If you’re looking to learn how to hydrate a cat with a syringe, you mostly have a dehydrated cat on your hands who will not drink from their bowl.
As a cat parent, hydration and water intake is always a significant issue. Your cat hates water and doesn’t like drinking it, bathing in it, or touching it. As a result, they now have some severe thirst issues that are leading to health problems.
Not to worry.
While your cat’s condition may be troublesome, it won’t stay that way longer, not if you use the right techniques. Here’s what you need to do to hydrate your cat with a syringe safely.
Saving a dehydrated kitten is easy when you know what to do and how to do it. Syringe feed water comes in the last and it’s a more effective as well as a life-saving method.
How to Give a Cat Water with a Syringe
Feeding a kitten is a bit easier than feeding a cat.
Thanks to their smaller stature, it’s not that difficult to hold them and take the syringe into their mouth. But if you have an adult cat, this is a two-person job.
Cats are far more squeamish. So, to start with, have the other person wrap the cat in their favorite blanket and pet them so they become comfortable. Once the cat has settled down, bring the water in a cup along with the syringe.
The water should be at room temperature, and the syringe should be washed and sanitized. Begin by filling the syringe with the least amount of water you can. Your partner should hold the cat while you make it drink water.
Making Your Cat Drink Water
Your cat’s head should be at eye level, looking forward. Don’t tip their head back or hold them tightly. Doing so and forcing water into their mouth could take the water down their breathing tract and into their lungs.
Instead, hold your cat’s jaw gently, and using your finger, pry their mouth open by softly digging your fingertip into the side of their mouth. If your cat is stubborn, it won’t likely open its mouth so quickly. If they keep their jaw clamped shut, take the syringe and gently squeeze it in the side of their mouth, in the area between the inside of their cheek and their teeth.
Then press the syringe, and introduce the water slowly into the cat’s mouth. Doing so gradually will allow your cat to gulp the water down. Too much, and your cat will spit it out or try to escape from your grasp.
While doing so, you’ll want to speak in a loving, gentle way with your cat so they don’t feel threatened or scared. If your cat stays put while you give them water, though, then take advantage of the chance and give them more water.
Once they’ve had enough water, your cat will either move their mouth away or protest by squirming or meowing.
You’ll need to follow this process consistently for several days for them to regain their hydration levels. It will be difficult at times, but being a cat parent, you know you’ll be doing the right thing.
We recommend you invest in a quiet cat water fountain that can provide your cat uninterrupted water supply and keep your pet hydrated all the time.
How Much Water Should Cats Drink?
According to the experts at Vetwest Animal Hospitals in Australia, the amount of water a cat drinks is determined by its weight and diet.
On average, an adult cat should drink about 60cc per kg each day to stay hydrated. So, judging by their overall weight, if you have a one-year-old adult cat who weighs around 4kg, they should drink 240cc of water a day. That’s about one full cup.
How Much Water Can You Syringe Feed a Cat?
Keep in mind, if you’re syringe-feeding a cat, they may either be sick or too weak to drink water themselves. If that’s the case, you’ll need to take this process slowly, and give your cat water gradually.
According to their weight, we recommend giving your cat at least 2–4 cc per each pound of their body weight, per hour.
Improving Your Cat’s Water Intake
Your cat’s water intake does not depend on them drinking from their water bowl. There are several tricks you can employ to maintain their water intake, such as:
Give Them Fresh Water Daily
You wouldn’t drink dirty water that’s laced with dander or dust. Why should your cat settle for that, then?
We all know that cats are instinctively clean creatures. Switch their water once or twice every day and make sure to wash their bowl regularly. And the area where you put their bowls around the house.
Give Them Wet Food
Wet food is an excellent way through which you can give your cats water without them noticing. Cats love tuna, fish, eggs, and other proteins. Find high-quality wet food that offers healthy carbs and nutrients so your cat stays happy and satisfied.
Use Water Fountains
Chalk it as a habit carried down through their ancestors.
Cats like flowing water since it’s fresher and danger-free, not something you may expect from standing water, i.e., a bowl. A water fountain will circulate the water, keeping it fresher for longer. And fresh water, which tastes better to cats, will entice yours to drink even more.
Use Flavor Ice Cubes
Chicken broth, beef broth, or fish broth will work perfectly for this. Boil the broth properly and sieve it. Once you have the fresh broth, cool it down, section it into ice cube trays, and freeze them. Adding an ice cube into their water every day will flavor the water, making it tastier for your picky cat.
Taking Care of Your Cat
If your cat has stopped drinking water entirely, that’s a sign that you should take them to the vet immediately.
Cats typically keep up with their water intake, one way or the other. But if days go by without drinking, this may mean that your cat is feeling sick.
Several diseases and illnesses cause an aversion to water, such as kidney disease, endocrine diseases, and cancer. So, don’t take this situation lightly.
Keep an eye on your cat’s hydration and diet, and never hesitate to get a professional opinion if you feel that something is amiss with your cat’s health. It’s best to be cautious now than to be sorry later.
Our resource, “cat drinking a lot of water and meowing” helps you understand why your cat intakes plenty of water but still looking uncomfortable.