Why Dehydration Is Dangerous for Cats

Why Dehydration Is Dangerous for Cats

Dehydration for Cats

Cats from their origin are not particularly good drinkers. Thus, they are primarily subject to dehydration. It occurs mainly when your cat loses the required water and electrolytes from its body for proper bodily function. Loss of water between five to ten percent is considered moderate, while over ten percent is estimated severe. 

Dehydration is fatal and requires immediate rectification of the condition through proper veterinary treatment. It may occur simply from inadequate access to water, but it could also be a symptom of a larger problem building in the cat's body. Let's learn more about dehydration in cats and how to recognize the signs.

The Symptoms of Dehydration in Cats

In the early stages of dehydration, the symptoms may be mild and would gradually get worse. Stabilizing the dehydration symptoms requires medical attention and proper care. Here are the signs of dehydration in cats – 

  • Lethargy 
  • Constipation
  • Dry and Tacky Gums
  • Poor Skin Elasticity 
  • Sunken Eyes
  • Frequent Urination or Polyuria
  • Increased Heart Rate

Major Causes of Dehydration in Cats

  1. Cats are highly prone to have low thirst drive as their primary instinct is to derive an adequate amount of water from eating live prey. They are also quite picky about the water conditions. Here are few known causes of dehydration in cats – 
  • Kidney Failure 
  • Heatstroke
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Fever
  • Issues that eventually decrease appetite
  • Shock
  • Prolonged vomiting or Diarrhoea
  • Blood Loss
  • Dry Food
  • Lack of access to clean water

How to Diagnose Dehydration in Cats?

Dehydration in your cat might be a result of an underlying issue. Here is how you can provide your cat immediate care –

  • If he or she can drink, then put him in a cool and quiet place with fresh cool water.
  • Encourage them to drink water using a water fountain (specially made for cats), adding juice from canned tuna or salmon in water, or using meat-flavoured water and electrolyte supplement.
  • If you are trained in giving the right fluids under the skin, then you can provide 300ml of lactated ringer's solution to your average adult cat (subcutaneously).


 Immediately take your cat to see your veterinarian.

Dehydration is fatal and requires immediate rectification of the condition through proper veterinary treatment.

Veterinary Care That Your Cat Requires to Combat Dehydration

Diagnosis of Dehydration

  • The vet uses simple parameters such as the cat's medical history, dry or tacky gums, and skin tenting to determine dehydration.
  • In certain cases, blood tests are performed to confirm dehydration.  
  • All the other necessary tests are performed to determine the underlying medical problem that would have led to dehydration.

Treatment of Dehydration

  • The cause and the severity of dehydration determine the type and quantity of the fluids intravenously provided to the cat.
  • He or she can also be hospitalized for one or two days to give fluids intravenously.
  • Besides treating dehydration, the vet also looks after the underlying problem that caused dehydration in your cat.

Preventions for Dehydration

Make sure to provide easy access to freshwater for your cat. Each cat has a different preference for drinking water as some likes to drink from running water while others prefer drinking from wider bowls. You can invest in a water fountain for cats with running water preference. For wide space preference, you can use shallow bowls that do not rub their whiskers.

While dehydration problem might occur simply from lack of adequate water, it might also be a symptom of a larger underlying problem in their body. These causes, if not identified and treated, can take up the life of your pet. Thus, dehydration in cats cannot be overlooked.

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