For many cat owners, letting their cat roam free outdoors is neither a viable nor safe option. If this is the case, it is especially important to ensure that an indoor cat is kept entertained and healthy, and one fun and decorative way to keep cats happy and hydrated inside is a DIY cat water garden.
Water for a healthy cat
Staying hydrated is an essential part of a cats' life; however, generally, cats aren’t big drinkers and don’t need to drink much in a day. An averaged sized cat (about 4 kg), should drink about 200 ml of water per day, which can often be accomplished by a proper diet. Wet cat food contains a lot of water and is usually enough to keep up the water intake your cat should have in a day.
But there is no harm in getting your cat to drink a bit more. This is especially important if your cat likes to eat dry food. In this food, there is hardly enough water to keep your cat healthy. Dry food has been linked to causing kidney and bladder diseases (e.g. bladder stones) due to lack of hydration.
To encourage your cat, to drink more water, there are a few tips that you can use.
Choose the position on the water bowl wisely – cats do not like to drink where they eat, so placing the water bowl in a different room is helping to accommodate your cats' natural instincts.
Offer more than one place – cats are picky; they like to have options, so place a few water bowls in different areas around the house.
Always fresh – the water needs to be replaced daily.
Running water – some cats appreciate running water. Pet supplies offer a variety of water fountains. As an option you could also let your faucet drip for a bit, cats enjoy catching the drops.
If you want to create something very special for your cat, you can combine two things, water and cat-friendly plants. The most common one used is wheatgrass. Cats love to chew on the greens, it helps with their digestion. An added bonus, when your cat chews on the greens, many of them will make your place smell great.
- Plants: Take your pick; many plants have beneficial properties for cats. Wheatgrass, lemon balm, catnip, parsley fern, dill, fennel, chervil, rosemary, sage, thyme, and basil. However, be aware that many houseplants are poisonous to pets – so research your choice beforehand. For more information: https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control
- A large low bowl with a flat bottom to plant the greens
- A small bowl for the water
- Soil: Pick a soil which is organic and does not contain any additives that might be harmful for your cat
- Rocks: More of decoration, but also to stabilise the water bowl, a few small rocks will do
- Fill the large bowl up about half-way with soil.
- Dig small holes into the soil, around the edge of the bowl, that are big enough for the plants.
- Plant the greens
- Fill in more soil if the pants still stick out
- Fill in the open soil with small rocks
- Place the water bowl on the rocks