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Is Your Cat Dehydrated?

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Dehydration can pose a serious health risk for cats. It is essential that both your indoor and outdoor cats consume enough water. Water consumption is closely linked to diet. Before they were domesticated, cats ate prey that contained 70-80% water. They received most of their water through their food, instead of drinking it. Today, domesticated cats eat either wet food, which contains 70-80% water, or dry food, which has 7-12% water.[1] If your cat eats dry food, it will need to consume more water than a cat that eats wet food.

Also, if your cat suffers from diabetes or renal failure, you need to be particularly vigilant about water consumption. Both conditions cause increased urination and thus a bigger risk for dehydration.

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How can you tell if your kitty is dehydrated? Symptoms of dehydration can include lethargy, constipation, dry mouth, sunken eyes, increased heart rate, poor skin elasticity, and poor capillary refill time. Here are two easy tests that you can use to check if your cat is dehydrated.

Skin Elasticity Test

Gently grasp some skin at the base of your cat’s neck, and then release it. The skin should immediately spring back. If it doesn’t, your cat is dehydrated.

Capillary Test

Carefully press a finger against your cat’s gum for a few seconds. Remove your finger, and you will see a white spot. Count how many seconds it takes for the white spot to turn pink again. If it takes longer than 1-2 seconds, your cat is dehydrated.

How can you prevent your feral and/or indoor cats from getting dehydrated? Next week, we’ll post about some simple tips to keep your cat hydrated and happy. Stay tuned!

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1.Cat Hydration Facts (PetCo Community) Retrieved from https://community.petco.com/t5/Blog/Cat-Hydration-... on May 20, 2017.

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