Beating dehydration

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Dehydration is a common problem in summers. Cats need to be hydrated at all times. Here’s how to keep yours fine in summers.
A healthy cat should be sufficiently hydrated. Water replaces fluid lost through urine, feces and respiration and is essential to maintain appropriate health. It is interesting to know that 80 percent of a cat’s body weight is made up of water.
Symptoms of dehydration
Sudhersena
Dehydration occurs when the fluid level is less than normal. You can know if your cat is dehydrated by lifting the skin on the back of your cat’s neck or
between the shoulder blades. For a well-hydrated cat, the skin should be extremely elastic and should immediately bounce back. If the cat is dehydrated, the skin will take a longer time to return to normal. If you suspect that your cat is dehydrated, immediately take her to your veterinarian.
How much water is enough?
The amount of water your cat should drink depends on factors like the size of your cat, health condition, weather, food, etc. Senior cats, nursing cats, and cats suffering from kidney problems, cancer, diabetes, hyperthyroidism are especially at risk for dehydration. Cats having fever, vomiting or diarrhoea are also prone to dehydration.
During summer, your cat will drink more water to replace fluids lost due to heat. Your cat should always have access to fresh, clean water at all times. Cats being fed dry food should drink adequate amounts of water. You should encourage your cat to eat wet food as it helps in keeping her well hydrated.
Here’s how to help your kitty drink water:

  • Always keep a fresh bowl of water everyday.
  • Clean the water bowl daily to prevent bacteria from forming.
  • Keep several water bowls around the house so that your cat can have easy access.
  • If you notice your cat is drinking water more or less than normal, take her to the veterinarian immediately.
  • Summer brings in a lot of fleas, so adopt a good flea control plan.
  • Hairballs are common during summer. Grooming your cat regularly helps keep hairballs under control.

Also remember to keep your kitty indoors during these hot days. If you are feeding outdoor cats, provide them some shade.
(Sudhersena is volunteer at the Blue Cross since 1998 and an avid animal lover, pet parent of nine cats and three dogs. She is associated with a number of animal welfare campaigns and programmes.)