Did you know that July is Pet Dehydration month? Since it is, I thought this the purrfect time to open a discussion about this highly dangerous condition commonly occurring in our kitties. Cats who don’t get a sufficient daily amount of water can quickly develop this life-threatening condition.
This disorder develops when an imbalance of water and electrolytes (minerals such as potassium, chloride and sodium), occurs in the cat’s body. If cats don’t receive enough fluid, they become dehydrated and are at a great risk of developing serious medical issues.
To both maintain robust health and to replace those fluids that are routinely lost through respiration, feces, and urine, cats must have the appropriate amount of daily fluid intake. Getting enough water is essential to felines in order to keep them in top-notch physical condition.
Additionally, since the cat’s body is made up of around 80 percent water, when the water ratio drops 5 percent below normal, the cat will begin to exhibit signs of dehydration. This life giving substance is crucial to all of the cat’s biological processes; which includes digestion and the removal of waste products. When cats start showing symptoms of dehydration, immediate veterinary attention is critical. Failure to provide immediate veterinary intervention can result in the cat’s death.
There are many causes for feline dehydration: vomiting and/or diarrhea, heatstroke, an illness causing the cat to stop eating, excessive urination caused by medical conditions such as renal failure and diabetes, lacking clean, fresh water, blood loss, shock or fever.
There are three classes of dehydration which ascertains the severity of the condition: 1. Mild dehydration – up to 5%, moderate dehydration – between 5 and 10% and severe dehydration – 10% or more.
Symptoms of dehydration include poor skin elasticity, lethargy, increased heart rate, sunken eyes, dry, sticky gums, insufficient capillary refill time and constipation. The colon resorbs fluids. If the cat is dehydrated, the body will withdraw water from the stool in an attempt to conserve water which causes constipation.
It’s relatively easy to determine whether your kitty is dehydrated. Check your cat’s skin elasticity by grasping some skin at the scruff of the neck and gently pull it up. If the skin snaps back immediately the cat is not dehydrated. If the skin retracts slowly, your cat may be dehydrated.
Another way you can tell if your cat is dehydrated is by gently opening his/her mouth. Rub your index finger over the gums. If they gums feel “sticky” this may indicate dehydration. You can also check your cat’s blood circulation for dehydration, shock or heart failure. Lift up your cat’s upper lip and press the gum with the flat of your finger then remove your finger. You will see a white mark on the gum on the spot your finger was placed. Time how long it takes for the color to return to pink. In a cat health cat the pink color will return in 1-2 seconds.
If you suspect your cat is dehydrated contact your veterinarian right away. Since there are many reasons that cats get dehydrated, your veterinarian will perform the necessary tests to correctly diagnose and treat the underlying cause for your kitty’s condition.
Keep a careful watch on your cat’s fluid daily intake and output. In order to help keep your cat hydrated, a moisture-laden diet is essential . Since canned cat food contains approximately 78% water, versus dry cat food which only contains 10% water, it makes good sense to feed a high quality canned or a raw diet.
Just like the cat in the above photo, many cats who will go to extremes for a drink of fresh running water. There are some excellent kitty fountains that are extremely attractive to kitties. Although some cats are initially reticent to use fountains with noisy motors. We are now using the Glacier Pont Fountain, which is extremely quiet. It sounds a little like a very quiet babbling brook.
Watch the video uploaded to YouTube by Barry Farris demonstrating the Glacier Point Fountain.
What do you do to keep your cats from becoming dehydrated? Tell us in a comment.
Source: Cat World