What causes dehydration in cats?

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Dehydration in cats is a medical emergency, caused by certain illnesses (especially vomiting and diarrhea) and exposure to extreme heat.

Here are some ways to make sure your feline stays properly hydrated.

• Give her a combination of wet and dry food; don’t rely only on dry cat kibble to feed and nourish your cat. Dry cat food only has seven to 12 percent water. Canned cat food has 80 percent water and will help in the prevention of dehydration in your cat.
• If yours is an outdoor cat, monitor her for signs of dehydration, especially in the hot, humid months.
• True, cats are descended from desert animals, and maybe that’s why they aren’t thirst-driven, but they still need water. Provide fresh, clean water for your cat and change the water bowl every day. Cats sometimes like to play with water, and some will prefer to drink out of a dripping fountain or from a cat watering fountain; since some watering fountains constantly aerate the water, it stays fresh and cold. You can also drop an ice cube in the water to create that fascinating ripple effect!
• Check the litter box to note the amount of urine your cat is putting out every day; this will help you keep an eye on your cat’s water intake.
Cats suffering from dehydration exhibit a specific set of symptoms including sunken eyes, lethargy, loss of appetite and panting. One method to determine dehydration is to lift the skin on the cat and see how long it takes to return to normal. This should occur immediately in a normally hydrated cat. If the skin does not return immediately, there is a problem. However, with overweight cats, this may occur quickly even in the case of dehydration. Blood tests will give a good idea of the degree of dehydration and will determine if the kidneys are affected, a potential result of dehydration.
If you see any of these signs or symptoms in your cat, take her to a veterinarian immediately. Dehydration can be the symptom of some serious problems, which may be able to be resolved if found early.

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