Cat dehydration: symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and prevention


Dehydration in cats is a warning sign. As with humans, your cat’s life is in danger if his state of dehydration lasts too long.

So, how do you recognize feline dehydration? How to treat it so that your cat is in perfect health? We take stock in this article!

Symptoms of feline dehydration

Unlike humans, a cat naturally drinks little. He finds in his diet a sufficient water content and does not have the reflex to compensate with water when necessary.

Dehydration can occur on several occasions, such as:

  • Periods of great heat,
  • Long trips by car or plane,
  • A strong moment of stress or an intense effort,
  • An underlying disease, such as diabetes or kidney failure.

In addition, cat dehydration can be rapid if it is accompanied by:

  • From diarrhea,
  • And / or vomiting.

Symptoms of feline dehydration that should alert you are:

  • Asthenia, fatigue, lack of energy,
  • Significant loss of appetite,
  • Breathing difficulties, panting,
  • Eyes hollow, sunken,
  • Dull hairs and degraded general condition,
  • Thinness,
  • Lethargy,
  • Convulsions, etc.

Diagnosis of dehydration in cats

As soon as one or more of the symptoms mentioned above appears, you must ask yourself if your cat is not suffering from dehydration. To verify this, you can:

  • Check the condition of his gums with the capillary refill time test: by lifting your cat’s upper lip and touching his lining with your finger, you will quickly know if he has saliva, moist liquid and fluid in it. small quantity. If his appearance is pasty, he suffers from dehydration, and if his mucous membranes are completely dry, then severe dehydration is known,
  • Check the elasticity of the skin with the skin fold test: ideally, the skin fold at the top of your cat’s back (between the shoulder blades) allows you to check the elasticity of her skin. By pulling it up towards you and then releasing it, the skin should quickly fall back into place. Otherwise, if the retraction is slow, he is suffering from dehydration, unless he is naturally thin or overweight.

If the signs of dehydration are marked, if your cat is listless or refuses to feed, it is urgent to go to your vet, because his life is in danger.

Prevention of dehydration in cats

To avoid the cat’s state of dehydration, a set of good practices should be adopted:

  • Always leave a bowl of clean water at room temperature available to your cat,
  • Opt for a water fountain and a transparent glass container,
  • Leave water available during a trip and renew it to keep it fresh,
  • Keep your cat inside your home on hot days,
  • Offer tuna juice or chicken broth, which is more tempting than water,
  • Give moist foods, such as mash or jelly, which cover the water requirements, unlike dry food (kibble).

For information, a cat weighing 4 kilos must absorb 20 centiliters of water per day to be well hydrated, or 5 centiliters of water per kilo. The croquettes contain about 10% water, while the pâtés contain about 70%. Its pure water needs therefore vary depending on the type of food you feed it.

Treatment of dehydration

If the state of dehydration is advanced, then your cat’s health is of concern. An emergency consultation with your veterinarian is therefore necessary. Most often, he will keep your Grisou under observation for a day or a night at least, in order to check his recovery on the one hand, and to rule out possible diseases on the other hand.

The vet will:

  • Examine the animal to assess its state of dehydration,
  • Put your cat on a drip to hydrate it,
  • Keep him under observation until recovery,
  • Check if necessary that there is no diabetes, kidney failure or underlying pathology.

But rest assured, a cat can suffer from occasional dehydration due to a strong moment of stress or a big heat stroke, without this phenomenon being chronic. In addition, a suitable diet and treatment will be offered by your veterinarian in case of diabetes or kidney failure.