It is easy to see who among your pets are the most flexible. With their chill and relaxed personality, you can bet it is your cats.
Despite their resiliency, there are some things they cannot do without. Water, along with food, is one of their basic needs. Without water, they can end up dehydrated.
As a cat owner, you should be aware of what causes and how to prevent cat dehydration.
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How Important Is Water For Cats
Cats have a general feeling of dislike for water. They hate bathtime and even simply getting their fur wet. However, they do need to drink like all other animals. This is a common survival requirement.
According to zoologists, your domestic pets’ lineage is traced back to the deserts of the Middle East. This makes them believe that cats can survive without water for a long time compared to other animals. They still need clean drinking water though.
Cats have been observed to be able to go without water for three to four days. This is the same capacity as that of dogs. Humans, on the other hand, can go for a week without water.
These are just estimates though. The number of days is subject to numerous factors. A more active and playful cat uses up and needs more water than a lazy one for example.
The Amount Of Water Cats Need
It is a bit tricky to give a number when it comes to the amount of water that cats require. This is because the amount is dependent on several factors. The following are just some of them.
- The amount of food your cat consumes
- Your cat’s size
- The climate condition in your location
- The dry food content in your cat’s diet
Around 80% of your cat’s body is made up of water. This is required to process the calories that your cat consumes. Basically, the higher the number of kilocalories it eats, the higher the amount of water it needs. Water burns the calories and helps in maintaining proper metabolism in your cat’s body.
A bigger cat logically needs more water than a smaller one. Cats who reside in warmer parts of the globe require more water. Just like you, they are affected by the heat. They end up sweating more because of the temperature. Their bodies need replenishment for the water they lose that way.
Pets who are into a dry food diet also need to drink more water. Even though dry food mixtures have a certain amount of moisture, it is not enough to compensate for what the cat’s body needs.
It is recommended by veterinarians that cats take two to five ounces of water after their food. An adult cat should consume the same amount of water in milliliters as the number of calories it intakes daily.
The Impacts Of Insufficient Water In The Cats’ Bodies
In the wild, cats get their water requirements fulfilled from their prey. They generally get most of what they need from their food itself. This is why cats do not always get thirsty.
You may think that your cat does not need water because it does not show any interest in it. This can a mistake. Cats who do not get the required amount of water in three days straight will be dehydrated.
Whenever the body does not get the amount of fluids it needs, an imbalance in its system occurs. This is true for animals and humans alike. This can be fatal for both species as well. Your cat’s dehydrated body goes through a period of shock. It has a hard time continuing with its basic activities in life. It becomes unable to expel its waste and regenerate its body’s cells.
A continuous state of dehydration will lead to body mass loss. Prolonged dehydration without treatment can lead to the animal’s demise.
Cat Dehydration: What Causes It
The topmost reason behind dehydration in cats is not enough water in its body. This is not only because of not drinking ample water though. It can also be due to other means of fluid loss.
Below are some of the most usual reasons behind cat dehydration:
- The absence of hygienic water to drink
- An exclusive diet of dry food coupled with zero drinking water access
- Loss of fluid in the body due to diarrhea or vomiting
- Overheating of the body due to extremely high temperature in the environment
There are also certain illnesses that make cats dislike food and water altogether. This naturally leads to dehydration. Pets who have cancer, diabetes, hyperthyroidism, and kidney diseases should be monitored closely for possible dehydration.
Older cats also have a tendency to be dehydrated. This is because they might not have any access to water. The same goes for nursing cats, who have higher requirements considering the babies they are feeding.
Cat Dehydration: What Are Its Symptoms
Generally, cats tend to be less active when they are not feeling well. In addition to that, the following are signs of cat dehydration:
- Being lethargic or constantly feeling sleepy
- Loss of the desire to eat
- Less active physically
- Recessed eyes
- Dry mouth
- Panting frequently
- Constant quick heartbeats
- Feeling depressed (Can be observed in cat’s movements)
- Rigid skin
A simple test can be done to confirm if your cat is suffering from dehydration. You can lift your cat’s skin in the neck or shoulder part gently. If the cat is healthy, the skin moves back to its normal position quickly upon release. If the cat is dehydrated, the skin snaps very slowly back into its original position.
In the case of dehydration, you should bring your cat to the veterinary clinic right away. You should avoid making your cat drink any water. Only the right kind of fluid should be given to deal with the cat’s condition. Your pet’s electrolyte level should be balanced.
Cat Dehydration: How To Treat It
The best person to deal with your cat’s dehydration is the vet. Your pet will be given a fluid, saline solution. This is concocted to help balance the fluid levels and minerals in the cat’s body. This can be administered through an IV with the needle going directly to a blood vessel. It can also be in the form of a subcutaneous fluid with the needle injected to go under the cat’s skin.
After administering the above, the cat should start to become less dehydrated. He starts to become active again. He also becomes able to consume water and wet food slowly. As a result, the fluid balance in his body eventually returns to its normal level.
Since dehydration can also be due to other underlying conditions, the vet should run tests to determine this. Diseases like diabetes as well as fatal infections such as Feline Infectious Anemia both lead to fluid loss. these consequently result in dehydration.
Ways To Keep Your Cats Hydrated
Cats are known to be picky, both with food and drinks. You should make sure that your pets are able to consume the required amount of water. They should be able to have drinking water whenever they want. You can keep a bowl of fresh and clean water ready for your pets every day.
If you have more than one feline at home, you should provide each with a separate water bowl. You do not want to drink from someone else’s glass, and nor do they. They are quite different from their canine friends.
Cats get a lot of the liquid their bodies require from their food. It is best to feed them wet food more than dry ones. If they like dry food more, then you should give them more water and make sure they drink it.
Some cats are even more nit-picky and do not like stagnant water. They prefer flowing ones, probably evoked by evolutionary connections. For these pets, you should get a water fountain. It might cost you more though. However, if it helps keep your cat hydrated, then it is worth your money.
It is true that cats can live without food for around three days. They should not go without water for a day though. In fact, they should be drinking water along with the food they eat. In cases where your pet does not drink water, you should bring him to the vet right away.