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Help! My cat won't drink water!

We all know that staying hydrated is essential to our good health, and the same is true for our feline friends. So what should you do if your cat won't drink water? Our Cordova vets share reasons why your cat may not be drinking and what you can do.

Why won't my cat drink water?

All animals need to stay to drink water in order to stay hydrated and healthy, and cats are no exception. Most animals will drink as soon as they begin to feel thirsty, and different animals require different amounts of water to stay hydrated. So it is possible that your cat is getting enough water, even if they don't appear to be drinking as much as you think they should.

Dogs often drink large quantities of water at one time, whereas cats are more likely to drink very small amounts in a single session.

Our canine friends also require much more water per kilogram of weight than cats do, meaning that your cat may not need to drink as much water as you think.

Cats who eat a diet of dry food need to drink more water than those who eat canned or fresh foods. For every ounce of dry food, cats typically drink about 1 ounce of water, whereas cats eating wet foods will drink considerably less because much of their hydration comes from their food.

All that aside, you may be right, perhaps your cat isn't drinking enough water. If your cat won't drink water an underlying health condition, the cleanliness of the water, or the location of the bowl could all be potential reasons why your cat isn't drinking enough.

Signs of Dehydration in Cats

Dehydration is a serious threat to your cat's health. Cats that don't drink enough water can quickly become dehydrated. Below are a few ways to check whether your cat may be dehydrated.

  • Skin Elasticity - Check your cat's skin by gently pinching the extra skin between their shoulder blades to form a tent-like shape. Once you let go your kitty's skin should snap right back to normal in less than a second. If your cat's skin doesn't snap right back, your feline friend could be dehydrated.
  • Sunken Eyes - Take a good look at your cat's eyes. If your kitty's eyes seem to lack focus or appear sunken or dull, dehydration may be the cause.
  • Dry Mouth - Examine your kitty's gums. Your cat's gums should always be pink and moist. Pressing your finger against your cat's gums will make the spot you are pressing turn white, but if they don't return to a healthy pink color within a second or two of removing your finger your kitty may be dehydrated.
  • Constipation - Do a little box check. When cats are dehydrated they often become constipated. If your cat hasn't been passing as much stool as usual, dehydration may be to blame.
  • Panting - Unlike dogs, cats don't often pant. If your feline friend is panting they may be dehydrated.

If your cat is showing signs of dehydration contact your vet right away. Dehydration in cats can be fatal, and once the symptoms above become evident your cat is likely to be severely dehydrated and in need of veterinary care.

How To Coax Your Cat to Drink More Water

If you are concerned that your cat isn't drinking enough water, but they are not showing any of the symptoms above there are a few things you can try to increase your cat's water consumption. Here's how to help hydrate a cat that won't drink water:

  • Ensure that your cat's water bowl is not near their litter box. If it is, move it to a better spot in the room or a different room altogether.
  • Provide fresh water daily. Many cats will not drink water that has been sitting for an extended period of time.
  • Try moving the bowl to a different location (even if it's not near the litter box).
  • Try a different bowl or a bowl that provides running water for cats to enjoy.
  • If your cat eats dry food switch to canned.

Serious Health Conditions Linked To Dehydration in Cats

Dehydration can be an indication of a serious underlying condition such as kidney disease, heatstroke, or diabetes. When it comes to your cat's health it is always best to err on the side of caution. Contact your vet right away if you believe that your cat isn't drinking enough water.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

If your cat is refusing to drink water contact your Cordova vet right away to book an examination for your feline friend. Our experienced vets are here to help your cat stay happy and healthy throughout their lifetime.

Cat drinking from kitchen tap, Cordova Memphis Vet

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