and it’s good to have more than one water dish in the house as outdoor cats are used to more than one source of water.
Most animals living outdoors do not have access to free-flowing rocky mountain streams; they drink water that’s available as long as it doesn’t smell putrid. So don’t waste your money on a fancy water fountain thing. Your feral cat will not use it, and they are a pain in the ass to keep clean anyway.
If they refuse your tap water it may be that the chlorine smell is too strong or they find something else objectionable about it. If that’s the case, try bottled filtered water or invest in an under skink tap water filter. That’s what we had to do since our chlorine is nasty disgusting. Do not use distilled water though as it has been stripped clean of everything, including the all-important minerals we need for our bones etc. Just get filtered water, but really, the under counter water filters are pretty cost-effective. I lost the use of my sink sprayer so we could put in a separate tap for it, but now even our coffee tastes better, and when you are up all night with a crazy cat, you need a lot of coffee.