Can Cats Drink Bottled Water?

Is bottled water really better for your cat? With growing concerns over potential tap water contaminants, pet owners everywhere are wondering if they should start pouring bottled water for their furry friends instead. But is this fancy water actually safer? Will it boost hydration? And what about all that plastic waste?

Cats can safely drink bottled spring or purified water. But whether it’s truly better than tap depends on your water quality, cat’s preferences, and a few other factors.

Below, we’ll dive into a deep yet easy-to-understand look at the pros and cons of giving bottled water to cats. You’ll get a definitive answer on can cats drink bottled water plus tips to ensure proper feline hydration. I’ll also bold key information to optimize search visibility and use an engaging conversational tone ala Neil Patel.

By the end, you’ll know if and when bottled water is the right call for your cat. Plus you’ll pick up some tips for choosing the best bottles and transitioning finicky drinkers. I have even more essential information to share, so read on!

An Introduction to Bottled Water for Cats

Bottled water has become increasingly popular for humans who want to avoid potential pollutants or impurities in tap water. This has left many cat owners wondering – can cats drink bottled water too?

The short answer is yes. Bottled water is generally safe for cats to consume, though it may not be necessary in all cases. There are a few factors to consider before making the switch.

First, evaluate the quality of your tap water. If you have clean, safe municipal water, bottled water offers no significant benefits for cats. But if your tap water contains high levels of chemicals, minerals, chlorine or fluoride, bottled water may be preferable.

Second, look at the makeup of the bottled water. Spring water or purified water are good choices, as they contain minimal minerals and additives. On the other hand, mineral water has higher levels of minerals like calcium and magnesium. For some cats, particularly those prone to urinary tract issues, the extra minerals may cause problems.

Finally, assess your cat’s preferences. Some cats dislike the taste of tap water. For these finicky felines, the switch to bottled water may encourage them to drink more. But other cats have no preference between tap and bottled.

Below, we’ll explore the safety, benefits and downsides of bottled water for cats compared to regular tap water. We’ll also provide tips on choosing the best bottled water and transitioning your cat over successfully.

Is Bottled Water Safe for Cats to Drink?

For most cats, bottled water is a safe option for everyday hydration. By following government purified water standards, reputable bottled water companies produce water free of microbiological contaminants like bacteria, parasites and viruses. The purification process also removes or reduces chemicals, pesticides, metals and other potential toxins.

However, there are a few caveats to consider:

  • Plastic safety: Bottled water comes packaged in plastic bottles made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET). Small amounts of PET can leach into the water, especially if the bottles are heated or reused. This may pose health risks to cats over time. Use BPA-free bottles and limit reuse to avoid plastic contamination.
  • Mineral content: Some bottled waters contain added minerals for flavor. High mineral levels may encourage urinary tract issues in cats. Choose plain spring or purified water instead.
  • Access to fresh water: Bottled water must still be changed frequently to ensure freshness. And having a backup water source is essential in case bottled water runs out.

So while occasional bottled water consumption is fine for cats, relying on it exclusively as the sole water source may not be ideal long-term. Combining bottled water with plenty of fresh tap water is a good approach.

Pros of Giving Cats Bottled Water

Switching cats over to bottled water has several potential benefits:

1. Avoids tap water contaminants

Municipal tap water is treated to kill microbes, but may still contain low levels of heavy metals, organic pollutants, chlorine and fluoride compounds. Purified bottled water removes many of these potential toxins. For cats with kidney disease or chemical sensitivities, avoiding these tap water elements can be helpful.

2. Encourages picky drinkers

Some finicky felines dislike the taste of tap water. The neutral taste of most bottled waters may entice them to drink more often. Increasing water intake is critical for urinary tract health in cats. Bottled water can provide an easy flavor upgrade.

3. Convenient while traveling

Bringing bottled water while traveling with cats makes it easy to provide them with familiar, safe drinking water anywhere – in the car, at hotels or in an Airbnb rental. The portability of bottled water ensures your cat stays well hydrated even away from home.

4. Adds hydration variety

Using bottled water to supplement your cat’s usual tap water gives beneficial variety to their hydration sources. This taps into their natural hunting instincts for different “watering holes”. Having multiple water options also guarantees freshness.

5. Peace of mind for owners

For many owners, choosing bottled water brings reassurance knowing their cat is avoiding potential tap water pollutants and drinking high-quality H2O. This added peace of mind may be worthwhile, even if tap water quality is decent.

Potential Downsides of Bottled Water for Cats

While bottled water can benefit cats in many cases, there are some potential disadvantages to consider as well:

1. Higher cost

Bottled waters typically cost significantly more per gallon compared to tap water. Buying enough bottled water to be a cat’s sole water source can get expensive. Prioritize freshness and supplement with tap water to control costs.

2. Safety concerns from plastic bottles

Repeated reuse of plastic water bottles may cause small amounts of plastic compounds to leach into the water. Use BPA-free bottles and limit reuse to avoid endocrine-disrupting or carcinogenic effects. Glass bottles are best.

3. Not regulated as strictly as tap water

The FDA oversees bottled water, while the EPA monitors tap water. Some feel tap water standards for contaminants are actually stricter than for bottled water. Check company quality reports for your brand.

4. Environmental impact of plastic waste

Plastic bottles produce significant waste even when recycled. If giving your cat bottled water long-term, opt for larger, recyclable bottles to reduce single-use plastic trash.

5. Mineral content may encourage urinary crystals

Some bottled waters add minerals like calcium, magnesium or potassium for flavor. For healthy cats, this is usually not an issue. But cats prone to urinary tract crystals may want to avoid mineralized waters.

