Who says cats don’t like water?

Just as it’s important to ensure you have safe and available drinking water for your human family members, you need to plan for your furry companions as well.

Water requirements for cats vary depending on diet. Those that eat canned food require less than those that subsist on dry food alone. Generally speaking, cats should drink one cup of water each day. (The more precise formula is equal milliliters of water to kilocalories of food.)

Cats are at risk for dehydration because their ancestors received much of their fluids from the prey that they consumed. As a result, many of our domesticated furry family members never developed the habit of drinking water, placing them at increased risk of dehydration. These risks can be even more serious in dry arid climates, such as desert regions, and for cats with diabetes and kidney problems.

The symptoms of dehydration in cats include: constipation, listlessness, dry mouth, sunken eyes, panting and tachycardia. Pet parents can perform a couple of different tests to see if their cat is dehydrated:

First — Gently grab the skin between the shoulders and release. If it does not quickly retract, the cat may be dehydrated.

Second — Gently press a finger on the cat’s gum line. If the color does not turn from white to pink after two seconds, then your furry family member is likely dehydrated.

If you suspect that your cat is dehydrated, take him or her to the veterinarian immediately. Subcutaneous fluids can be administered to restore fluid and electrolyte balance, and a thorough examination can be performed to ensure that there are no underlying health issues.

What can you do to increase your fur-person’s water intake? Ensure that there are water bowls for each cat in your home. The bowls should be washed daily to remove bacteria and odors, and refilled with cool, clean water. The type of bowl is also important. Plastic bowls should be avoided as over time they absorb odors which may not be discernible to humans, but are repellent to cats that have a tremendous sense of smell. Bowls should also be wide enough that cats can drink out of them without their whiskers touching the sides, as this provides a sensation that most wish to avoid. You might also consider waterfall dishes that have large capacity and keep the water fresh through constant movement.

Remember that when you are assembling 72-hour preparedness kits for your family, to include items for your furry family as well: bowls, food, water, toys, blankets, carriers and medication.These simple, easy tips can keep your furry “kids” safe, happy and healthy. Please look for future articles that focus on caring for your pets.

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