This informative article gives you hints on how to increase your cat’s water consumption, and other tips.
What Are the Dangers If a Cat Does Not Drink Enough Water?
One of the biggest dangers of your cat not consuming enough water is dehydration. Dehydration is when your cat uses or loses more fluids than they take in, which creates an imbalance of water and electrolytes in the body. When this occurs, their bodies are unable to function properly.
How Much Water Cats Should Drink?
Typically, cats need between 3.5–4.5 ounces (about ½ a cup) of water per 5 pounds of body weight per day. If you have a 10-pound cat, they should be consuming between 7–9 ounces (about 1 cup) of water. The key word here is “consume,” since cats don’t need to get their water just by drinking.
A can of wet food is about 70–80% water. So if your cat is eating wet food, which is highly recommended, they might get between 3.85–4.4 ounces of water from a single can (an average 5.5 ounce can). That’s half their daily water right there.
Wet food can be highly beneficial for many reasons. One big reason is that your cat is getting some of their needed daily water, which is particularly critical for cats with kidney disease, diabetes, or urinary tract issues. Additionally, canned food is higher in protein but lower in carbs. This is a big benefit for diabetic cats.
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Cat Dehydration: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments
Is My Cat Dehydrated?
‘Skin tenting’ is a good test to help you determine if your cat is dehydrated. To do this, gently take a small portion of your cat’s skin around their shoulders, pull it up, and then let go.
If your cat is hydrated, the skin will snap back into place quickly. If the skin falls back down slowly, your cat could be dehydrated. If your cat’s skin remains up in a tent position and does not fall back down, it can be a sign of severe dehydration. In cases like this, you should seek medical care for your cat right away.
Let’s Talk About Dry Cat Food & Dehydration
Wet cat food does a pretty good job of recreating the moisture content of whole prey, with can foods tending to come in between 70 and 80 percent moisture, and pouch or tray foods at 75 and 85. When it comes to dry foods, however, production processes leave kibbles with a measly 5 to 15 percent moisture.
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5 Signs of Dehydration in Cats
Symptoms of Dehydration
- Low energy. Even though cats are known for sleeping a lot, a dehydrated cat may appear listless. It’s crucial to pay attention to any change in your cat’s typical activity level. You know your cat – use that knowledge.
- Loss of appetite. It’s common for a cat to reject food because of feeling queasy and may even start vomiting. This can lead to even more severe dehydration.
- Panting. If your cat is panting it indicates overheating, pain or other underlying medical concern. Panting is not normal in cats.
- Pale, sticky gums/thick saliva. Normally, gums should be moist and pink, and the cat’s saliva is thin. When dehydrated, the saliva is thick and rope-like. The gums are also pale, dry, and tacky. If you gently press on the gums in a hydrated cat, a small white patch appears and then quickly disappears. If the cat is dehydrated, the pink color doesn’t quickly reappear.
- Sunken eyes. When dehydrated, a cat’s normally bright eyes appear dull and sunken into their sockets.