Your cat is having a bad day

CATS AND DEHYDRATION

Cats have evolved to not drink much and are prone to dehydration. Dehydration means that your cat's body is losing too much water and, with it, vital electrolytes. It seems easy to treat, but dehydration can develop into serious health problems.

Recognizing signs of dehydration is therefore one of the most important skills a cat owner must have. Symptoms of dehydration include listlessness, loss of appetite, difficult breathing, sunken eyes, and dry, sticky gums.

A good test for dehydration is skin pulling. To do this, take the skin in the shoulder area between two fingers and gently pull on it. If the cat is adequately hydrated, the skin should return to the starting position as soon as it is released. A dehydrated cat will take longer to return to the starting position. If the skin remains stretched like a tent, the cat is severely dehydrated and must be treated by a veterinarian immediately.

However, in certain conditions, symptoms may not be easy to spot, especially if the cat is overweight or underweight. Therefore, if in doubt, have the cat examined by your veterinarian, not least because dehydration often has a deeper cause.

Pay attention to hydration


A cat who is vomiting or diarrhea has lost fluids and may become dehydrated. If she is able to drink, carefully carry the cat to a cool place and offer her fresh water. If she is unable to drink, see the veterinarian as the cat may need an IV to avoid serious dehydration.

Even when your cat is in top shape, he or she remains prone to dehydration. Always make sure that there is enough fresh water available and that your bowls are cleaned daily. If possible, set up several vessels with water in your rooms.

Some cats have particularly sensitive whiskers, so try wider bowls or a cat fountain. Many cats prefer running water to water in their bowls. If you are reluctant to drink, a cat fountain may not be a bad idea.

If your cat drinks little and feeds mainly on dry food, which is low in water and cannot contribute to the animal's fluid balance, take special care to avoid dehydration, especially during hot spells when the body loses a lot of moisture. Make sure there is always enough fresh water available. If your cat does not seem to be drinking enough, adding meat juice to the water can help.