Should You Keep Cat Food And Water Separate? [Yes, And Here’s Why]

Believe it or not, where you keep your cat's food and water is important. Have you ever wondered whether you should have a separate bowl for your furball's food and water? We've done the research, and here's what we found out.

It's best to keep your cat's food and water separate from each other. This is a preference that they've acquired from their ancestors as they hunt for their food and look for clean water, avoid their predators, and do their best to prevent contamination of their water source.

Hang on because we'll tell you more about how you can feed your cats properly. We understand how picky felines are when it comes to their food and water, so we'll help you out by sharing everything we've found out about where and how to serve their daily sustenance. Without further ado, let's get into it!

A gray Scottish fold cat eating his dry cat food, Should You Keep Cat Food And Water Separate? [Yes, And Here's Why]

Where To Put Cat Food And Water Bowls

Pet parents know how fussy cats can get regarding their food and water. They want them in a certain consistency and served in a specific way. Otherwise, they won't touch them, or you might have to persuade them to do so.

One thing pet owners should take note of is that location matters. Yes, it's a big deal where you put your furball's food and water dishes.

Their food bowl should be placed in a location where they can eat their food comfortably and peacefully. It's best if there's no one around so they won't feel the need to eat quickly and they won't be stressed while eating.

Don't put their water bowl next to their food dish either. Place their food and water bowls about 3 to 5 feet apart to give them the space that they need to respond to their instinctive behavior of hunting and looking for a clean source of water.

For cats, eating and drinking in different places is a way to avoid predators. This gives them a feeling of security which allows them to eat and drink in peace.

A domestic cat standing near the window looking at his bowl

Why Won't Cats Drink Water Next To Food?

Pet parents commonly notice that their cats don't seem to like having their water next to their food. This is said to be ingrained in their system, as their ancestors were very careful not to have their source of clean water become contaminated by anything, including the food that they eat.

So if you notice that your furball is not drinking as much water as needed, try putting the water bowl in a different place, away from the food dish and definitely further from the litter box!

Why Does My Cat Drink With Her Paw?

Some pet parents observe that their cats touch their water before drinking. There can be various reasons for this behavior.

Some cats put their paws in the bowl to make it seem like they are drinking from running water. Their instincts tell them that fresh, moving water is better.

In addition, there are felines that are easily bothered when their whiskers touch the sides of their drinking bowl. Drinking with their paws eliminates this dilemma. It's recommended to choose a bowl that's wide and shallow to make room for your cat's whiskers.

Another reason for dipping their paws in the water could be their way of testing the depth and consistency of the water due to their different experiences when it's served. It's best to have the same water level in the bowl each time you give it to them so that they will feel more secure.

Why Is My Cat Laying By The Water Bowl?

You might notice that your pet loves to stay beside their water bowl. This might just be a matter of preference because of the location of the bowl, or it could also indicate some health issues.

Excessive drinking and consequently always laying next to the water dish, could mean that your cat is dehydrated. It's also a symptom of diabetes and kidney disease.

You should observe your pet and check their water consumption. If it's something unusual, it's best to take them to the vet for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Do Cats Prefer Cold Water?

Cats need water so that they will be well hydrated all throughout the day. When it comes to the water's temperature, many cat experts say that felines prefer to drink cold water because they perceive it to be fresher.

In the wild, cats look for fresh water to drink. They like cool running water and refrain from drinking from a stagnant pool.

This is why you should always ensure that your pet has fresh and clean water to drink all the time. You can give them the same water that you're drinking. Replenish it every so often and you can also add a few ice cubes to encourage them to drink more.

Some also use a pet water fountain to help entice their cats to stay hydrated. They get curious and become attracted to the free-falling water, and this stimulates their drinking habit.

Some say that you shouldn't give your cat distilled water since it lacks minerals found in natural water. This may also affect the PH level in their urine which could lead to urinary tract infections.

However, given the quirks of each cat, some may actually prefer warm water over cold. It's up to us fur parents to observe what they prefer.

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What Can My Cat Drink Besides Water?

Ideally, water is everything your cat needs to stay healthy and hydrated. It aids in the proper digestion, absorption of nutrients, and helps remove wastes from their body.

But in reality, some cats get bored of drinking plain water. And once they get bored, they won't drink it anymore, right? Therein lies the problem, as they won't get the hydration that they need.

That's why pet parents need to find alternatives to help them stay hydrated especially when they get fussy about their drink. The key is in introducing variety to keep them interested.

You can offer them chicken broth. However, it shouldn't contain any salt, seasoning, or oil. The flavor of the meat will entice them to drink the broth. You can give it as is or mix it with their food. The important thing is that they're able to consume it.

Some fur parents give their pets homemade apple juice. This should also be fine as long as it doesn't contain any preservatives, sugar, and chemicals that could be harmful to your cat.

Lastly, let's discuss milk. Contrary to popular belief, cats are generally lactose intolerant. Aside from their mother's milk, they cannot digest lactose found in most other milk which will result in them having an upset stomach.

If you're really having a hard time getting your furball to drink their water, you may ask your vet for recommendations. They might recommend other fluids for your cat so you can be sure that your pet stays hydrated and healthy.

A thirsty Scottish fold cat drinking water

Can Cats Share Food And Water Bowls?

A common concern among households with multiple pets is if they should allow them to eat and drink from the same bowl. While some cats are okay with this arrangement, it is still a good practice if each pet has their own bowl. It's also recommended to put their bowls in separate places.

When each pet has their own bowl, you will be able to monitor each specific eating and drinking habit. You know who's eating well and who is being fussy with their food.

This will also prevent them from fighting over food and water. Cats are territorial, so they want to protect what's theirs. You'll have a more peaceful environment if your pets have their own bowls.

Do Cats Prefer Elevated Food Bowls?

You might have seen elevated food bowls. If you're thinking if it would be wise to invest in them, well, pet experts seem to think so.

Raised feeders eliminate the need for your pet to crouch low to the ground. This means they would be in a more comfortable position while eating, as the food is closer to their mouth. It also reduces the strain on their back and spine.

Elevated cat feeders are also said to increase food intake, especially among older cats. They also promote better digestion. They also help in keeping the area clean and their food away from bugs.

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How Long Can Cat Food Be Left Out?

It's important to ensure that your pet's food is safe to eat. It's completely understandable for pet parents to wonder when it would be safe for their cats to eat the food that they serve. The answer varies depending on the food type.

If you're feeding your cat dry food, it should not be a problem to leave them out for the whole day. They will not go bad easily. This is good news, especially for those who are free-feeding their pets.

But if you're giving them wet food, take note that you can only leave them out for 2 hours. After this period, you should discard any uneaten food and then clean their bowls. This will prevent contamination from bacteria and possible diseases.

How Often Should You Clean Your Cat's Food And Water Dishes?

Take note that you should always clean your cat's food and water bowls. Their food bowls should be washed after every meal, especially if you're feeding them wet food. Water bowls can be cleaned at the end of the day. This will also help in preventing the growth of harmful bacteria in their dishes.

Make sure you rinse them thoroughly and allow them to dry before using them again. That's why it's good to have at least 2 bowls for your cat's food and water. This way, you can use one feeder while you're waiting for the other one to be completely dry.

Final Thoughts

If you're having a hard time getting your furball to eat and drink properly, try putting their food and water bowls away from each other. Remember that even if they are indoor pets, they have instincts that you need to address so that they can behave more naturally.

To get more information regarding feeding your furballs, read the following posts:

Should You Add Water To Wet Cat Food?

Should You Warm Up Wet Cat Food?

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