Is Your Cat Dehydrated? How can you tell? Learn some simple tips on checking your cat because cat dehydration is serious and deadly!
By Claude West (Cat Man)
After reading the newspaper about several dogs, a cat, and even a rabbit were found inside a car at a mall shopping center. This made perfect sense for me to re-post one of my best blogs concerning pets and dehydration.
What is dehydration and why is cat dehydration is so serious and deadly?
Dehydration in any animal is serious but with cats it is even more concern because cats
are not big drinkers and generally cannot restore it’s water balance. Cats in the wild depend on majority of their fluid intake from prey and just are not instinctively big drinkers. Domesticated cats tend to have the same instinct and behavior. Because of this, they are more prone to serious dehydration than other animals.
Why cat dehydration is so deadly:
The cat often does not show that there is a problem until it is very serious. Cats may lose ten percent or more of their internal fluids before the symptoms become obvious. There are cases were the fluid loss is more and unrecoverable because the vital organs have shut down.
There are many reasons why your cat can become dehydrated. Some due to stress such as heat exposure, moving or riding in a vehicle and another is the food we feed them.
Type of food can lead to cat dehydration:
Dry kibble is usually twelve percent or less in moisture and canned cat food is around eighty percent. Therefore, it is obvious that a cat fed only kibble requires a higher water intake. You will find that cats who are on a strictly dry food diet are actually dehydrated.
Other reasons may be due to food poisoning or disease causing excessive vomiting and diarrhea. Then there are the classical clinical reasons like kidney failure, diabetes, cancer, and hyperthyroid to mention a few.
Cat dehydration is so serious that it is deadly.
Not paying attention to some of the general symptoms can lead to death of your cat. Here is a list of the more common symptoms a cat will demonstrate when severely dehydrated:
- Exhaustion or lethargic more than normal
- Eyes appear to be sunken in
- Thick sticky saliva
- Loss of appetite
- Dry Mouth
- Elevated heart rate
- Loss of skin elasticity
- Excessive vomiting and or diarrhea
Here are two simple tests you can perform at home to see if your cat may be dehydrated.
First, check for skin elasticity by grasping your cat by the fur on the back of its neck above the shoulders and gently pull it. If the skin snaps back instantly, then your cat is not dehydrated but if the skin takes several seconds or more to flatten down to the neck then there is a problem.
The second test is to press your fingernail into the cat’s gums by lifting the upper lip. There should be a white spot where the nail has depressed into the gum and count the seconds before the gums return to normal color. A hydrated cat should take only a second or two to return the color.
If your cat has the signs and symptoms of dehydration, you should go to your veterinarian so they can give the cat water and electrolytes with an IV bag. Forcing water down its throat is not a good idea. We should always make sure that plenty of fresh water is available daily in a clean bowl.
Clinical disease may cause cat dehydration
Taking your cat to the veterinarian to determine what caused the problem is the proper thing to do. Early treatment on the diseases will extend your cat’s lifespan. Also, pay attention to diet as mentioned earlier the dry cat food cat be the cause of the problem and long term feeding of kibble causes stress to the kidneys and liver.
Older cats, kittens, and cats with clinical ailments are more prone to dehydration. You should monitor their intake of water and output of urine daily. Last and not least is never leave your cat, dog, or any animal in your car. A vehicle can exceed 140 degrees in less than 10 minutes on a warm day.
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