The theme of this week’s newsletter is all about water. We’ve dug up some information which might be surprising to you. It will certainly be interesting, and it could improve the health of all who dwell in your home.
Newton’s Purrspective – Cats in Formal Attire
Although dogs have been domesticated for 30,000 years cats took much longer to make that leap. (In fact, some researchers consider us “semi-domesticated”. Our genetic divergence from our desert dwelling ancestors is relatively recent. http://www.iflscience.com/plants-and-animals/genome-comparison-shows-how-wildcats-became-housecats) We joined humans a little over 9,000 years ago when agriculture fostered:
- a change from the previous nomadic lifestyle and
- a concentration of rodents! http://www.livescience.com/7299-house-cats-wild-ancestor.html
Domestic felines are genetically close to our wild counterparts (in fact, at my house we are called “fe-lions”). Having evolved in the desert we are meant to get water with our food. Are we getting enough? http://pets.webmd.com/cats/guide/mistakes-people-make-feeding-cats?page=2
Here is a breakdown for water content of food:
- mice 70%
- canned food 78%
- dry food 5-10%
We should always have access to water, but with just a dry diet we need to drink more. How can you be sure Kitty will drink what she needs?
Everyone agrees that food and water should be placed as far as possible from the litter box area. That’s one even humans appreciate, aesthetically as well as to avoid bacterial contamination. However, does it make a difference if food and water are side by side? Some cats do prefer separation. Our wild relatives often capture prey at watering holes and would want clean water some distance from the kill.
Any stagnant water is likely to contain bacteria or other harmful organisms. Kitty’s attraction to running water (and hence, the popularity of cat fountains) may be instinctual.
All water is not created equal. The four basic types are:
- municipal tap water
- well water
- distilled water
- spring water
Please keep in mind that any water can be filtered to remove harmful contaminants.
Municipal water may contain chlorine by-products, fluoride, bacteria, arsenic, toxic pesticide residues, heavy metals, and even rocket fuel. (yikes!) http://www.littlebigcat.com/health/water-water-everywhere-but-whats-a-cat-to-drink/ Compared to this, the three others seem like ambrosia. However, depending on your location even well water may have contamination. The only way to know for sure is to have it tested by a reliable laboratory. (This should be a concern for the whole family.)
Does that mean distilled water is the answer? Absolutely not! It is so pure it is tasteless and contains none of the molecules and particles needed for health. Drinking only distilled water can lead to deficiencies in sodium, potassium and vital trace minerals. People who drink distilled water exclusively may suffer from high blood pressure and irregular heartbeats.
The best option, for cats and their people) is spring water, assuming it is from a good quality natural spring. (Some bottled water is known to be simply tap water in a bottle.)
Water is good and necessary for life. However, too much or too little are signs of potential illness requiring veterinary advice. A dehydrated cat will lose skin elasticity (noticeable at the scruff on the back of the neck). Drinking excessive water (is Kitty always at the water bowl?) may be an indication of problems such as kidney disease, hyperthyroidism or diabetes.