cats can drink rain water
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4 Basic Reasons Why Cats Can Drink Rain Water

Ever caught your feline friend lapping up raindrops and wondered if it’s safe? Cats can drink rain water and I’ve observed this with my cat several times, so I decided to do some research. Here are the findings.

Key take aways:

  • Cats can drink rainwater but should avoid puddles
  • Rainwater is safer than tap water
  • How you collect & store your rain water may influence whether or not it is safe for your cat

Is Rain Water Safe for My Cat to Drink?

Cats can drink rain water and it is safe for them as long as it is fresh and filtered. Avoid giving your cat rainwater if you collected it in galvanized rain buckets, as this poses a poisoning risk.

Is It Okay for Cats to Drink From Puddles?

Although cats can drink rain water, they should not drink from puddles. Rainwater is mostly safe, however, when it hits the ground, there is a possibility of pollution. Some pollutants include bird and animal droppings.

Stagnant water in puddles also becomes a breeding ground for mosquitoes, flies, and other insects. If your cat eats the eggs while drinking puddle water, then they may be worms.

Cats may also get Leptospirosis which is among the most common infections in cats. Your cat may get this bacteria if they drink puddle water in:

  • Heavily flooded areas eg crop farms
  • Areas in the subtropics.

Why Cats Can Drink Rain Water – Benefits

1. Rain Water Is Generally Higher in Oxygen

Rain water has significantly more oxygen compared to your regular tap water because rain saturates with oxygen as it falls.

Research has shown that depending on the salt content and water temperature, the oxygen concentrations can range from 85-100%. Rainwater and moving water (like rivers) have more oxygen dissolved compared to stagnant water.

Oxygen in water is an advantage considering all animals, including cats, require oxygen to survive. This explains why even in the jungles, the big cats still drink flowing water like rivers.

2. Rain Water Has a More Organic Smell & Flavor

Anyone who has drank rainwater knows it tastes and smells different, and cats know this too! This is probably one of the main reasons why cats can drink rain water without a fuss!

Rainwater has this unique smell and taste that makes it feel natural and right.

Cats that drink rain water may find themselves attracted to it because of this. This may stem from their natural instinct from when their ancestors drank rainwater.

3. Rain Water Has Natural Dissolved Minerals

A contributing factor to why cats can drink rain water is its purity and dissolved minerals. As rain drops from the sky, some natural minerals dissolve in it. Some of these include sodium, calcium, and magnesium plus other trace minerals and vitamins.

These can help boost your cat’s immunity and promote healthy fur. Your cat will also have reduced inflammation and digestion problems like bloating.

4. Rain Water Is Free From Chemicals in Tap Water

One of the main reasons why cats can drink rain water is because it’s free from any chemicals making it more attractive to cats.

Tap water has chlorine to make it safe for drinking. However, chlorine has a noticeable smell and taste that can be off-putting to cats.

Tap water may also absorb and get a metallic taste as it moves through metallic pipes.

Factors to Consider Before Your Cats Can Drink Rain Water

1. Rain Water May Have Pollutants

Cats can drink rain water and it is mostly safe, even for you. However, depending on your location, you could be at risk of drinking acid rain.

Acid rain happens when there are many pollutants in the environment. It’s mostly in urban areas with a lot of industries or factories.

As the rain falls, the chemical pollutants dissolve in the rain forming acid rain. Acid rain is toxic to cats, humans, and even plants.

However, if where you live doesn’t have a lot of industries or factories, then your cats can drink rain water as it is safe.

2. Standing Rain Water May Have Worms

Although cats can drink rain water, they should completely avoid stagnant water.

Stagnant rainwater is a health risk to both humans and cats alike. We’ve already established that rainwater has high oxygen levels. The availability of oxygen makes stagnant rainwater a great breeding ground for bacteria and other insects such as mosquitoes.

