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I have a small cat sanctuary and have recently started doing my own wellness exams, including urinalysis strips. I'm already finding cats with very concentrated urine and some with infection that I'm trying to treat with an herbal remedy. Upon monitoring, I'm finding them drinking very little water. I can feed wet food when isolated but it's not as feasible to make it everybody's main source of food all the time. I keep clean, full water bowls outside and inside for them. I live in Texas so it is nice and hot (water bowls are in the shade). They aren't really exhibiting any symptoms, but I want my cats to be as healthy as possible. What can I do to get them to drink more water outside, where it's not really possible to set up a fountain?

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I wouldn't try to treat your cats for infections yourself. You can get into trouble with that kind of thing. That's up to your discretion, though.

As for drinking. I was watching a cat show a while back and one of the things they mentioned is that cats don't like to eat and drink in the same place as their "kill". This even applies to kibbles, which they see as a "kill".

I had noticed in the past that my cat would walk outside and drink out of the dogs water bowls, when he had cleaner and fresher water inside. Inside, we had one of those side-by-side food and water dishes. Between seeing the show and observing his behavior, we determined he's rather drink water that was more stale than to drink beside his food bowl. We moved him a new water bowl about 10' away and he drinks much more frequently. So that's the first step I'd take if I were you. I'd make sure the water isn't near the food.

Secondly, cat's prefer fresh or even moving water. Granted, they'll do fine without that, but if you're interested in getting them to drink more water, it's something to consider. You can buy, reasonably priced, either a pet fountain or just self contained fountain like the ones seen below.

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You can even make your own, but buying a small pump or filter/pump and building a fountain. You can make it fancy or plain. Just make sure the all the materials are safe for you pets. Nothing that will break down and contaminate the water.

If I was going to build a cheap one and didn't care what it looked like, I'd do it like this. I'd buy an under the bed Rubbermaid (any Rubbermaid really, but these are longer and would allow more cats at once without crowding). I'd cut it down so it's 3-4" deep. I'd use a filter/pump to cycle the water. You can use a modified aquarium pump. I'd probably use one like this:

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The bottom end can be shallow. I think it also have a filter, which would be useful.

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  • I've been around cats long enough to know when they have something mild I can treat at home or more serious and need to go to the vet. I recently had a bad experience with my vet where two of my cats died that shouldn't have so now I've got to find someone I can trust. I believe I'm going to try the outdoor fountain, especially now that I know you can hook them up to solar panels. – Elorah Aug 5 '16 at 2:22
  • That sounds like a great idea, with the solar panel. There are definitely people who can treat minor issues with their animals at home. I err on the side of caution, because I've personally seen people doing their animals harm, because they're cheap or think they know what they're doing. If you know what your doing, then by all means save the money. I'm sorry to hear about your two cats. – Dalton Aug 5 '16 at 12:27

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