Healthy animals require a great deal of water in their bodies at all times. Similar to humans, water makes up 60-70% of a cat’s body weight. This water keeps their tissues moist and transports essential nutrients throughout the body. Minerals like potassium and sodium transport electrical impulses throughout the body and the loss of these electrolytes can cause serious problems. Dehydration occurs when the cat expends more water than it takes in.

Cats can become dehydrated for many reasons including illness, fever, infection, vomiting, diarrhea, diabetes, and kidney problems. You can tell if your cat is dehydrated by doing the ‘pinch’ test. Take a bit of skin on the cats back and pinch it, let go and see how long it takes for the skin to retract back to its normal spot. The skin should be extremely elastic and immediately bounce back, if it takes more than a second or two your cat is probably dehydrated.

Symptoms to look for:

  • Dry nose
  • Dry mouth or eyes
  • ‘Pinch’ test
  • Severe thirst
  • Lethargy


If your cat is dehydrated take him/her to the vet to determine the cause of the dehydration. If the dehydration is not serious it may be able to be treated by simply giving the cat more water. If the dehydration is caused by a pre-existing condition or illness your vet can determine that and direct you as to how to take care of the condition. Always make sure your cat drinks plenty of fluids and always have a full bowl of clean, fresh water available to your cat.

In more serious situations your cat may need to be given fluids subcutaneously or intravenously.

Precautionary measures:

Make sure your cat drinks plenty of water. Cats, as we all know, can be quite finicky so keep his/her water bowl clean and full. Many cats dislike the taste of plastic so try to keep their food and water in porcelain or glass bowls. Keep your home at a ‘normal’ temperature and make sure your cat is in good general health.