Cats may be the world’s most popular pet, but our furry feline friends have plenty of downsides – whether it’s the vomited furballs on the carpet or the clawed and shredded furniture, cats have a lot to answer for
Recently, my cat has started drinking less water. Is that a problem?
To stay hydrated, your cat needs around-the-clock access to fresh drinking water. Keep her bowl clean and fill it regularly, especially if it's placed near her food dish, as she may drop a few food crumbs into her drinking bowl.
Cats don't need as much water as you might think. Their bodies require far less water than dogs or other animals. Cats usually drink about an ounce of water for every half-ounce of dry food they would consume. Wet food, on the other hand, provides your kitty with food and moisture at once and can help her stay hydrated.
But, if your cat has suddenly started avoiding drinking water, then look at the cause of it. In the absence of serious medical issues, start with the basics; is her water clear of food, hair, dust bunnies and other debris? Wash her bowl and replace her water at least once a day, if not more. Some cats simply don't like where their water dish is located. See if changing the placement of the bowl makes a difference. You can also keep water bowls at different places.
A variety of bowl materials, like ceramic, metal and glass, may also encourage her to taste, test and investigate. Eating wet food will help to hydrate your cat. If your cat doesn't care for canned food, you can add water to dry kibble or combine wet and dry food in the same dish. Instead of giving heavy meals on a fixed schedule, you can give smaller meals frequently during the day.
When a cat doesn't consume enough water, she is at risk of dehydration. A cat can become dehydrated by not drinking enough water, or urinating more than he/she's ingesting, or, in extreme situations, because of vomiting, or blood loss. Kidney disease, heat stroke and diabetes can all be related to dehydration in some way or the other. One easy way to identify dehydration in your cat is to check for loose skin, or 'tenting'.
Plop your cat into your lap and gently lift the skin on the back of her neck. In a hydrated kitty, the flap of skin will snap back into place. If it stays up in a fold or is slow to fall back, she likely needs more fluids. Additional symptoms to watch out for include weakness, loss of appetite, panting, drooling, elevated heart rate, weak pulse, dry or sticky gums, trembling, excessive urination and even infrequent urination.
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