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Dehydration in Cats

Thirst is a sign of dehydration in cats.

Cats, like every mammal, can get dehydrated when Fluffy is releasing more water than what is Fluffy is replenishing. Cats will lose not only water but other essential nutrients that allow their bodies to function correctly. During the hotter temperatures of the summer, dehydration in cats is more probable. 

Causes of Dehydration in Cats

Dehydration is a potentially life-threatening condition. However, knowing the causes of dehydration in cats can assist in preventing dehydration. 

Some causes of dehydration are:

  • Heatstroke
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Trauma
  • Diabetes

A vital aspect of feline dehydration prevention is understanding the signs of dehydration and tests to administer quickly to determine if dehydration is the cause.

Signs of Dehydration in Cats

Be on the lookout for the following symptoms that could mean little Fluffy does not have adequate hydration.

  • Dry and sticky gums
  • Sluggishness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Additional symptoms of feline dehydration include skin elasticity, sunken eyes, and excessive panting. Two signs of feline dehydration that are also the quickest to test for are skin elasticity and dry or sticky gums.

Test for Dehydration

To test for Fluffy’s skin elasticity, gently take a small section of skin between Fluffy’s shoulder blades, pull it upward, and then release. If Fluffy’s fur returns quickly to its original position, Fluffy should have the proper hydration. However, if the skin slowly returns to its original position, Fluffy probably needs more water.

Another easy test to perform to check Fluffy’s hydration levels is to feel Fluffy’s gums for adequate moisture. A cat’s gums should, unlike their tongue, should be very moist and slippery. Dry or tacky-feeling gums on cats are a sign of inadequate hydration and mean Fluffy needs some cool water to replenish the water they have lost.

After testing Fluffy’s skin for elasticity and gums for moisture, take Fluffy to their vet if the results are not ideal. If their vet is not available, find a local emergency vet.

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