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Signs of Dehydration in Cats & How to Help

Your cat may be the type that gets what they want, as soon as they want it. However, they can still become dehydrated if their water dish is neglected. Dehydration in cats could lead to more serious health problems such as organ failure and, in extreme cases, even death. Identifying dehydration in your feline friend can be difficult, but understanding the warning signs early on can make all the difference for their health and safety.

Causes of Dehydration in Cats

Dehydration in cats can come from a variety of different causes. The most common are:

  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Exposure to heat/heat strokes
  • Lack of fluid intake
  • Excessive drooling
  • Large wounds or burns
  • Constipation
  • Increased urination

How to Tell If A Cat Is Dehydrated

Identifying the signs of dehydration is an easy first step to help your cat recover. The most common signs of dehydration in cats are:

  • Dry gums
  • Decreased skin elasticity
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sunken eyes
  • Less urine production
  • Panting
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Thick saliva
  • Lack of luster in coat2

How to Rehydrate A Cat

Rehydrating your cat sometimes can be as simple as just giving them water, but other times this isn’t enough for your kitty. Thankfully, there are several different creative ways to make sure your cat gets the hydration they need.

An easy and simple way to keep your cat hydrated and healthy is to increase the amount of canned food they eat. A diet of dry food alone can lead to dehydration, so it’s important to introduce or increase the amount of wet canned cat food to keep your cat happy and hydrated.

Another simple way of making sure your cat is getting the appropriate amount of water is to provide fresh and clean water frequently. This means more than just topping off their water dish. Rather, it means cleaning out their water dish before refilling it with fresh water. Purchasing a pet water fountain can make this much easier. Cats are fascinated by flowing water, so a fountain will not only keep them hydrated but also pique their interest. Not to mention, most pet water fountains contain water filters to provide the cleanest water possible for your cat.

If you have a cat, you’re probably very aware that they love sharing your water glass. Try placing water glasses throughout your home in interesting places throughout your home, like the top of a shelf. Cats are curious creatures, so this will surely rouse their curiosity while prompting them to explore your home.

If dehydration is a repeat problem for your pet, you can also try to add a small amount of vegetable or chicken broth in their food. Not only will this enhance their water with an interesting flavor, but it will also supplement their diet with more nutrients. In warmer weather, you can add broth ice cubes to your cat’s water to keep them from overheating.

Cat dehydration can be a scary thing to deal with as a pet owner. These tips and tricks will help your cat overcome dehydration and get back to living a healthier life.

SOURCES:

  1. Carr, Jason. “7 Creative Ways to Encourage Your Cat to Drink More Water.” Pet Health Network.
  2. Farricelli, Adrienne J. “What to Do If Your Cat Is Dehydrated.” PetHelpful, 8 Feb. 2016.
 
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