Can Cats Become Dehydrated in Ukiah, CA?

Yes, cats can become dehydrated just like any other animal. The problem with cats being dehydrated is that this can quickly lead to kidney or liver issues. Cats do not do well if they are not drinking enough water, and being aware of their drinking behavior can prevent issues that might go unnoticed otherwise.

Cats are not always very good at explaining what they need, and you might have trouble noticing that your cat seems not to be feeling their best. In fact, many cats will hide when they are not feeling well, which can make it really hard to tell if they are dehydrated or just scared. Tracking your cat’s water intake can be important for a variety of reasons.

cat dehydration in ukiah, ca

Why Do Cats Become Dehydrated?

Cats can become dehydrated for a variety of reasons, here are a few possibilities.

Worry or Stress

When you move or add a new pet to the house, your cat might get upset and stay in some safe place where they feel secure. This can lead to issues with hydration since the water bowl is probably elsewhere in the home. Even loud noises like storms with thunder can lead to cats hiding out somewhere in the house away from food and water.

If your cat does not drink for a whole day or part of a day due to stress, they might start to get sick. When you notice that your cat is stressed, you might need to put some water where they can access it near their hiding place.

Due to Kidney Failure

Kidney failure is common in cats, and it can lead to both increased thirst and reduced thirst. Cats that are drinking all the time might also urinate really frequently, while cats that are not drinking at all might not use the litter box for a few days at a time. Your cat’s coat condition can also tell you a lot about their kidney function, and they might look thin and be lethargic.

Due to Vomiting

If you have changed to a new cat food or your cat has been struggling with hairballs or other health conditions, they might have been vomiting a lot. This can lead to dehydration faster than you might think. Cats are not good about drinking when they are nauseous, and they might go days without water if their stomach is not feeling well. Vomiting is always a sign that your cat could get dehydrated, and you need to pay attention to your cat’s water intake if they have been feeling poorly and throwing up.

Symptoms of Dehydration

In the early stages, cats might not look like they are dehydrated. They might seem a little less active than normal, but that might be all that you notice. Sunken eyes, weakness, dry mucous membranes, and lethargy are also all signs that your cat is not getting enough water. If you see reduced food intake as well, this is usually a key sign that your cat is dehydrated. A dull coat or very dry stool can also be signs that your cat is not getting enough to drink each day.

You can test for dehydration by pinching the skin between your cat’s shoulders and lifting it up gently. If the skin does not snap back into place right away, your cat is dehydrated. This is a simple test and one that you should perform right away if your cat seems not to be feeling well. Getting your cat to the veterinarian for some fluids is always a good idea if the skin tent test reveals that they are dehydrated.

How Much Water Should Cat Consume Each Day?

Cats should be drinking about 4 ounces of water per five pounds of body weight a day. This means that a ten-pound cat will need about one cup of water each day. If your cat is eating wet food, you can reduce their water intake expectation to about half of this or less. There is a lot of moisture in wet cat food, which can replace actual drinking.

It can be hard to track your cat’s water intake if they are sharing the water dish with other pets in the home. You can place a water dish near a common area like the kitchen or your office if you want to start paying attention to how often the animals in your home are drinking. You might also switch out the fountain water dish you are using with a regular bowl for a while to see if your cat is actually drinking enough during the day.

How Can I Help My Cat to Drink More?

If you have taken your cat to the vet and there is nothing serious going on, you might be tasked with making drinking more attractive to them. Try placing the water dish somewhere a bit quieter and out of the way and refilling it daily so that the water is fresh. Fountain water bowls can offer cats the kind of moving and fresh water that they prefer as well.

Make sure that your cat can get food and water without being bothered. Some cats are shy about coming out to eat and drink, and having the food and water in a busy place might worry them. Make sure that you also consider a food change to wet food if your cat is not good at drinking. This can help replace a lot of the moisture in your cat’s diet in a healthy way.

Cats Need to Drink Enough Each Day to be Healthy

A cat that is dehydrated is a cat that is likely to get sick. Make sure that you are always keeping your cat’s water bowl clean and full of fresh water and that you check their hydration with the skin tent test if need be. Keeping your cat hydrated is important and preventing health conditions of various kinds depends on your cat drinking enough each day.

If you have questions or suspect your cat is dehydrated, talk with your Mendocino Animal Hospital vet by calling (707) 462-8833 or booking an appointment online.

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About Mendocino Animal Hospital

At Mendocino Animal Hospital, we believe in fostering the human-animal bond with excellent veterinary medicine. Our full-service veterinary practice operates in Ukiah, CA with a team of skilled veterinarians and a passionate, talented support staff who make you feel like a part of the family.

As an AAHA-accredited animal hospital, every service and aspect of our practice meets AAHA’s Standards of Excellence. No matter what your pet comes in for, they’ll receive only the best in care, compassion, and service.