Whether you’re an Arizona Native or just a visitor- you are probably familiar with the warm weather that occurs in this beautiful desert state. Whether we like it or not, it tends to warm up quickly in the valley. That being the case, it is important to make sure your pets are receiving proper hydration. Cats can be very prone to hydration issues. Here, we will take a look at why proper hydration is important while also exploring the best ways to ensure they are receiving the right amount of daily water intake.
Why is hydration so important to felines?
If they don’t get enough of the good ol’ H2O, it can lead to serious dehydration issues. This can result in a host of internal problems ranging from kidney issues, bladder problems, etc. Adequate water intake is especially important for felines who experience diabetes or renal problems, as these two particular problems lead to increased urination. Increased urination combined with an already dehydrated feline can result in irreversible internal damage.
Dehydration signs to look out for.
There are a few very important signs of cat dehydration. If you notice that your cat is constipated, has dry mouth, is lethargic, has an increased heart rate or has sunken eyes- they may be experiencing dehydration. There are two physical tests that an owner can perform to further diagnose dehydration.
Skin Elasticity Test: If your cat is dehydrated, you will be able to tell by the elasticity of their skin. To test this, gently grasp some of the skin on the base of the neck, then release. If you notice that the skin of the neck does not spring back immediately- your cat may be in a state of dehydration.
Capillary Refill Test: If your cat is comfortable with you opening its mouth, the capillary refill test can also be used to assess dehydration. Gently open your feline’s upper lip and press a finger against their gums. When you remove your finger, a white spot should be present. Pay attention to how long it takes for the spot to turn pink again. It should only take 1-2 seconds for the pink color to return. If it takes any longer, your feline may be dehydrated.
Get your feline to drink more water!
It is commonly mistaken that cats don’t like water. Whereas they don’t necessarily prefer to be immersed in it, some cats actually enjoy water interaction. They are often fascinated with running water and would prefer to drink from a running water source rather than stagnant water in a dish. Being that cats are wild at heart, this particular quirk is believed to stem from their desire to drink from running creeks and rivers as it is cleaner and safer to drink than sitting water. Ironically enough, cats also tend to prefer water that is separate from their feeding area. Research shows that separate water and feeding bowls entice a feline to drink more frequently.
As a cat owner, you probably already recognize that felines are somewhat picky creatures. Believe it or not, there are a few tips to ensuring their watering area is more aesthetically pleasing and enticing to their feline ways.
- Water Bowls: Stainless steel or ceramic tend to have a better effect on the feline preference. Plastic bowls tend to be porous and can develop an unsatisfying smell to a sensitive feline nose. Cats also prefer to have their own bowls. Therefore, if you have multiple pets, consider having an individual bowl for each to entice more water consumption. It is also important to ensure that the bowl is wide enough to allow their whole face to fit in- including their whiskers.
- Cleanliness: As obnoxious as it may seem, water bowls should be cleansed daily with hot soapy water. As you may have noticed, stagnant water can cause a slimy residue to build up within the bowl. This particular feature can deter a feline from drinking as they prefer fresh and clean water.
- Water type: Some people underestimate the importance of water type to a feline. Cats vary in their preferences, so you may have to run a couple of tests to see which they prefer most. Consider putting out bowls of different water types. Make sure to use similar bowls, as this may play a factor in their decision. Test out tap water, distilled or mineral water to see if they have a preference. Once you know, you will be able to guarantee that you have their best pick!
- Drinking Fountain: Believe it or not, cat drinking fountains are a thing! Not only do they provide the enticing running water effect, but they also offer a larger quantity of available water. With a fountain, water is continuously circulated through a filter or purifier which results in fresh water for a longer period of time. There are a variety of types and styles that can fit nicely within the home. You can check out some awesome examples of cat water fountains here!
As we creep into this warmer Arizona weather, be sure to double check how your feline is handling the heat. Keep an eye out for signs of dehydration and consider treatment as soon as possible! If you think your cat is experiencing dehydration, contact your vet immediately to help prevent permanent damage. With a few extra steps and close monitoring of water intake, you can prevent your kitty from experiencing the dangerous effects of dehydration. Make sure they also have access to fresh water, food and extra hugs and kisses!