How To Spot A Dehydrated Cat & Potential Causes

Recognizing the indications of dehydration may be the quickest method to get your cat the assistance she needs since it can be difficult to keep track of how much your cat is drinking. Fortunately, there are several telltale indicators of a dehydrated cat, which we'll go over in more detail shortly, as well as some quick at-home "tests" you can take to determine whether your cat has been getting enough water.

There are some easy adjustments you can make at home to help your cat feel happy and comfortable about drinking if you suspect they aren't getting enough fluids, but it's always best to talk to your veterinarian who can rule out anything worse and provide care in more severe cases of pet dehydration.

When Is Enough Water Enough?

Your cat requires constant access to fresh drinking water in order to stay hydrated. If you place her bowl close to her food dish, make sure it's always clean and always full because she can accidentally spill some food crumbs into it.

But how much water does she actually require each day? Not near as much as you might anticipate.

The Committee on Nutrient Requirements of Dogs and Cats notes that cats don't drink as much per kilogram of body weight as do dogs. As a result, depending on the food she consumes and her surroundings, your cat may need different amounts of water. Cats typically consume one ounce of water for every half ounce of dry food they consume, according to the committee. On the other hand, wet food gives your cat both food and moisture at once and can aid in keeping her hydrated.

How to Check whether Your Cat Is Dehydrated in 3 Ways:

Dr. Greenstein advises taking your cat for an examination at home for less severe episodes of dehydration. It is best to speak with your veterinarian if the symptoms suggest dehydration or if you're not sure whether they do.

1. Skin Tent Examination: Depending on how old your cat is, their skin ought to resemble stretchy. Gently grasp the skin behind your cat's shoulders and raise a little to check for dehydration. Though older cats will have reduced flexibility, the skin should quickly retract. Your cat may be dehydrated if the skin doesn't fall back quickly or continues in a tented position.

2. Gum examination The gums on your cat should be pink and supple. Your cat may not be feeling well if their gums are dry, sticky, or pale. Your cat may be dehydrated if its gums are sticky. If you are close to your cat's mouth, observe the tongue to see if it is dry and/or the saliva to see if it is thick and white. Insert your finger slowly into the gums. According to Dr. Greenstein, if the white spot left by your finger persists for two seconds or more, your cat may have a prolonged capillary refill time, and you should get immediate veterinary care.

3. Litter Box Test. A typical amount of pee should be produced by your cat if they are eating and drinking normally. A vet checkup is advised if your urinary pattern changes because this could indicate medical issues. The presence of loose stools or diarrhea is a surefire indication that your cat is losing fluids and may be at danger of becoming dehydrated.

How Much Water Should a Cat Drink?

One of the negative effects of a cat not drinking water, or a cat not drinking enough water, was Pugsley's urethra being plugged with urinary stones. They resemble a "plug" of pliable, soft material made up of cells, minerals, and mucus-like protein. The kidneys are unable to retain fluids and electrolytes in balance or eliminate toxins from the blood as a result of the backed-up urine. If this is not treated right away, it could result in death in 24 to 48 hours.

Fortunately, Pugsley received timely treatment, but the doctor advised me that maintaining Pugsley's hydration was the most effective method to stop him from reblocking and maybe needing surgery. You better believe that I began researching strategies to encourage my kitties to drink more water.

Is your cat dehydrated or not getting enough liquids? Encourage your cat to drink more water to prevent dehydration:

1. Change to a diet high in wet foods

Simply said, canned food contains more moisture. My veterinarian claims that this is the simplest approach to encourage your cat to drink more water and prevent dehydration.

If your cat won't eat wet food, try moistening dry food with broth or water and see if it works. If your cat like canned food, moisten it even more by adding water or broth. Some cats adore the soup-like texture this produces.

2. Incorporate ice cubes into your cat's diet.

It provides moisture and functions as a small reward for the cat. The flavor of the meal is transferred to the cube, and when your cat licks the cube, he also consumes more water. If your cat isn't drinking any water, you could try putting some ice cubes in its water bowl. Like some humans, some cats love ice cold water.

3. Provide more compact, frequent meals.

A cat that isn't drinking water may start doing so if he receives food more frequently because eating makes you thirsty.

4. Distribute water bowls about the home.

Provide several agua stations around the house to make it incredibly simple for your cat to receive a drink. Fun Frisco bowls with custom designs are available at Chewy for $12.99. It's possible that a cat who doesn't drink water will have problems getting to the water. Romeo, my cat, enjoys sipping water from my cups. It might also encourage your cat to drink more water if you leave a few strategically placed drinking glasses nearby.

5. Recognize where the water bowl is.

The location of the cat's water bowl might not be appealing to the feline.  Keep your cat’s water bowl away from his litter box. Would you want to drink near your toilet?

6. Ensure that the bowls are consistently refreshed.

Who can blame cats for like clean water? To prevent it from becoming slimy and unpleasant, make sure to wash the bowl thoroughly with soap and water on a regular basis and replace the water at least once daily.

7. Engage the faucet.

Use this as a fantastic opportunity to encourage your cat to drink more if he is drawn to rushing water. You might only need to make drinking water into a pleasant game for your cat if it won't. Try letting the faucet run for a short while multiple times each day. Create some quality bonding time with your loved ones over a long, cold drink of water by incorporating it into your morning and evening routines, for instance.

You may assist your cat have the energy to spring and pounce another day by giving her the necessities of healthy nourishment and fresh, clean drinking water.

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