While there is no way to prevent these organisms from growing in the stagnant water, it’s best if your cat only drinks harvested rain water.

Boiling rain water is also a great way to kill some of the bacterias that may have mixed with the water as it fell.

How Do I Make Rain Water Safe for My Cat?

1. Collection & Storage of the Rain Water

How you collect and store your rainwater is a big factor in whether your cats can drink rain water without any health risks.

Your roofing, gutters, and piping can make your rainwater unsafe. Say for example a dead mouse is on your roof or stuck in your gutters. This automatically makes the water unsafe.

To deal with this, it’s always good to clean out your gutters and piping every once in a while. It’s also important to install a sieve at the collection point to prevent any foreign substances from going to your containers.

A common practice while collecting rain water for use is to avoid collecting the water for the first 2 – 3 days. This way, any dust that had settled on your roofing and gutters will be washed away.

Make sure you’re not using galvanized buckets to collect rainwater. The zinc from the buckets makes the rainwater unsafe for your cat. Instead, you can use heavy plastics or ceramic, making it safe so your cats can drink rain water.

2. Treatment of the Rain Water for Cats’ Consumption

In most cases, cats can drink rain water safely without any health risks. However, there are instances where some organisms or bacteria may have been caught up and absorbed in the water droplets as they fall.

If you’re doubtful, you can boil the collected water. Boiling kills any microorganisms that may be present making it safe so your cats can drink rain water.

Why Does My Cat Drink Rain Water?

Your cat drinks rain water because they are attracted to its earthy smell.

Can Cats Drink Other Types of Water?

So, we’ve established that cats can drink rain water safely. What about ocean water or aquarium water?

Some other types of water that cats can drink include bottled water, mineral water, spring water, and ice water. Avoid giving them aquarium water.

If you’d like to find out more about safe types of water, you can check out this blog post I wrote on the best and worst types of water for cats.

How Much Water Should Cats Drink Daily?

An average house cat weighing 10 pounds, should drink roughly between one cup and one and a half cups of water daily.

Weight in KgsWeight in poundsAmount of water In mlAmount of water in ouncesAmount of water in cups
1022700-90023.6-30.4About 2 and 3/4 cups to 3 and 1/2 cups
715.4490-63016.6 – 21.3about 2 to 2 and a half cups
4.59.9315-40510.6-13.7about 1 and 1/4 to 1 and 1/2 cups
2.55.5175-2255.9-7.6About 3/4 to 1 cup
Note: The amount of water listed is an estimate and may vary based on factors such as the cat’s age, activity level, and diet.

To learn more about the amount of water to give your cat, you can check out this detailed guide on how much water cats should drink.

Recognizing Signs of Dehydration in Cats

While it’s widely known that a cat’s water intake can be less than that of a dog, recognizing signs of dehydration goes beyond observing water bowl levels.

One key indicator is the elasticity of the cat’s skin. Gently lift the loose skin at the scruff of their neck. If it doesn’t quickly snap back into place, it may signify dehydration.

Additionally, monitor your cat’s behavior, as lethargy and decreased activity can be red flags.

Pay attention to the moisture content in their gums. Ideally, they should be moist and pink. Dry, sticky gums may indicate dehydration.

Their litter box habits can also indicate their hydration. Urine that appears concentrated and infrequent can be a telltale sign.

Promoting and Encouraging Hydration in Cats

If your cat is having trouble hydrating properly, try changing the water frequently. Replace the water and clean the bowl with a mildly scented soap.

Also, try changing the type of water they are drinking. Cats can drink rain water, bottled water, mineral water, and even alkaline water. Switch it up to find your cat’s preference.

Changing the location of the water bowl also helps. Make sure it’s not located next to the litter box. Also, keep the water bowl away from busy footpaths.

Is Rain Water Safe to Drink From the Sky?

Cats can drink rain water from the sky safely. Collecting water directly from the sky is even more safe than harvesting it from the roof and gutters.

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