I prefer mine on ice.
July 24, 2008 10:01 PM   Subscribe

Do animals prefer to drink cold water in the summer like I do?

I was pouring my cat a dish of water this morning and I wondered if all animals derive pleasure from drinking cold water on a warm day. Would my cat be just as satisfied with room temperature water? Has this ever been studied?
posted by zerobyproxy to Food & Drink (20 answers total)
 
I give my dog room temperature water because our tap water is warm during the summer. Sometimes I put ice in it. He drinks it just the same. He's thirsty. I think room temperature means he can drink it faster, without getting brain freeze. (Which you'll notice happens because they keep licking, to try to stop it.)

Honestly, I don't think he has a preference, but pet owners love to project preferences like that.
posted by disillusioned at 10:06 PM on July 24, 2008


my dog seems to like munching on ice cubes in the summer but not the winter.
posted by violetk at 10:20 PM on July 24, 2008


I think it may depend on the animal, and this may not be an easily answerable question. I've had cats that would absolutely insist on drinking out of the toilet if it was left open, and my general impression was that it was more during hot weather (the toilet water seems to stay colder than the stuff in their bowl, or whatever).

Also, my horse used to BEG for crushed ice on a hot day. Like, practically-knock-you-down slobbery annoying begging if you were within reach. But that could have just been a weird habit, horses are weird like that and he was a complete attention whore to begin with.

So the answer is: it probably depends and I sort of doubt anyone's ever really done a scientific study on this. So the best you can hope for here is a bunch of anecdotes like mine and some anthropomorphic projection like disillusioned alluded to. A hard yes or no answer? eeeh, maybe not.
posted by lonefrontranger at 10:25 PM on July 24, 2008


It would make sense for animals to prefer cold water as that is more likely to be running (think of a stream) and thus disease-free, rather than stagnant, warm water. That said, the dogs don't seem to care, whereas the cats stop drinking when the water is "stale."
posted by desjardins at 10:33 PM on July 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


My kitties love cold water in the summer. Or rather, fresh from the tap, which comes out pretty cold where we live.

So I make the kids refresh their water frequently "whether it needs it or not", which I feel kills both the "kitties like cool water" and "kids need responsibilities" stones at the same time.

The cats seem to care less in the winter. But the kids still need jobs. So, I still make them do it.
posted by padraigin at 10:40 PM on July 24, 2008


being cold or eating cold food can shut or slow down cat's digestive systems. My cats seem confused when I drop an ice cube in their water. But they drink it all the same. I usually do this on really hot days when i am bored.
posted by silkygreenbelly at 10:52 PM on July 24, 2008


This seems like a pretty simple thing to test (or study with a small sample size, if you will). Place two identical bowls with water at different temperatures in front of your cat. Observe which one your cat prefers. Repeat. Report back.
posted by ssg at 11:47 PM on July 24, 2008


Many cats I knew didn't like water fresh from the tap. They would drink from tepid watering cans or the toilet bowl, but never out of their freshly refilled bowl. I don't think that this is about the temperature of the wather, though, because they also didn't like lukewarm water fresh from the tap.
posted by The Toad at 2:05 AM on July 25, 2008


Sadly, the article I read in an old print magazine - it was one of those cat magazines published a report/study done by an enterprising youngster for a science project so it's not available as a cite. The study compared the preference between cold water and room temperature of a couple of kitties.

The two bowls were exactly the same and placed next to each other. The order was switched randomly. I cannot remember the number of tests done. But, the conclusion was that the kitties preferred the cold water.
posted by mightshould at 5:11 AM on July 25, 2008


My question comes back to this: Why is it that we like to drink cold water? It doesn't taste different than room temperature water but I will always drink cold water regardless of the season.

My opinion is that my cat doesn't care one way or the other but are there other animals that do choose to drink one temperature of water over another if both are available?

desjardins response has made the most sense to me with "It would make sense for animals to prefer cold water as that is more likely to be running (think of a stream) and thus disease-free, rather than stagnant, warm water."
posted by zerobyproxy at 5:11 AM on July 25, 2008


Every kitty I've ever had loved water straight out of the tap! (As in water trickling, head on the side. Occasionally pausing to snuffle it out of their nose and then continue.) They have one of those Feng Shui fountains :) Meaning I had one but nasty cats kept drinking out of it. So now they have a fountain and I just have a cat bowl that needs a power point.

