This is a follow up from Elisa’s article: Is Water Making Your Cat Sick? I don’t know if someone made a comment on her post but it seems to me that even when we provide water for our cat in a nice clean bowl, if they are allowed out, they will drink from a muddy pool of water on a manhole cover, puddle, or some such place. I have seen my cat do that. Manhole covers for cables or drains have indentations where a device can be placed to lift the cover. This area fills with rain water. And, for some cats, good old messy rainwater is apparently preferable to tap water in a clean bowl. It can look odd and a bit disconcerting. Will she catch something from the water. Will it make her sick?
Does your cat drink dirty rainwater? This is where I reference Elisa’s article. Our tap water contains chlorine or fluoride or whatever and is thoroughly “processed”. The bowl we put the water in is washed in a dishwater using strong detergent. That is a lot of chemicals in a very sterile and hygienic world that may be just a bit too unnatural for a cat. And cats can pick up on these chemicals. They have great noses.
It can go further than that. Even the bowls that we use can have chemicals in them that can cause allergic reactions. Certain plastics may leech chemicals. Ceramic bowls are probably the safest. A dermatitis may develop around the chin if a cat is allergic to certain chemicals.
Does anyone give their cat bottled water? Even that might be unsatisfactory. I don’t know. Bottle water is in plastic bottles. There was a story recently (or was it some time ago, I forget) about chemicals leeching out of the plastic into the water when the bottled water was stored for a long time. These chemicals are poisonous to people and therefore to cats as well.
The point is you can’t beat good old fashioned natural rain water. Perhaps people who have their own house should keep a water butt (a barrel that collects water from the roof) and then place water from the water butt into a ceramic bowl for their cat to drink from. That would seem to be the absolute standard required for a domestic cat.
There are other areas where you could say that the home is too sterile or humanised for the cat. There has been a steady tendency to make our homes and lifestyles overly hygienic and protected. It is about making life safer and better for us. But it may not make it better for the cat. You can sense this clash of culture between cat and human.
Cats who go out bring in mud, leaves and dead animals etc. We don’t like that. The modern trend is towards creating a human world devoid of nature. Concrete everything over. The world is becoming less natural and therefore less pleasant for a cat. Actually, there is an argument that the western world is becoming too sterile for kids. Kids don’t understand risk anymore because they are protected from doing risky things. And their immune systems don’t get a chance to develop in a sterile world. Another aspect of the human desire to reject natural ways is the overuse of antibiotics. People don’t want to let their body kill a bacterial infection. They want a drug to do it. This causes drug resistant bacteria to develop with serious consequences.
For the nearly 40 million full-time indoor cats in the USA, their world is the human world. They are safer than cats let out. However, we don’t know how much this safe and unnatural world impacts on the cat. Mysterious ailments might develop such as immune system problems with unknown causes. Are some of the causes the home that is too sterile and too humanised for a cat?
I don’t know. I just sense it might be the case even for the adaptable, domesticated cat.
Note: There are quite a few articles on cat water on this site. Please use the custom search box to find them if you are interested.