Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Does Your Cat Get Enough Water? (Cat Dehydration)

July is National Pet Hydration Awareness Month, which was started by the people over at Pet Safe to get the word out to pet owners everywhere to be aware of their pet’s water in-take. I'm sharing some important information for cat owners to understand why keeping your cats properly hydrated is so important. 

pet hydration month

If you’re a Harry Potter fan you’ve probably heard of the Elixir of Life (a potion made from the Philosopher’s Stone that extends the life of the drinker.)  In our universe we don’t have a Philosopher’s Stone, but we do have our own, easily accessible elixir – water. 

Water is essential for all beings because it assists in lubricating joints, transporting nutrients through the bloodstream, regulating body temperature through respiration, flushing waste materials out of the body by way of urine, and cushioning the brain and spinal cord, and the list goes on. For all of these reasons and more, it’s important we make sure our cats (and all pets!) have access to plenty of fresh, clean water. 

catit fountain|pet hydration

What is dehydration?
Dehydration means that a cat has either used or lost more fluids than her body needs, without replacing them through drinking.  It is not just water that is lost, but also electrolytes like sodium, potassium and chloride, which are important for normal body function. This decrease in fluids and electrolytes negatively affects circulation, digestion, and toxin removal from the body. If it is severe enough, it can result in organ failure and death.

Why do cats get dehydrated? 
Causes of dehydration include (but are not limited to):

  • Vomiting/Diarrhea
  • Diabetes – diabetes often causes increased urination, which may lead to dehydration
  • Feeling nauseous or lethargic to move around because of illnesses  
  • Heatstroke
  • Shock
  • Blood loss
  • Fever
  • Lack of access to fresh water 

Since cats do not have much of an urge to drink water, it is very easy for them to become dehydrated quickly, especially if they are fed dry food. Many cats may simply not like their water source. In this case, make sure their bowl is clean and the water is refreshed daily, or try a fountain. 

catit fountain| pet hydration

How do I know my cat is dehydrated?
Some of the symptoms of dehydration include: 

  • Lethargy – your cat has less energy than usual and is not as active
  • Loss of appetite – not eating the usual amount of food or refusing meals
  • Sunken, dry eyes – eyes are sunken into the sockets and are dull, not shiny
  • Dry, tacky gums – gums appear dry and feel sticky
  • Poor skin elasticity – “skin tenting” may occur
  • Slow capillary refill time – low blood flow to tissue

There are two simple tests you can do to test for the last two symptoms on the list.  The first is the skin tent test -  f you take a pinch of skin over the cat's shoulders and pull up gently, the skin should snap back into place when released. As the cat gets more dehydrated, the skin goes back in place more and more slowly. If the pinch of skin stays up (the "tent"), it is a sign of severe dehydration.

The second is simply touching your cat’s gums. In a normal cat the gums should be slick, wet and glistening. You can test for capillary refill time by pressing lightly on the gums with your finger. The pressed are will turn whitish but should return to pink in a few seconds on a well-hydrated cat. 

fountain| pet hydration

What should I do if I think my cat is dehydrated? 
If you suspect that your cat is dehydrated you should seek veterinary care. Severe dehydration can be life threatening, and it can also be a sign of an underlying medical issue. Typically cats will need fluid replenishment subcutaneously or through an IV. 

How can I prevent dehydration in my cat? 
Did you know that 80% of your cat’s body is water?  In order to maintain this ratio they need one ounce of water per one pound of body weight.  Lola weighs nine pounds, so she needs nine ounces per day. At 13 pounds, Lexy requires 13 ounces.  They love their Catit Flower Fountain, and I make sure there is at least one extra bowl of water in the kitchen that I clean and refill daily.   

pet hydration month

Here are some steps you can take to prevent dehydration: 

  • Some cats are picky about how they obtain their water. Some cats only like glass bowls, some like running water rather than standing water, some like tap water, and others prefer bottled. Know your cat’s preference. 
  • Make sure that you clean your cat's water bowl every day to discourage bacteria from growing on its surface.
  • Does your cat have whisker stress? A shallow bowl will help their whiskers from  being disturbed while they're drinking, such as this one
  • For cats that love running water, you may consider a drinking fountain. This can minimize the need for you to run a faucet constantly and have your cat sitting in your sink all the time. (Lexy loved drinking form the faucet.  Ever since we got our fountain she has foregone the faucet.)
  • Feed your cat canned foods as much as possible. They contain up to 80% moisture and can help to compensate for moisture intake.
  • If your cat goes outside, make sure she has access to a cool place in hot weather and shelter in cold weather, with plenty of clean, fresh water at all times.
  • Taking your cat to the veterinarian routinely for exams and any recommended testing such as blood work can help you catch and begin treating any underlying problems such as diabetes or kidney disease early, before they result in dehydration.

