As with humans, water makes up a majority of your cat’s body. This means even a small deficiency can make a big difference. Learn what health problems can develop as a result of dehydration and how to help your feline friend get all the water he needs.
Signs Your Cat Might be Dehydrated
Many house cats fail to drink the amount of water their bodies need. Since they evolved from desert-dwelling felines, it’s common for kitties to have a low thirst drive. This means they don’t drink enough water simply because they forget to. This can result in the following signs of dehydration:
- Skin “tenting” (when pinched skin slowly falls back into place instead of snapping back quickly)
- Dry, tacky gums
- Refusal to eat
- Difficulty urinating
How to Get Your Cat to Drink More Water
Proper hydration is just as important for your cat as it is for you. Since you can’t have a heart-to-heart with your furry friend, explaining why he needs to drink more, it’s important to take matters into your own hands. Here’s how to encourage your cat to drink more water, so he stays hydrated and healthy:
- Set out multiple bowls of water to ensure access even when some doors are closed.
- Experiment with various water dish styles to find out what your cat likes best.
- Make sure the cat has a separate water dish from the dog. A bowl placed on an elevated surface, such as an end table or the bathroom counter, gives the cat sole access to this water.
- If your kitty loves drinking from your cup at dinner time, leave out a few strategically placed water glasses overnight to entice him to drink.
- Put ice cubes in your cat’s water dish. He may prefer his water to be icy cold, just like you do.
- Trade out ordinary dishes for a kitty fountain to keep the water fresh and satisfy your cat’s desire to drink running water.
- Put low-sodium chicken broth or juice from canned salmon, clams, or tuna in your cat’s water to make it more appealing.
- Change out the water at least once per day, and clean the dish with soap and water once a week.
- Encourage your cat any time he wants to drink water. If this means leaving the kitchen or bathtub faucet trickling while he laps up a few gulps, so be it.
- Feed your cat wet food. If you’re worried about the effect this could have on his oral health, stick with dry food for meal times and feed him wet food as a treat. Talk about any dietary changes with your vet for the best results.
- If your cat doesn’t like wet food, try adding water or broth to his dry food. Do this with wet food as well to increase your feline’s water intake even more.
When to Visit the Vet for Dehydration in Cats
Severe dehydration could endanger your cat’s life. If you see any of these signs, you know it’s time to visit the vet:
- When testing your cat’s skin for “tenting,” the pinched skin stays in a tent shape long after you release it.
- Your cat struggles to urinate, a sign of urinary stones caused by dehydration.
- When you pick up your cat, he cries out in pain, a sign of kidney trouble or other digestive health problems possibly caused by dehydration.
Visit Germantown Vet Clinic to Treat Your Cat’s Dehydration
If you spot evidence of severe dehydration in your cat, call Germantown Vet Clinic at 240-252-7467 for advice, or visit our office in Montgomery County for immediate treatment.