6. Still requires changing frequently

Like tap water, bottled water goes stale over time as bacteria multiply. Changing bottled water daily or every other day is a must to provide optimal freshness and avoid biofilm buildup.

Tips for Choosing the Best Bottled Water for Your Cat

Not all bottled waters are created equal when it comes to feline hydration. Here are tips for picking the healthiest bottled water for your cat:

  • Check the source – Spring or artesian well sourced waters have naturally occurring minerals. Purified water comes from municipal sources but is further filtered. Know the source and treatment method.
  • Avoid “mineral water” – Waters labeled mineral water have added calcium, magnesium and other minerals. These may encourage urinary tract stones and blockages in cats.
  • Choose plain varieties – Opt for non-flavored waters without sweeteners, bubbles or supplements added. Cats prefer pure, clean taste.
  • Look for low TDS – The TDS (total dissolved solids) level indicates a water’s mineral content. For cats, choose bottled water with a TDS under 30ppm for minimal minerals.
  • Check the pH level – Bottled water pH typically ranges from 6 to 8, which is safe for cats. Ensure it’s not too acidic or alkaline.
  • Read company reports – Reputable brands publish independent lab testing reports on their website showing the water is contaminant-free.
  • Get large, multi-gallon sizes – Larger bottles are more economical and environmentally friendly than purchasing individual smaller bottles. Opt for 5-gallon jugs if practical.
  • Use BPA-free plastic – Ensure any plastic bottles are labeled BPA-free to avoid hormone-disrupting chemicals. Or use glass bottles.

Following these tips will lead you to the best type of bottled water for your feline companion. Prioritize spring water or purified water in BPA-free plastic or glass bottles.

Transitioning Your Cat to Bottled Water

When switching your cat over to bottled water, take it slowly with these tips:

  • Start with a mix – Fill your cat’s water bowl half with bottled water and half with regular tap water. Gradually increase the bottled water ratio over 2 weeks.
  • Give it a flavor boost – Add a bit of tuna water, low-sodium broth or catnip extract to the bottled water to make it more enticing at first.
  • Use familiar bowls – Put the bottled water in your cat’s regular drinking bowls so the equipment is familiar. Introducing new bowls may discourage drinking.
  • Keep tap water available – Don’t take away their tap water source right away. Allow access to both tap and bottled water during the transition.
  • Watch intake – Monitor consumption levels to ensure your cat is drinking adequate amounts of the new bottled water. Refill frequently.
  • Go slow – Make the switch gradually over 1-2 weeks. Some cats may need a month or more to fully convert to bottled water. Be patient!

Persistence and positivity will help ensure your cat makes a smooth transition. Offer treats and praise when you see them drinking the bottled water to reinforce the behavior.

Ensuring Proper Cat Hydration with Bottled Water

Once your cat is used to bottled water for all or part of their drinking needs, be sure to follow these tips for ongoing hydration:

  • Give free access – Provide bottled water in bowls throughout your home so it’s always available on demand. Cats should drink at least 2.5 oz per lb of body weight daily.
  • Change water twice daily – Dump and refresh bottled water bowls every 12 hours minimum to give your cat the freshest H2O.
  • Wash bowls weekly – Empty and wash water bowls with soap weekly, and in between fill-ups if they get hair/debris. Avoid bacteria.
  • Check urine volume/color – Monitor your cat’s litter box for adequate, pale yellow urine output as a hydration gauge. Dark, little urine could indicate dehydration.
  • Supplement with wet food – Feed canned/pouched cat foods high in moisture content to supplement free water intake for optimal hydration.
  • Limit dry food – Feed dry kibble sparingly or use a cat water fountain to increase water consumption if feeding dry food.
  • Contact your vet – If your cat is showing any signs of inadequate hydration like lethargy, dry mouth or urinary issues, contact your vet promptly.

Providing a continual bounty of fresh bottled (and tap) water is key to promoting excellent lifelong hydration and urinary tract health in cats. Be proactive with these tips.

Frequently Asked Questions About Cats and Bottled Water

Here are answers to some common questions cat owners have about using bottled water:

Is bottled water better than tap water for cats?

Bottled spring or purified water may be better in some cases, like if your tap water is contaminated or chlorinated/fluoridated. But if you have access to fresh, clean tap water, it’s perfectly fine for cats to drink. Combining both tap and bottled can give beneficial variety.

Does bottled water prevent urinary crystals in cats?

Bottled spring water with minimal minerals may help reduce urinary crystal formation compared to mineral-rich tap water. But adequate hydration and veterinary advice is still needed to properly manage and prevent crystals.

Do cats prefer bottled water or tap water?

It depends on the cat! Some cats dislike the taste of tap water and drink more bottled water. But other cats show no preference and drink both readily. Monitor your own cat’s preferences when introducing bottled water.

Is mineral water okay for cats to drink?

Most vets recommend against mineral water for cat consumption. The added minerals like calcium and magnesium may contribute to urinary crystals and stones. Opt for mineral-free spring or purified bottled waters instead.

How much bottled water should a cat drink per day?

There is no set amount of bottled water a cat needs. Simply provide unlimited access to bottled and fresh tap water, and allow your cat to drink freely according to thirst. The minimum total water intake for cats is around 2.5 ounces per pound of body weight daily.

The Bottom Line

So can cats drink bottled water? In most cases, yes – bottled spring or purified water can be a safe, healthy hydration option for cats when used properly. Check your tap water quality first, and then decide if switching to bottled water is appropriate. Introduce any changes gradually while monitoring your cat’s preferences and intake.

Providing plenty of fresh bottled water in clean bowls, rotated frequently, can optimize hydration for cats. Just be sure to combine bottled water with regular tap water refills too, in order to give beneficial variety. And as always, consult your veterinarian if you have any concerns about your cat’s hydration needs.