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Dehydration is a condition when the loss of fluids from the body exceeds fluid intake. Water makes up 80 percent of a cat’s body and is necessary for all their vital body functions. By nature, cats are not the best of drinkers and therefore liable to dehydration. Although it seems like a simple matter, dehydration can lead to dire consequences on your cat’s health.

The most common causes of dehydration in cats include:

  • Overheating due to hot weather.

  • Vomiting.

  • Diarrhea.

  • Unavailable water bowls or freshly cleaned water.

Signs that your cat may be dehydrated are:

  • Panting.

  • Fatigue.

  • Loss of appetite.

A way to test your cat’s hydration level is to gently lift the skin on the back of your cat’s neck then release it. Normally, the skin elasticity should immediately return to its original position. If, however, you notice the lifted skin does not return to its original shape and is almost tent-like, this means your cat is dehydrated. (This is similar to testing your own hydration level by squeezing the skin on the back of your hand.)

What to do:

  • It’s important to make sure your cat has readily available access to fresh water in order to maintain proper hydration, this can be done by placing multiple water bowls throughout the house (whether there’s only 1 cat or multiple felines)

  • Especially if your cat is a light drinker and mainly eats dry food (which doesn’t contain much water and can’t provide the adequate amounts of hydration)  make sure that they stay hydrated by either incorporating wet food into their diet or again, having multiple water bowls at home.

  • Some fussy cats only prefer water from certain types of bowls, and some will drink more if you flavor their water with tuna juice or chicken broth. It may take some trial and error to figure out what your cat prefers, but preventing dehydration is

worth it.

  • If your cat is ill i.e vomiting or diarrhea and unable to drink is unable to drink, visit your vet as they may need a drip to prevent serious dehydration.

Who are more liable to dehydration?

  • Cats most at risk for dehydration are those who suffer from various illnesses such as kidney disorders, cancer, and hyperthyroidism. Elderly and nursing cats may also be prone to dehydration.

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