If you have a cat, you don’t need us to tell you that they can sometimes be finicky. While this natural quirkiness gives your cat his or her distinct personality, it can make it difficult for you to know if your cat is dehydrated. Cats tend to be skilled at disguising signs of discomfort and illness, making it all the more important that you know what to look for.
Dehydration is an imbalance of water and electrolytes in the body. It doesn’t only happen to cats. It can happen to any number of living animals, including humans. Dehydration occurs when there is a reduction in water consumption or when there is an increase in fluid output.
Just like humans, your cat is at an increased risk of dehydration when the temperature heats up, as well as when his or her activity level increases. Vomiting or diarrhea also result in fluid loss. So, if you notice Kitty suffering from an upset stomach, make sure they are drinking plenty of water afterward.
Other causes for dehydration in cats include a lack of access to clean drinking water or possibly an underlying health condition. Also, be sure to ask yourself if your cat has eaten anything recently that she shouldn't have. Some human foods can be harmful to cats.
The amount of water your cat needs on a daily basis depends on the type of food they eat, as well as their environment.
The Committee on Nutrient Requirements of Dogs and Cats estimates that cats should generally drink an ounce of water for every half-ounce of dry food they eat.
Dry cat food contains anywhere from 7 percent to 12 percent water. Compare that with wet food, otherwise known as canned food, which can contain up to 80 percent water. If you feed your cat a dry food diet, it is crucial that you make sure she always has access to fresh, clean drinking water.
It is a good idea to place the water bowl in the area of the food dish, but far enough away from it that your feline won’t end up getting pieces of food in the water. And it’s best not to put the water bowl in the vicinity of the litter box. Some kitties don’t want to drink the water once anything else is floating around in the bowl. Can you blame them?
If you notice your cat not drinking from their water bowl, here are a few ways you can encourage them to do so:
Try placing a few water dishes in different locations around the house. It is possible that they do not like the placement of the water.
Check the water dishes to make sure there are no dust bunnies or food particles in them.
Try adding a couple of ice cubes and see if they prefer colder water.
If you are using a plastic water bowl, it is possible your cat doesn’t like the taste of the water in plastic. Try switching to a metal or glass dish.
Clean the dish daily and refill it with fresh water.
Remember, if you feed your cat wet food, she may not need to drink much water.
If you want to get an idea of how much your cat is drinking, keep track of how much water remains in the bowl at the end of each day. To do this, replace the water at the same time each day, and refill it to the same level.
If you notice a significant change in water intake, consult your veterinarian. If your cat does become dehydrated, your vet will most likely want to rehydrate him or her and will run tests to rule out a possible underlying condition.
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