Summer Safety Tips for Cats: 6 Signs Your Cat May be Dehydrated | Lola The Rescued Cat
Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Summer Safety Tips for Cats: 6 Signs Your Cat May be Dehydrated

Hello, everyone. This is Lexy checking in. Today I’m back with the second post in our series about Summer Tips Safety for Cats, and I’m going to be discussing six signs your cat may be dehydrated (and some other info on dehydration as well.) 

six signs your cat may be dehydrated

This photo doesn’t have anything to do with the post… I just thought you’d like to see me. (Was I right?) 

Disclaimer: We here at Lola The Rescued Cat are not veterinarians. Any time you think your cat needs medical attention you should contact your vet immediately and follow their instructions. This post is for informational purposes only. Okay, now that that’s out of the way, let’s dive right in. 

six signs your cat may be dehydrated

Six Signs Your Cat May be Dehydrated

1. Lethargy - Your cat has less energy than usual and is not as active. 

It's important to know your cat’s habits. If I don’t chase the red dot or Lola doesn’t try to kill “Da Bird”, Mother will keep a close eye on us.

2. Loss of Appetite - Not eating the usual amount of food or refusing meals.

Again, it’s important to know your cat. If Lola refuses breakfast or only nibbles at dinner, Mother doesn’t worry. But if I totally refuse a meal, Mother will keep a watchful eye because she knows something may be amiss. 

3. Sunken, Dry Eyes - Eyes are sunken into the sockets and are dull, not shiny.

The lack of fluid causes your cat’s eyes to look more sunken than usual. In addition, they will be very dry and, in cases of severe dehydration, their third eyelid may be visible. 

4. Constipation - Not pooping.

A cat who is dehydrated may experience constipation. Check the you see less stool than usual? You may even notice several small, very hard pieces of stool outside of the litterbox.

5. Poor skin elasticity - Also referred to as “skin tenting”.

This is the classic sign of dehydration. If 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 into place more and more slowly. If the pinch of skin stays up (the "tent"), it is a sign of severe dehydration and your cat should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

6. Slow Capillary Refill Time - Low blood flow to tissue.

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


What Should You Do if You Think Your Cat is Dehydrated? 

If you suspect that your cat is dehydrated you should seek veterinary care immediately. 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 You Avoid 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. 
  • 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.

six signs your cat may be dehydrated

I hope you found this information useful to help keep your cat healthy this summer. Stay tuned for the next post in this series where I'll be discussing how you can tell if your cat is overheated. 

What tips do you have to keep your cat hydrated? 


Would you like to comment?

  1. Great tips for summer safety. I'm an indoor kitty, so the hot summers don't bother me too much. But we try to keep our bird bath full and put a bowl of water outside for any animals who need it.

  2. Good info, hydration is sure darn important!

  3. It's definitely important to stay hydrated, especially in this hot weather!

  4. Excellent post. My cats are jealous of that nice fountain you have.XO

  5. I'm not concerned about the inside cats, but I am worried about The PO'M; he's been a bit lethargic, and not eating as well as normal. Think we'll add more water into his food, even if it looks like soup!

  6. lexy...with wavez two ewe all sew lola...theez bee grate tipz; thanx for sharin them N de mooveez all sew ~~~~~~ we gotta wunder tho bout de water per pound...if thatz de case eye gotta drink... A BUNCH... ina day... N frank lee eye wood never get outta de box { eye am cloze ta 19 poundz }
    :) ♥♥ tuna of moon ~~~~~~

  7. Thanks for sharing these important tips!

  8. I've been tented more than any cat you know. Any time I go to bed before TW I know I will be tented. I'd like to see her press my gums. That would sure make my day.

  9. This is great advice! Binga and Boodie are older, so they need to be "tented" fairly often to make sure they are hydrated enough.

  10. That was a great posty Lexy. We luv a good fountain fur drinkin' from. And mommy adds extra water to our meals. We do luv us some gravy. Big hugs

    Luv ya'

    Dezi and Raena

  11. We love your picture at the beginning, Lexy! Kind of easy to get distracted from the important information you're sharing ... but you are cute, so you know ...

  12. Great reminder, and good advice ! Purrs

  13. Great info, it's 95 here today.
    Have a wonderful Sunday...

    Noodle and crew

  14. Lexy, that is some really important information, especially in these hot summer months!


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