Dehydration in cats: causes, symptoms and what to do

Dehydration in cats: Causes, Symptoms and what to do

Dehydration in cats

When a cat is losing liquids rapidly, we say he is dehydrated. Dehydration in cats happens when there is an imbalance of water and electrolytes in the body. This can cause serious complications. Water is a vital fluid in cats which need it for their proper bodily functions.

Considering that water represents 80% of the cat’s body weight, when it becomes scarce, all his biological processes, including blood circulation, get compromised.

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Causes of dehydration in cats

Basically, a poor water intake or excessive loss of water is a cause of dehydration. Conditions that can lead to dehydration include vomiting in cats, trauma, fever, diarrhea, diabetes, heatstroke, and others.

Whenever a cat has too much physical activity especially in a hot weather, he can easily suffer dehydration. As a responsible owner, you should always make sure that your cat has access to fresh water to avoid dehydration.

Symptoms of dehydration in cats

Skin tenting is the most common symptom of dehydration. If you pinch the cat and the skin goes back to normal immediately, this is a perfectly healthy cat. In a dehydrated cat, the skin will go back in place more slowly.

If the skin stays up forming a tent, then this cat is suffering from severe dehydration. The following are the general symptoms of dehydration in cats:

  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dry mouth
  • Sunken eyes
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Excessive panting
  • Depression


Dehydration may be an indication of an underlying condition. If you notice that your cat is dehydrated and have noticed some of the symptoms described above, take your feline friend to the veterinarian immediately. The veterinarian will administer intravenous fluids and run other tests if necessary. These tests are necessary to confirm what is the underlying condition causing the dehydration.

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