Dehydration happens when your cats total body water is less than normal. This involves loss of water and electrolytes (minerals); such as sodium, chloride and potassium. Illness may cause dehydration in your cat from an inadequate fluid intake; also a fever will increase loss of water. Make sure to watch your pet closely if they are sick to monitor their water intake, if they are not intaking enough fluids you can give them an ice cube to lick as a water supply.
There are three classes of dehydration in your cat:
Mild Dehydration: up to 5 percent
Moderate Dehydration: 5 to 10 percent
Severe Dehydration: 10 or more percent
The Maximum Dehydration percent in a cat can be 15 percent, any dehydration beyond that is incompatible with life.
The following could be causes of dehydration in your cat:
Vomiting or Diarrhea
Lack of available fresh drinking water
The signs of Dehydration in your cat could be any of the following symptoms:
Loss of Appetite
Poor Skin Elasticity*
Increased Heart Rate
Poor Capillary Refill Time**
*To check your cat for poor skin elasticity grasp some skin at the base of the neck and pull it out, if it falls right back down your cat is not dehydrated, if it takes a while to fall back into place your cat has a high risk of being dehydrated.
**To check your cats capillary refill time, lift their upper lip and press your thumb flat against their gums, when you lift your thumb back off you will see a white imprint, this should fill back immediately if your cat is healthy, the longer it takes the more dehydrated your cat is.
If you suspect that your cat is dehydrated you need to take them to a Vet to make sure it is not life threatening. Your vet may ask you the following questions to get a better idea of how your cat is feeling:
What are your pets eating and drinking habits?
Has there been presence of Vomiting or Diarrhea?
Is your cat urinating more frequently?
Is there a presence of drooling?
How long have the signs been present?
To treat Dehydration in your cat, your veterinarian may give your cat fluids through IV or subcutaneously (under the skin), to quickly rehydrate your cat. Make sure your recuperating cat has plenty of fluids to drink, your vet may also advise you to give them an ice cube to lick and may also suggest pedialyte (a baby formula found in almost any store), or sports drinks which are all high in electrolytes.
In order to save your cat from dehydration you can take the following preventative measures:
Make sure your cat has plenty of fresh clean drinking water available to them; also make sure you wash their bowl to keep bacteria from growing.
If your cat has access to outdoors or lives outdoors, provide them with a cool sheltered area.
If your cat is sick, make sure to watch their water intake and for signs of dehydration.
Also if your cat has been drinking less than normal you may want to take a look in their mouth to check for foreign objects stuck in there!
Check out the following websites for more information: