It may be difficult to tell on a day-to-day basis if your cat is drinking enough water until dehydration sets in. If your cat is not drinking water it is most likely being caused by a serious underlying health issue and should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
In this post we are going to cover dehydration in cats, the symptoms and some preventive measures to keep a healthy cat drinking water.
What is Dehydration?
According to WebMD, dehydration is defined as an imbalance of water and electrolytes (or minerals) in an animal or person’s body.
The cat’s body is made up of 80% water, which is responsible for keeping it’s circulatory system, cell processes,
digestion and waste elimination in a healthy state. Dehydration sets in when your cat’s normal levels of water drops below the 80% mark.
What Causes Dehydration in Cats?
There are a number of reasons why your cat may become dehydrated. These include;
- Increased urination
- Excessive heat/perspiration
If your cat has experienced any of these symptoms, it could become dehydrated very quickly.
What Are the Symptoms of Dehydration in Cats
If you’re concerned about dehydration in your cat, check for these symptoms;
- Loss of appetite
- Sunken eyes
- Dry mouth
- Decreased skin elasticity
- Increased heart rate
How Much Water Does My Cat Need?
A general rule to judging your cat’s water intake is an adult feline should be drinking the same amount of water in milliliters as the number of kilocalories consumed each day.
If your cat is on a dry-only kibble diet it will need more water to process the food through its digestive tract – most dry kibbles only offer from 7% to 12% water. Wet food, on-the-other paw, usually contains around of 80% moisture so your cat will be getting more water intake by simply eating a quality wet cat food.
What Cats Are More Likely to Dehydrate?
Any cat can suffer from dehydration if they’ve gone through any of the above circumstances. However, senior cats, those that suffer from diabetes, kidney disease, cancer or hyperthyroidism and nursing females are more prone to becoming dehydrated.
How Can I Prevent Dehydration in My Cat?
Cats should have fresh clean water available to them at all times. Some cats can get very picky about their water bowls, so daily changing of the water and cleaning of the bowl should be maintained.
If you notice your cat is pawing at the water in the dish, it may be because he can’t judge the level it’s at. Cat’s have great peripheral vision but lack somewhat on the straight forward. If this describes your feline, try a water fountain that continues to circulate the water. Sometimes the movement of the water will be all he needs. Plus, most of these units come with filters to take out the “chemical junk” that can be found in most tap water.
Did your cat recently have diarrhea or vomiting? It may be difficult to get Kitty back to the bowls, so try an ice cube to encourage her to lap up the moisture, then small amounts of water at regular intervals during the day.
Travelling with a cat is generally stressful on your feline and could lead to motion sickness (vomiting, legarthy etc.) Even if this occurs, make sure your cat has access to water, especially after the trip has been completed.
A Cat Not Drinking Water Can Be Serious
If your cat is taking in less water or has stopped drinking completely, be sure to call your veterinarian. Catching dehydration in it’s beginning stages could mean the difference between the life and the demise of your feline friend.