Is Your Cat Dehydrated?

June 15, 2016

Thirsty cat

We all know that most cats hate getting wet, but did you know that many cats also avoid drinking water? When cats aren't getting enough moisture in their diet or drinking enough water, they can become dehydrated. Water helps them digest food and eliminate waste. That's why keeping hydrated is so essential for feline health.

Dehydration causes many health issues for cats. A dehydrated cat may appear lethargic with poor skin elasticity. They also have an increased risk of developing urinary tract infections or forming urinary crystals, as well as becoming constipated. Senior cats, especially, require proper hydration to help protect their kidney function.

A urinalysis is a great way to measure hydration levels and detect diseases such as diabetes, kidney disease, and infections of the urinary tract. It is best used in conjunction with blood tests for kidney function. Together, the urinalysis and blood tests provide the best picture of overall health for the veterinarian. 

In addition to a cat's water intake, their temperature, activity level, and type of food can all have an effect on their overall hydration. Water intake is one way to help ensure your cat is hydrated. Some cats can be very particular about the taste and type of water they drink and even the bowl it is served in. This can result in not drinking enough. Below are some suggestions on how you can increase your cat's water intake.

  • Incorporate high moisture canned food or raw food into your cat's diet.
  • Use an automatic water fountain as many cats prefer running water.
  • Keep fresh, clean water available and change the water frequently.
  • Try using different types of water bowls.