The MyStetho blog

Cat Dehydration: Symptoms, Causes and Treatments

Cat dehydration occurs when there is an excessive loss of fluid from your cat's body. When this happens, it's not just water loss. It is also a loss of essential minerals in their body, such as sodium, potassium and chloride.
Water is essential to your cat's health. It helps them maintain good health and replace the fluids they lose in their urine and feces. Water is also necessary for your cat's circulation, digestion and waste disposal. If dehydration is left untreated in your cat, it can lead to other serious medical issues.
What causes dehydration in cats?
Dehydration in cats is usually caused by your cat not drinking enough water or by excessive water loss. Cats can also lose moisture by sweating small amounts through their paws, but this does not usually cause drastic water loss. Dehydration could be caused by many different factors like:
A heat stroke
Overheating or hot weather
To help your cat maintain healthy hydration, make sure they can access fresh water and a clean bowl all day, every day.
How Much Water Does My Cat Need?
Your cat needs approximately 3.5 to 4.5 ounces of water per 5 pounds of body weight each day. For example, if you have a 10 pound cat, he should drink about half a bottle of water every day (between 7 and 9 ounces).
If your cat eats wet food frequently, you may notice that she is not drinking as much water. This is because the cat consumes water when it eats. Wet cat food is 80% water.
On the other hand, cats that eat mostly dry food will not consume as much water from their food. It is vital for them to stay hydrated by drinking their water bowl.
What Are the General Symptoms of Dehydration in Cats?
It's essential to keep an eye on your cat and make sure they get enough fresh water as part of their daily diet. If your cat does not get enough water, he is at risk of becoming dehydrated.
Signs of dehydration in cats include:
Dry and sticky erasers
energy loss
The refusal to eat
sunken eyes
out of breath
A good test to help you determine if your cat is dehydrated is called a "skin tent." To do this, gently grab a small patch of skin around the cat's shoulders and pull it up and let go .
If your cat is hydrated, the skin snaps back into place. If the skin falls slowly, it probably means your cat is dehydrated. If your cat's skin stays in the tent position and doesn't fall back, it may be a sign of severe dehydration. You should seek medical attention for your cat immediately.
What Should I Do If My Cat Is Dehydrated?
Dehydration in cats is often a sign of a serious underlying disease. If you think your cat is dehydrated, contact your veterinarian immediately for help.
In the meantime you can try some of these home remedies to try to rehydrate your cat:
Add a small amount of tuna juice or chicken broth to the water.
Try giving them wet food instead of dry food.
Place a few ice cubes in their bowl of water.
It is important that you get to know your cat's preferences and go with what she prefers.
For example, some cats like to drink water from a cat fountain instead of a water dish. You want to try to encourage them to drink. However, you should never force them.
Are some cats prone to dehydration?
Generally, older cats or cats that have been diagnosed with another disease are more prone to dehydration.
For example, if your cat has kidney problems, cancer, hyperthyroidism, or diabetes, it's worth talking to your veterinarian about how to maintain a healthy level of hydration for your cat.
How Is Dehydration Treated?
Your vet can perform a quick procedure where they give your cat fluids under the skin. In severe cases, your vet may hospitalize your cat and give him fluids through a needle that goes directly into the cat's vein. This method can usually rehydrate your cat within hours or days.
Your veterinarian will diagnose the underlying reason for your cat's dehydration and help restore her to health.
How Can I Prevent Dehydration In My Cat?
There are a few ways you can help prevent dehydratation in your cat. A few options include:
Use a cat water fountain with soft water to encourage them to drink.
Try giving your cat meat-flavored water or an electrolyte supplement from a trusted pet food store.
Provide several sources of clean water around your home for the cat to drink.
Clean and provide fresh water in your cat's water bowls daily.
If your cat seems reluctant to drink or seems dehydrated, it's important to take her to the vet immediately. Dehydration in cats can lead to other serious medical issues that should be addressed as soon as possible.