Is Your Cat Drinking Enough Water?

Summer is upon us, and summer means warm weather across the country! If you're living in a place where the temperature rises above 80 degrees, your cat may be at risk of dehydration. Many cats hide symptoms well - including symptoms of dehydration. Here's a handy guide on how to figure out if your cat is drinking enough water.

Your cat gets water from two sources, just like us: their food, and their drinking water. Water is critically important in a cat's body as it helps them digest food into energy, clean waste from their system, and other important metabolic functions. Cats are known for being picky about water, so keeping your cat hydrated is especially important.

Sources of Water In Your Cat's Food

According to veterinarians, most of a cat's water actually comes from their food. This is why so many pet experts recommend that cats get wet food regularly because it is packed with moisture and helps them stay hydrated. It's stinky and gross to us, but it can really help our cats live their best lives. 

Your Cat's Drinking Water

Even with wet food, you have to provide your cat with an extra drinking source. Some cats love to drink out of faucets and water glasses - but you should also give them an actual water source, whether that's a bowl or a fountain. 

Some cats refuse to drink stationary water. This is an evolutionary adaptation -- still, water can often mean bacteria or algae growth that might make it unsafe. If your cat has their ancestral instincts, you may want to try one of the many small cat fountains available. They're easy to maintain, with monthly filter changes and daily water additions. And, your cat will love it. 

Signs of Dehydration in Your Cat

Gray cat drinking from water bowlThe signs of dehydration in a cat are similar to the signs of other illnesses. If your cat is listless, refusing to eat, or panting, she may be dehydrated. Other symptoms include sunken eyes and dry, tacky gums. 

An easy test to diagnose dehydration in your cat is called "skin tenting". Just pull up a small piece of skin behind the shoulders and release it. If it springs back into place, you're good - but if it slowly moves back into place, your cat might be dehydrated. 

When To See A Vet About Your Cat's Water Intake

Just like us, our cats may be mildly dehydrated sometimes. They don't have a fun yoga water bottle to carry around at all times. That's why we and others recommend wet food - it's an easy way to keep them hydrated. However, if your cat is exhibiting the symptoms of dehydration listed above, you should take them to your vet. Dehydration itself could be a symptom of a larger problem, so it's best to check in with your vet's office. 

Dehydration is a special concern for cats with digestive issues like diarrhea or vomiting; cats with diabetes; and cats with other health issues. So keep an eye on your kitty and be sure to keep in touch with your vet if your cat has special needs.