Said Doctor Hanen Abdel Rahman Typically, cats need between 3.5–4.5 ounces of water per 5 pounds of body weight per day. If you have a 10-pound cat, they should be consuming between 7–9 ounces of water, or about half an average bottle of water Or you will get a Dehydration cat.
Signs of dehydration in cats
It can be difficult to tell if your cat is already dehydrated by drinking it. To find out for sure, check out these signs:
Sticky Gums: Dry, tacky gums can be a sign of dehydration. If a cat’s gums are moist and not “tacky” (sticky), then they’re more likely to be well hydrated.
Flabby skin: If you gently “tuck” (pull) a little bit of your cat’s skin over their shoulders, it should quickly return to normal as soon as you release it. If your cat is dehydrated, their skin will slide back more slowly. The “skin tent test” can be one of the best ways to check for dehydration at home. However, it isn’t perfect, as your cat’s “skin tent time” is greatly affected by their level of fat and muscle under the skin in the area where you performed the test, as well as the overall health of their skin.
Elevated Heart Rate: Take a pet first aid course, or at your next vet visit ask your vet or clinic technician to show you how to check and measure your cat’s heart and/or pulse rate so you know whether it is higher or lower than normal.
Panting: Cats don’t often pant, but they might when overheated, which may go along with a case of dehydration.
Less Urination: Here’s yet another reason why you should scoop your cat’s litter boxes daily: So you can check for changes in urination (and defecation). Also remember that a cat that isn’t peeing might not be able to, which can be the sign of a fatal urethral obstruction.
Depression or Lethargy: Check whether your cat seems especially sleepy or lazy. Are they less likely to greet you when you come home? Are they less playful than usual? Pay attention to these changes in behavior.
Loss of Appetite: When a cat won’t eat, it is often an immediate signal that something is wrong, even if it’s not dehydration. If your cat refuses to eat for more than 24 hours, it’s time to go to the vet.
Vomiting or diarrhea: Though not signs of dehydration itself, a cat that is vomiting or that has diarrhea will quickly become dehydrated.
Sunken Eyes: A dehydrated cat might appear sullen or drowsy, with sunken eyes or eyes that look somewhat “dull.”
Tips for Drinking More
Because water is crucial to a cat’s well-being, including preventing severe illnesses such as feline urological syndrome, it may take some extra effort to get your pet to drink enough. Consider the possible changes that can be made with the bowl, the food, and the water.
You know that mug in your cupboard that you never use? Cats, too, can be particular about this. Some cats may dislike plastic, so trying ceramic or stainless steel may make a difference. Place multiple bowls around the house for more access and to determine if your cat has a favorite bowl based on substance or location.
Along with the material, the depth of the bowl may make a difference. If the tall, deep bowl stays full, try a wider, shallow one.
Consider a fountain bowl. Some cats enjoy the mental stimulation that comes from this interactive device. Before tossing all the bowls, make sure you see your cat drink from the fountain.
It may seem counterintuitive but try keeping water bowls away from your cat’s food. The smell of the food near the water can deter some cats from drinking. Also, some cats don’t like food particles in their water bowl. Picky? Maybe, but you probably have that preference in common with your cat, too.
Treating dehydration in cats
If you think your cat is dehydrated, encourage her to take more water (see tips and tricks below). If the dehydration is mild and the kidneys, intestines, and other organs function normally, then the extra water they eat may be “oral” enough to help correct the problem. However, if dehydration is more advanced, or if they have a disease or dysfunction in one or more of the body’s systems, then it is time to visit the vet. Your veterinarian can determine how dry your cat is and help you reach its bottom.
They can also give your cat “fluids” – a balanced electrolyte solution. Dehydration is not only related to an imbalance of water, as there are also electrolyte imbalances as well. Fluids can be given either under the skin (under the skin of the cat) or intravenously (directly into the cat’s vein), depending on how dry and sick the cat is.
Because dry food typically contains 7 percent to 12 percent water while wet food boasts up to 80 percent, one of the easiest ways to boost water intake is to feed your cat wet food. Simply adding water to dry food is not a recommended alternative. That can make the food soggy, or even spoiled.
Give your cat fresh water daily. You may find that she prefers bottled or filtered water. This may sound a little pretentious, even for cats, but if your tap water has chlorine or excessive minerals, cats may find the smell or taste unpleasant.
Consider adding ice cubes or chips. Your cat may enjoy the different temperature and texture that comes from adding those frozen water bits to the bowl.
Finally, even though the bowl contains plain water, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t get dirty. Bacteria can form, so the bowl should always be thoroughly cleaned and rinsed each day.
There’s a sweet spot where you know your cat is getting enough water. Any sudden increase, or decrease, in water consumption, warrants a trip to the vet. Aside from that, while it makes take some extra effort – and bowls – to keep kitty hydrated, it’s well worth it knowing you’re taking the best care of your furry family.