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Signs of dehydration in a cat

After what felt like the rainiest start to spring in history, it’s no wonder we’ve all been embracing the lovely warm weather of late, and enjoying a much-needed dose of Vitamin D. With hotter climes comes watchouts for our pets, though – namely, making sure they’re not suffering in the heat.

In this post, we’re exploring the topic of cat dehydration – the signs, the causes, and the tips to prevent it.

What is dehydration?

Put simply, dehydration is when the body doesn’t get the fluid intake it needs, and therefore cannot function properly – or at least, as well as it should. Dehydration can have serious effects on our pets’ insides, influencing everything from circulation to digestion. In serious cases, it can even lead to organ failure, so it’s something to be really wary of.

Signs of dehydration in cats

The below are all indications that something’s wrong…   

  • Dry gums and teeth – use your finger to press lightly on the gums – the colour from the pressure should change from white to pink in one or two seconds
  • Saliva that’s thick or foamy
  • Lack of energy
  • Lack of elasticity in the skin – gently pinch the excess skin in between the shoulder blades, it should snap back within one second in a healthy cat
  • Loss of interest in food
  • Panting
  • Eyes that appear sunken
  • Stools that are hard and dry

In more serious cases, your cat may experience dizziness, vomiting or even seizures.

cat drinking from water bowl

Causes of dehydration in cats

Why do cats get dehydrated?

If you own a cat and a dog, it’s likely you’ll have noticed just how little interest your cat shows in drinking water, compared to your canine. Especially if you feed your cat wet food. The fact is, our felines just don’t have the same urge to drink as their pooch counterparts, therefore they’re more at risk of encountering a problem.

What causes cat dehydration?

All of the below can cause dehydrations in cats…

  • Overheating
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Fever
  • Blood loss
  • Metabolic illnesses such as Diabetes and Kidney Disease

Top tips for preventing dehydration in your cat

Keep water clean and accessible

Cats are fussy creatures, so be sure to check their water looks appealing and it’s easy to get to. Consider the bowl also – it should be squeaky clean. Some cats prefer lower, shallower bowls that their whiskers don’t touch.

Check the placement of the water

It’s important to position your cat’s food and water bowls well away from their litter tray (if they have one). Our felines will refuse to drink from a source that’s anywhere near where they go to the toilet, for fear of cross-contamination. It’s also a good idea to place a bowl of water outdoors, if your cat spends a lot of time there, in case they don’t find another source.

Try a ‘cat tap’

Cats love drinking from a flowing water source (it’s down to their wild ancestors), so consider investing in an aptly named ‘cat tap’ or ‘cat fountain’ to encourage that H20 intake. Pets at Home do a great range – you can take a look here.

cat drinking from water fountain cat tap

Speak to your vet

As always, contact your vet if you need to. If your cat doesn’t start drinking, or is doing things like vomiting, which could prevent fluids being topped up, you should get advice as soon as possible. In severe cases, your cat may need an IV drip to get the fluid he or she needs, so it’s crucial to get help.

Got any tips for keeping your moggy hydrated in the hot weather and beyond? Share your snaps and stories with us on Instagram and Facebook.

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