We all grew up knowing that we shouldn’t drink salt water. That said, gargling with salt water seems to be a safe practice. It can even reduce tooth and gum pain. But we know better than to swallow the salt water for fear of becoming dehydrated or hurting our kidneys. It would make sense that this is the case for all living creatures on this planet. But this isn’t true! While we humans should never drink salt water to try and curb our thirst, cats can! Here’s what you should know.
Cats Can Drink Salt Water and Survive
Unlike humans, cats possess biological bodies that can process salt water. Their kidneys are strong enough to filter the salt out so the water can hydrate them. This doesn’t mean that cats can live on salt water and food alone. While not guaranteed, continual intake of so much salt could lead to the same dehydration that humans tend to experience after drinking salt water. Cats don’t need seawater to survive, but salt water can help them survive when times get tough. Don’t go out of your water to give your cat salt water. A proper commercial diet and fresh, clean water from the tap is all it takes to keep your cat happy. But don’t worry if you see your cat drinking the saltwater out of your swimming pool — unless they seem lethargic or sick afterward.
Health Effects of Cats Drinking Salt Water
Although sodium is important for your cat’s health and they don’t seem to have problems dealing with excess amounts of it, they should get it in the form of animal meat, organs, and bones. Salt water isn’t something that your cat should get used to drinking unless they are stranded someplace where fresh water isn’t available.
There is also no reason to add salt to your cat’s water to ensure that they get enough sodium in their diet. Making sure that they are fed a high-quality dry or wet food that’s formulated especially for cats should be all it takes to keep your cat filled up with the right nutrients needed to maintain a long and happy life.
What to Do If Your Cat Won’t Stop Drinking Salt Water
It’s nothing to worry about if your cat takes a drink from your saltwater fish tank or swimming pool now and then. But if you find that they are continuously doing so throughout the day, it’s a good idea to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian. Your cat may be experiencing a lack of minerals that they are trying to make up for by drinking the salt water. They could have developed a mental condition or a health problem that drives them to drink the salt water. Whatever the case, your vet can help you identify the problem and come up with a solution.
The Bottom Line
A drink of salt water here and there isn’t likely to hurt your cat in any way. But keep an eye out for how much salt water they are drinking to make sure that they don’t become obsessed with it. Plain water out of the sink is the only kind of water that you should make plentifully available for your cat, both indoors and out. Doing so should curb any interest that they have in salt water.
Featured image credit: dimitrisvetsikas1969, Pixabay