What are common signs indicating a cat is dehydrated?

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A cat whh has become dehydrated is at risk for several potentially lethal health concerns, including kidney failure or a coma. Recognizing the signs of dehydration in your cat could save his life. Symptoms may include:

  • Lethargy
  • Failing to respond when you call
  • Sunken eyes
  • Constipation
  • Dry mouth
  • Increased heart rate
  • Poor elasticity in the skin
  • A delay in capillary refill time

To check for poor elasticity in the skin, gently grasp the scruff of your cat’s neck and pull it up just a bit. Release it, and you should see it immediately snap back into place. Any delay in the skin’s reaction is typically indicative of dehydration. Similarly, to test for a delay in capillary refill time, gently press your finger against your cat’s gums until the gums turn white. When you release your finger from the gums, it should take no more than two seconds for the area to pink up again. If it takes any longer, you may have a dehydrated cat on your hands.

Forcing a dehydrated cat to drink a lot of water could actually result in the cat vomiting, so it‘s best to rush your dehydrated cat to the vet so that intravenous fluids can be provided. Fluid replacement is the best method of helping to restore your cat’s good health.

The sooner that you get your dehydrated cat seen by your veterinarian, the sooner you will be able to help him get rehydrated and prevent kidney failure or an even more tragic situation. With their low thirst drives, cats are more prone to dehydration than other domestic pets, especially if they are allowed to spend a lot of time outdoors during the summer months. Always make sure that your cat has plenty of clean and fresh water on hand for when they are thirsty.

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