Summer is here, and a lot of cat parents are probably worried about how to keep their furry companions cool and well-hydrated!
So what are the best ways to encourage our feline friends to drink more water? And do cats like ice water?
Most cats love ice cubes, so ice water is definitely a great and cheap option to keep your cat cool and comfortable on hot days. But you should be aware that giving ice cubes to your pets can also have some cons.
In this post, we will discuss why cats tend to go crazy over ice water, as well as some other fun options to keep them cool and happy in summer.
Is it safe to give cats ice cubes?
Cats are curious animals. They want to know things, and they want to figure out how to get what they want. Sometimes, though, their curiosity can get them into trouble. Ice cubes are one thing that cats might try to eat, but is it safe?
As a cat parent, you may have already seen your cat going crazy with ice cubes at some point. In fact, most cats find the shiny, crystalline appearance of ice cubes fascinating. And, if you try adding ice cubes into their water bowl, you might finally succeed at encouraging your kitty to drink more water.
So, if you live in an area with hot summers, then ice cubes are generally beneficial and safe for your precious fur baby.
On the other hand, allowing your cats to play with ice cubes might cause accidents in your home. Like any toy they find interesting, a curious kitty will enjoy licking, kicking, and tossing those little pieces of ice across your living room floor. So, if you are not careful, melting ice cubes can lead to unseen wet spots and cause your or somebody else a bad fall.
Veterinarians also warn fur parents about some adverse effects of giving their cats large chunks of ice to play with. These include damage to the teeth, brain freeze, upset stomach, and possible choking.
In a nutshell, then, ice cubes should be safe for your cats if they are given under your supervision. Never let your kitties play with ice without you watching them. And, most importantly, never let them play with ice cubes on the bare floor!
Benefits of giving ice water to your cats
1. Ice water encourages your cat to drink more water
As you might have observed, most cats are not naturally fond of drinking water straight from a water bowl. That is because cats are originally desert-dwelling animals. Their wild ancestors used to get most of their hydration from consuming live prey, which, unfortunately, is missing from the diet of a typical modern house cat.
But, like humans and other animals, cats do need water to stay alive. For this reason, many cat owners add ice cubes to their cats’ water bowls to lure them to drink more. And this tactic has been very successful, in part because cats are often interested in novel stimuli. Hence, a little change in temperature or the addition of new shapes is all it might take to spark some extra interest in the water bowl.
2. Ice water helps your cat cool off
Cats are pretty good at keeping themselves cool when required. They are excellent at finding the coolest spots in the house to retreat and conserve their energy. They also lick their fur to help them cool down on hot days.
Sometimes though, a little help from their humans can also go a long way to cool them down. One of these ways is by giving them iced water to help them beat the summer heat.
3. Ice water keeps your cat entertained
For our feline friends, ice cubes in water are fun! They enjoy licking, batting, and bobbing the little floating cubes in their water bowl. Cat owners know this, and it is another good reason to put ice cubes in your cat’s water. And, as mentioned, aside from the entertainment, this helps increase their water intake which is great for proper hydration.
Do cats like ice water?
Most cats enjoy playing with floating ice cubes in their water. So the answer is a resounding yes!
In addition to fun, some cats might also like the extra cold water since it can help cool them off a little bit. If you are not sure whether or not your cat likes cold water, try giving them some ice cubes to see if they enjoy the feeling. If this does not seem to work, give them some cold water and see if that helps.
Cons of adding ice to your cat’s water bowl
1. Risk of choking and tooth damage
While most cats will likely just lick the ice, some might bite it if they become too stimulated. Chewing ice can put them at risk of tooth enamel damage, which in turn leaves their teeth vulnerable to tooth decay and other dental problems.
Although rare, mouth pain and choking are also possible if a curious and adventurous kitty accidentally gulps down a piece of small ice. So be careful when giving cats ice cubes – always keep a watchful eye on them!
2. Kitty brain freeze
Have you ever experienced brain freeze after eating ice cream or drinking ice water? Surprisingly, cats are no different! They, too, can experience intense pain if they lick or bite a frozen treat too quickly. And the sad part is, they will never understand where the unpleasant sensation is coming from.
3. Mess and accidents
If you have an indoor cat that loves playing with ice, then chances are they will toss it around and leave a puddle of mess on the floor. And we all know what happens next – a family member walks into the living room and slips on the floor!
For everyone’s safety, therefore, make sure to monitor your pets when you put ice cubes in their bowl. Do not forget to clean up any mess your cat makes, to avoid accidents.
Other ice water alternatives for cats
While ice cubes provide a cheap and convenient solution to beat the summer heat, you need not rely on ice water alone to keep your cat’s temperature down. Thankfully, there are other creative ways to hydrate your feline friend while keeping them entertained.
Some of the best alternatives are:
- Cooling water bowl – Unlike ice cubes, a cooling water bowl safely keeps your cat’s water cold without the risk of tooth damage. Check out the GF Pet Ice Bowl if you are considering this option for your cat.
- Homemade frozen treats – Does your cat enjoy tuna or pureed bananas? Then why not make your own delightful catsicles? Simply blend your cat’s favorite snack foods with water and put them in ice cube trays to freeze.
- Frozen bottle – A frozen bottle of water can be a safer alternative to help cool down your cat. Just place it into their bowl and this should keep their water cold for hours.
Ice cubes are one of the easiest and cheapest ways to help cool down your cat in the summer months. Just be sure they do not try biting or chewing the ice, and they should be perfectly fine! To be on the safe side, make sure that you monitor your pets while they consume or play with ice. You may also consider other alternatives like a cooling water bowl or frozen treats to help them beat the hot weather.
Image: istockphoto.com / Chaiwat Hemakom