Cat dehydration can be hard to spot and dangerous. So how do you know if your cat is dehydrated?
Let’s first talk about what dehydration really means. Dehydration occurs when your cat isn’t getting enough water or is losing fluids for some reason. This can lead to an imbalance in electrolytes. You may think your cat can’t be dehydrated if you have a readily available water source out for him or her, but that’s not true. A dehydrated cat won’t necessarily appear thirsty or seek out water. In fact, most cats don’t feel the symptoms of dehydration until the problem becomes serious.
As an owner, you can pay attention to your cat’s water intake. If you either notice a decrease in water intake or if your cat has recently suffered from vomiting, diarrhea, drooling or heatstroke, look for dehydration symptoms or take your cat to the vet for tests immediately. Stress and some illnesses can also play a role in cat dehydration.
How to Test for Cat Dehydration
- Gently pull up on the skin between your cat’s shoulder blades and see how long it takes to return to normal. In a well-hydrated cat, the skin should return to normal quickly.
- Feel your cat’s gums. They should feel wet. If they feel sticky, your cat is probably dehydrated.
- Check to see if your cat has sunken eyes.
- Feel your cat’s coat and skin. Is it dry or flaky? If so, your pet may be dehydrated.
Ways to Prevent Dehydration
- Be sure fresh water is always available. It may help to have multiple water bowls out around the house and to make sure the bowls aren’t located near scary objects, such as washing machines or vacuum cleaners.
- Consider getting a fountain for your cat. Cats prefer running water, and there are a variety of products available that provide your pet with a moving stream of water.
- Consider using wet food instead of dry. Cats generally don’t drink enough on their own and can get much of their daily water from wet food.
Cat dehydration generally requires a visit to the vet to determine the severity and to devise a treatment plan. With dehydration, time is of the essence, so be sure to get a possibly dehydrated cat medical care as soon as possible.