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Cocktails for Your Cat?

The glamorous (non-alcoholic) way to keep your cat hydrated

by Charles Manning
29 February 2024
Little cat near a cocktail while sitting on the table.
Vradiy Art / Stocksy

Earlier this year, Jess and John Feller, the mixologist couple behind independent spirits brand Aged & Infused, had a viral moment when John made a cocktail for their three-legged cat, Mr Biscuits, and served it to him on Instagram. Mr Biscuits loved his little drink and the world fell in love with Mr Biscuits. 

The ‘Mr Biscuits’ Martini’, as the couple dubbed their creation, was a simple mix of one part milk to six parts water, shaken, and served in a mini martini glass. 

Straight milk can be difficult for cats to digest, but a small amount mixed in water is perfectly manageable according to Dr Dan Su – a board certified veterinary nutritionist at BSM Partners – and if it gets your cat to drink more, all the better. After all, most cats aren’t big drinkers. They have what Dr Su calls “a low thirst drive”, which is an evolutionary holdover from their progenitors’ days as desert wildcats in Africa, when they got most of the water they needed from eating smaller animals. 

Of course, these days, most domesticated cats don’t hunt for their food, so they can run the risk of inadequate hydration, which can lead to serious health problems. “If not well hydrated, cats can develop crystals [in their urine] that can turn into stones and lead to blockages that become medical emergencies,” says Dr Su. “Even in milder cases, these crystals can cause discomfort while peeing, which can lead them to go outside of their litter boxes.”

So what is a concerned pet parent to do? “The easiest thing is to offer them wet food,” says Dr Su. “Then you don’t have to try to get them to take it any other way. Or, if they eat dry food, you can try adding water to the dry food.”

You can also do like John and Jess Feller and go the homemade cocktail route, which is not nearly as complicated as you might think, and can be a whole lot of fun. The key is selecting the right cat-friendly ingredients, like canned fish juice (tuna, salmon, etc) or broth, and experimenting with them to figure out what sort of combinations and concentrations your cat likes best. 

That said, try to avoid anything too high in sodium. “It’s not that sodium is necessarily bad for cats,” says Dr Su. “But most get enough from their food and excessive sodium consumption can cause fluid retention and make more work for the heart and kidneys.”

It’s also important to avoid garlic, onions, or other plants in the allium family, as these can be toxic and even deadly to cats. For this reason, it is best to either buy broth specifically formulated for cats or just make your own, since most commercial broths made for human consumption are flavoured with alliums.

And don’t even bother trying to make your cat something sweet. A cat’s tongue can’t really taste sweet things, so fruit juices and the like are almost guaranteed to hold little to no appeal. 

Beyond that, feel free to experiment. Turn the ‘Mr Biscuits’ Martini’ into the ‘Mr Biscuits’ French Martini’ by topping it with a little whipped egg white or aquafaba. Maybe your cat will love it. Maybe not. You’ll never know until you try.

A lot of cats also enjoy chewing on wheatgrass. So, if your cat is a fan, try adding a little wheatgrass juice to their cocktail and see what they think.  

And if you wanna get really fancy, consider coating the edge of your cat’s cocktail glass in Lick-e-Lix and dipping it in crushed dry food to create the feline version of a salted rim. 

Or, you know, you could just stick with the same old bowl of tap water. It’s your call. And, honestly, your cat may end up preferring that. But there’s only one way to find out. And, of course, you should make a cocktail for yourself while you’re at it. You deserve it. And besides, it would be rude to ask your cat to drink alone. 

Charles Manning

Charles Manning is an actor, writer, and fashion/media consultant living in New York City with his two cats, Pumpkin and Bear. Follow him on Instagram @charlesemanning.

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