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October 03, 2019

Cats are not good about drinking water.  Which as a cat owner makes it very hard to keep them hydrated.  In order to come up with the best solution for hydration, you must start with the requirements and understand what dehydration looks like in your cat.

Cats Water Intake Requirements

Cats need between 3 to 4 ounces of water for every 5 pounds of body weight per day.  They need to consume this either through drinking water or from their food. Cats get far less moisture from their food these days since so many are fed dry cat food.  Dry food only contains 6 to 10% moisture.  Which is a fraction of what they need.  Canned cat food contains between 75 to 80% water.  So, they can get half of their daily intake this way.

Dehydration can be caused by overheating, not drinking enough water or a number of health issues, diabetes, kidney disease, or hyperthyroidism.

Signs Your Cat is Dehydrated

It is hard to know exactly how much water your cat has gotten throughout the day.  Which is why knowing the signs of a dehydrated cat is so important.

  • Lethargic – If your cat seems to be sleeping all the time and no energy to greet you or play.
  • Sunken eyes – A cat whose nutrition is maintained will have bright clear eyes. A dehydrated cat will have dull eyes that may look sunken or sleepy.
  • Gums – Cats gums should be a pink color and not look dry or sticky. If they are sticky and dry, then your cat is definitely dehydrated.
  • Panting – Cats are not like dogs when it comes to panting. If your cat is panting, then they are overheated and most likely dehydrated.
  • Skin Elasticity – Testing your cat’s skin is the easiest way to determine if they are dehydrated. Known as the skin tent test, you gently pull up a bit of their skin over the shoulders.  Creating a “tent”.  The skin would go back to its normal position quickly.  If your cat is dehydrated it will move very slowly.
  • Litter Box – Monitor their litter box daily to see if they are urinating less than usual. This is a great way to keep on top of your cat’s digestive health as well.  It may mean that your cat is dehydrated or something more serious.

Solutions to the Hydration of Your Cat

All cats have their own likes and dislikes and personalities.  These are some ways to increase the likelihood that your cat will stay hydrated.

  • A water fountain may be more enticing for your cat and encourage them to drink more.
  • Clean their bowl daily to remove any odors as cats are like humans, and they will not drink out of a bowl that has a smell or smells of another cat.
  • Switching their food to canned cat food is or if you were mixing dry and canned, then decreasing the dry to less and less is best.

If your cat is severely dehydrated, then it is in their best interest to take them to the vet so they can help you treat your cat faster.  As well as check to be sure that there is no serious underlying condition.