They like melted ice-cream and she only likes my left over cereal milk after it has warmed a little (I like it ice cold). And their mother would not drink warmed milk :) as some poor neighbor informed me.

So based on all that - cool-ish/tepid preferably running.
posted by mu~ha~ha~ha~har at 5:14 AM on July 25, 2008


That said, the dogs don't seem to care, whereas the cats stop drinking when the water is "stale."

It makes sense physiologically. Cats are sensitive desert animals that hardly need water and make super concentrated pee to conserve it. Dogs are wonderfully disgusting omnivores ("What is it? I'm not sure, but I better eat it just to be safe.")
posted by Mayor Curley at 5:58 AM on July 25, 2008 [2 favorites]


Why is it that we like to drink cold water? It doesn't taste different than room temperature water but I will always drink cold water regardless of the season.

i prefer super cold water because it helps cool me down. i would think other mammals would operate that way too.

(and, i think cold water DOES taste better than room temperature)
posted by misanthropicsarah at 7:14 AM on July 25, 2008


My cat prefers cold water. If she sees that I'm changing the water in her mug (she also prefers to drink out of people cups, possibly because pet food dishes are shallow and so the water seems to go stale faster) then she will drop whatever she is doing and come running over to the spot where the cup is kept, waiting for me to replace it so she can get a long drink. I assume the preference is because cold water seems to be more fresh and refreshing; she also likes drinking out of the tap and if I've forgotten to close the lid on the toilet, she will sneak (she knows she isn't supposed to) a drink from it or from my water glass if her water has gone room temperature.
posted by Polychrome at 7:17 AM on July 25, 2008


If I came home from work and gave my dogs a bowl of room-temperature water I'm sure they'd drink it -- but I'm going to go home from work and give them a nice cold bowl of water with some ice cubes in it because it's HOT! They're my DOGS!

(You are welcome to check the flickr link in my profile and report back on whether or not you'd be able to give those magnificent beasts a bowl of lukewarm water.)
posted by kate blank at 7:41 AM on July 25, 2008


I'm read in a couple of sources that you're supposed to give your cats room temperature water, but I'm guilty as charged when it comes to projecting my food/drink preferences upon my pets.

Thirsty is thirsty, and an animal will drink from a freakin' mud puddle given enough incentive.

That said, I would have to 2nd the opinion that it depends on the critter, as I have one cat that seems to prefer water that's been sitting around for awhile (won't touch it straight out of the tap unless she's REALLY thirsty or with an ice cube in it,) and another who I gave up on trying to dissuade from drinking out of the toilet. (I know, I know, leave the lid down, but since I only remember about 75% of the time, I just gave up with the "punishments" when he does get in there.) The latter also likes to lick condensation on glasses and pipes (ew) so the preference does seem to lie with "cold" for him.
posted by Debaser626 at 8:04 AM on July 25, 2008


My question comes back to this: Why is it that we like to drink cold water? It doesn't taste different than room temperature water but I will always drink cold water regardless of the season.

Not everyone does. Given the choice of ice water and room temperature water, I prefer the latter, even in the dead of summer. I'll bet animals have personal preferences as well.
posted by jschu at 8:54 AM on July 25, 2008


Why is it that we like to drink cold water?

Cold water tends to numb your taste buds. So if the taste of the water is a little "off" for one reason or another--mineral content or funny chemicals used to treat tap water--you won't taste that as much when the water is cold.
posted by flug at 10:04 AM on July 25, 2008


Drinking cold water in hot weather is a cultural thing. Some cultures believe that it is actually bad for you to do so as it can shock your system. Many older Chinese people do not drink cold water, period. I think the whole premise of your question is culturally biased.

In other words to answer your question: Why is it that we like to drink cold water? What we white man?
posted by Pollomacho at 8:52 PM on July 27, 2008


It doesn't answer your question, but my dog freaks out whenever he encounters ice cubes in his bowl. I tried it once and he pawed them out (making a huge mess) as quickly as he could.

It was funny to watch, though.
posted by jmevius at 9:28 AM on July 30, 2008


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