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Symptoms of Dehydration in Cats

Never seen your cat drink enough water, and it’s now lethargic? You might be on the right path here. If you think that your cat is dehydrated, the chances are that they may be showing even more symptoms of the condition.

Aside from lethargy, other symptoms of dehydration in cats include:

  • Panting
  • Sunken eyes
  • Lack of appetite
  • Lack of energy
  • Dry and tacky gums

Finally, the most evident sign of dehydration is skin tenting.

Pinch your cat’s skin between the shoulder blades, pull it up slightly, and let go. If your cat’s skin snaps back quickly, your cat is not dehydrated. But if their skin takes time to fall back or doesn’t fall back at all, this indicates that your cat is severely dehydrated.

To exactly solve the dehydration problem and answer the questions like what are the symptoms of dehydration in cats? Signs of dehydration in cats? and how to tell if your cat is dehydrated? It’s necessary to work on the root cause of this sickness.

I recently made a list of dental water additives for cats after careful testing and evaluation. You can use these water additives for the dental hygiene of your cat.

What Causes Cat Dehydration?

Cats are not prone to dehydration. If your cat often shows signs of dehydration, you may need to take it to the doctor. But keep in mind, lack of water is not the only reason for dehydration.

Problems such as hypothyroidism, diabetes, cancer, and kidney disorders cause dehydration as well old age. But putting that aside, other causes may cause a lack of water content in the body.

 Some conditions include:

  1. Diarrhea
  2. Vomiting
  3. Diabetes
  4. Fever
  5. Trauma
  6. Heatstroke
  7. Overheating
  8. Hot weather

Even if your cat doesn’t show signs of severe dehydration due to these conditions, it helps to take pre-emptive steps anyway. Here are some things you can do if your cat is not severely dehydrated but has lost water:

Feed Them Wet Food

Water is the main ingredient in wet food. If your cat likes wet food, use it as a treat and feed them wet food throughout the day to get their energy back. You’ll find countless types of wet food.

Buy ingredients you know they’ll like, and feed them as much as they need.

Feed Them Chicken Broth

Like humans, cats benefit from chicken broth too.

Chicken broth is chockfull of proteins and essential fatty acids. It helps repair and build healthy skin, bone, muscle, and blood cells. For a cat who’s been ill, chicken broth not only serves as a delicious meal, it heals them faster too.

Use organic chicken to make homemade chicken broth or buy chicken broth from the store. You can even order chicken broth, provided that you specifically tell the supplier to give chicken broth without spices or salt.

If not, try tuna water if your cat has a taste for seafood.

Use Ice

If your cat doesn’t mind drinking water, place some ice cubes in their bowl so their water stays cool. This will encourage your cat to drink water more.

Also, if possible, place a wet microfiber cloth in the freezer and use it to cool your cat’s body temperature if your cat experiences a heatstroke or fever along with dehydration. Keeping your cat cool will allow them to feel better, so much that they will gain the strength to drink water again.

When Should You Go to the Veterinarian?

When Should You Go to the Veterinarian

Severe dehydration is not something you can treat at home. Keep in mind; dehydration can become worse if not treated properly.

Taking your cat to the veterinarian is the only way to ensure that your cat survives and thrives.

The vet will likely perform a procedure to give your cat IV fluids. But, if your cat’s condition is severe, they will recommend keeping the cat at the hospital for observation. Rehydrating a cat isn’t an easy process, and requires more than a few hours, even days.

A professional will need to nurse your cat back to health before allowing them to go home.

3 Ways to Prevent Dehydration in Cats

Cats do not intentionally dehydrate themselves. If your cat is not drinking water, it may be due to an underlying issue.

Let’s start with the more common causes:

1. Water Bowl Requirements

How you place your cat’s water bowl can indeed have an impact on their water-drinking habits.

Cats require their water bowls to be away from their food bowls due to force of habit. Cats do not drink water from the same spot where they “kill,” i.e., get their food. Instead, place their water bowl in a corner or a space with a wall behind them so they don’t have to worry about protecting their back when drinking water.

Next, use water bowls made from ceramic or stainless steel. Cats like to drink water from bowls that don’t add any taste, such as plastic. Use new bowls and keep them clean and away in a particular spot when storing.

Also, when cleaning their water bowls, use liquid soap and wash their bowls thoroughly.

Cats have a keen sense of taste and smell and don’t like to have their water smell of anything. Keep their bowls and the water clean, and switch the water every day using tap or filtered water, whichever your cat prefers.

2. Water Flavors

Cats don’t like water to taste any unnatural flavors.

However, if their water tastes of any food like chicken broth, tuna, or meat, they will like it. If your cat is resistant to drinking water, it helps create a habit of drinking water by adding ingredients to make the water more tempting.

Add a half cup of chicken broth to a half cup of water and decrease the amount as your cat becomes used to drinking water.

3. Water Source

If your cat doesn’t mind drinking from the bowl, that’s great.

But if your cat is the particular kind and only likes running water, this is a sign for you to get a water fountain.

Water fountains mimic the movement of flowing water, which to a cat, means clean water. Water fountains also filter the water regularly, so there’s no worry about it getting dirty or contaminated.

Water fountains require monthly cleanings, which you can easily do by disassembling the fountain and put it in the dishwasher. These fountains are also very inexpensive, so even placing one in each room won’t put much of a dent in your bank account.

Can i give my cat Pedialyte? This is the first question that pops into the mind of a human being while considering hydrating a cat because humans use this liquid formula to stay hydrated, but it’s not safe. As a pet parent if you know how long can a cat survive without water then you can arrange a better alternative solution.


Dehydration can be dangerous for cats if you’re not too careful.

Always be on the lookout for any signs and symptoms if your cat is picky about water. And be creative when keeping your cat hydrated. You may not know it, but your cat’s system will be thanking you!

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