These tips, along with a watchful eye, can help avoid your cat becoming dehydrated. 

Do your cats prefer to drink from a fountain or a bowl? 

Pet MD
Vet Street

Photo Credits: 
Flickr: Pippy & Timmy, April Killingsworth
Deposit Photos: nndemidchick

This post contains affiliate links.  I earn a small commission for sale made by clicking on the links.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Cat Sitter Selfies for Sunday

Lola: Hello and Happy Sunday!  Today we present you with selfies from our cat sitters! 

Lexy: Our cat sitters are Dawn and Deb, and they always take a photo to text to Mother. Even I posed for one, which doesn't happen all that often. 

Lola: Mommy went away twice in the past few months.  One time Dawn came, and another Deb.  So we've got four selfies for you! 

Lola: This is me with Dawn.  I just love snuggles! 

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Clear The Shelters Day 2016 #ClearTheShelters

Hello and happy Saturday Caturday! I’m so happy to be spreading the word about the third annual Clear The Shelters event again this year! Lexy and I just love this day because it’s our wish for all shelters to be empty and for all animals to be with their forever families.  *sigh*… maybe someday the world will be that way. 

clear the shelters|#cleartheshelters

Until then I’ll spread the word about #ClearTheShelters! Clear the Shelters is a ground-breaking, community-driven initiative which matches deserving animals with loving, permanent homes.  The first Clear The Shelters event was launched in Texas in 2014 through a partnership between NBC in Dallas-Fort Worth and Telemundo.  Over 2,200 animals were adopted in one day through dozens of participating shelters.  How cool is that? Since that event was such a success, Clear The Shelters went nationwide last year. 

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Marcie's Rescue Story: After Being Abandoned She Found Her New Best Friend

When I was at the BlogPaws conference last month in Phoenix, I was chatting with the owners of Savage Cat Food. This company was so familiar to me, and I didn’t know why (especially since Lola and Lexy do not eat raw food.)  After thinking more about it that night I was pretty sure I was able to explain the mystery.  The next day when I went to the booth I held up my phone showing the Instagram account of Meow Marcie and said “is this your cat?” When I got a laugh I knew my puzzle was solved.  Joseph and I had started to connect on Instagram because I was interested in hearing Marcie’s rescue story, but then lost touch. I was pleased to reconnect with him at BlogPaws, and delighted when he agreed to share Marcie’s story for my Rescue Story series on my blog. (You all know how much I enjoy a good rescue story!) Read on to see how a beautiful little calico kitten changed his life, and how Marcie went from eating trash to being a food tester for high quality cat food. 

Savage Cat Food|calico cat
Marcie's pretty profile
As I reflect on life’s blessings these last few years, none of them compare to the surprise kitten I adopted who became my best friend.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Four Summer Safety Tips for Feral Cats

Hello everyone.  This is Lexy checking in with another important PSA. 

We had a heatwave here in New York last week, and Mother was concerned about our well-being during the day when she went to work.  Whenever it's over 90 degrees or very humid, she leaves the air conditioner in the bedroom on a timer.  She also leaves an extra water bowl out in addition to our fountain.  The blinds are not open all the way to avoid the blaring sun from warming up the apartment too much.  Lola and I are lucky, lucky cats because we live indoors and have a good pet parent to take care of us.  But what about the ferals that live outside and have no family? We all worry about them, so I thought it would be a good idea to give you four tips for their summer safety. 

Sunday, July 17, 2016

A Hawk Lands in Brooklyn - And a Selfie for Sunday

Many people know I live and work in New York City. I live in the borough of Queens and my office is in the borough of Brooklyn (but I work in the field in Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island.) My office is in an area that is referred to as "downtown Brooklyn", which is very populated, busy and fast moving. This past Thursday as I was walking to my office from the parking lot I saw a group of people gathered taking photos of something.  My interest was piqued and as I followed their gazes upwards I saw this: 

a hawk in brooklyn
Mr. Hawk on top of the light fixture

Friday, July 15, 2016

Blog the Change for Animals - Laura Zaccardi and the Squeedunk Gang - #BtC4A

Not long after I started blogging I came across Squeedunk, Whiskers and Warehouses and I immediately added it to my list of favorite blogs.  Last fall when I had dinner with some fellow bloggers who were in town for the Purina summit, I was very happy to find out that the woman I didn't know sitting at the end of the table was Laura Zaccardi, the person behind Squeedunk. We made a connection that night and got to spend some more time together at BlogPaws last month.  I'm happy to feature Laura, her rescue organization PAD PAWS (and of course her cats!) for my Blog the Change for Animals post. Read on for Laura's story...

#BtC4A|Blog The Change

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