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February 18, 2014
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Ask Hopeful Henry: It’s all about the water

Dear Hopeful Henry: Sometimes my cat drinks out of the faucet, is this bad for him? Also, he paws at his water bowl before drinking. Do you know why? — Andy

Dear Andy: This is very common in cats and there are a few answers to your question. In regards to the faucet, cats prefer very fresh water also the motion of water coming out of the tap is appealing to their sense of sight and hearing. It is perfectly safe for your cat to drink out of the faucet providing your tap water is good for drinking. When a cat paws in its, bowl it is often for the same reason, they like to see motion, and this helps them see the water level in the bowl.

Make sure you keep your cat’s bowls clean. Even if the water bowl looks clean, bacteria develops very quickly. Try and use stainless steel bowls versus plastic or ceramic bowls as bacteria builds faster in the ceramic and plastic bowls. Water that has been standing for even a few hours loses oxygen; cats are smart and know that the freshest water has a lot of oxygen in it, this is certainly true in running water from the tap. Thanks for your question. — Hopeful Henry

Dear Hopeful Henry: How much water does a cat need to drink? I have noticed my cat is drinking more than he used to. Thanks. — Dottie

Dear Dottie: First thing, if your cat’s or dog’s drinking habits have changed noticeably, see the vet immediately. This could be a sign of medical issue. Excessive water intake can be a red flag for feline hyperthyroidism or feline diabetes; while both conditions are treatable they do require immediate medical care.

As to how much that is a little hard to answer. Water is essential for helping the kidney flush out the toxins from the blood. Water also keeps the other organs hydrated and healthy. Dehydration in both cats and dogs is very dangerous, and if not treated, can lead to death. Cats with either acute or chronic kidney failure often require extra fluids.

Water needs have a lot to do with diet. A cat’s body tissue is about 67 percent water. Coincidentally, that is about the percentage of water they get from the prey they catch and eat in the wild. In contrast, dry food has only 10 percent water, canned is around 78 percent. Therefore, a cat on an all-dry food diet obviously requires more water than a cat on an exclusive raw or canned food diet.

This is what I recommend: Keep water fresh and available at all times regardless of diet. Always watch for signs of dehydration. A good way to test for dehydration is to pull up the loose skin at the nape of the neck. If it springs back the cat is sufficiently hydrated. If it is slow to recede, suspect dehydration. Try adding water to their canned food or get an automatic water dispenser, which will make in more interesting for your cat drink and ads oxygen to the water. Know your pet’s habits and, if you notice a change, call your veterinarian immediately.

I hope this answers your question. — Hopeful Henry

Dear Hopeful Henry: I love animals and would like to volunteer. Do you know where I can? Thank you. — Pam

Dear Pam: That’s great! Depending on the type of volunteer work you want to do there are a couple options. If you like to work directly with cats and dogs, then you can volunteer with the El Dorado County Health & Human Services Agency at the shelter. They are always looking for volunteers to walk dogs and play with the kitties. For more information about volunteering at the shelter, you can reach them at 530-573-5318. You can also volunteer with the Lake Tahoe Humane Society & SPCA where you can help with fund raising events, administrative tasks and much more. If you are interested in volunteering with the Humane Society, they are having an open house Feb. 25 from 2-7 p.m. at their main office, 870 Emerald Bay Road, Suite No. 104. During the open house, they will be signing up volunteers or you can call them at 530-542-2857.

Hope to see you at the open house. — Hopeful Henry

— Submit your questions or letters via email to hopefulhenrylths@gmail.com or by mail to P.O. Box PET, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96158. Visit the Lake Tahoe Humane Society and SPCA on Facebook at www.facebook.com/LakeTahoeHumaneSocietySPCA. You can also become a Facebook friend of Hopeful Henry at www.facebook.com/Hopeful.Henry.


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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Feb 18, 2014 06:40PM Published Feb 19, 2014 02:55PM Copyright 2014 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.