Like humans, cats need plenty of water to stay healthy. However, sometimes cats become dehydrated, adversely affecting their digestion, circulation, and overall well-being. Unfortunately, figuring out if your cat is dehydrated isn’t always easy.

That’s why Penny Paws Animal Clinic is here to teach you some common signs that your cat may be dehydrated.

Penny Paws Animal Clinic is one of DFW’s most trusted veterinarian clinics. Our vets will nurture your furry friends back to health so they can enjoy everything the world has to offer once again. If you need an experienced veterinarian in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, contact Penny Paws Animal Clinic.

How Much Water Do Cats Need?

Since no two cats are the same, it’s difficult to determine how much water every cat needs. However, most cats need around four and a half ounces of water for every five pounds of their weight. For example, if your cat is ten pounds, it needs up to nine ounces of water every day.

It’s important to note that cats that eat wet food typically don’t drink as much water. This is due to the excess water in the food. Most wet cat food consists of 70% to 80% water, hydrating the cat as they eat.

However, if your cat eats dry foods, they need much more water than cats with a wet food-based diet.

Also, older cats are more prone to dehydration, so always ensure your feline friend has plenty of water once it reaches old age.

Causes of Dehydration in Cats

Cats become dehydrated for various reasons. Some suffer from illnesses that deplete their fluid intake, while others don’t have access to fresh water. Below are some common causes of dehydration in cats:

  • Excess vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • The cat doesn’t eat canned or wet food
  • Lack of access to water
  • The cat gets lost while exploring outside and can’t find fresh water
  • Health conditions like kidney disease or diabetes
  • Fever
  • Heat stroke
  • Excessively hot weather
  • Overheating
  • Trauma

If your cat experiences any of the above, give it some clean water as soon as possible.

It’s also a good idea to take your feline friend to the vet for wellness visits to ensure they are in good health. Again, some health problems can dehydrate cats rather quickly and cause other issues that negatively impact their well-being. Diagnosing these issues early will help you curb symptoms and prevent dehydration, ensuring your cat remains happy and healthy.

Common Signs of a Dehydrated Cat

Most cats exhibit signs when they become dehydrated. Understanding these indicators will help you take swift action and rehydrate your cat before it experiences severe dehydration. Below are some common signs that your cat may be dehydrated.


Many cats pant when they don’t have enough fluids. Panting often occurs when a cat’s body can’t maintain its essential processes due to severe dehydration.

However, cats sometimes pant for other reasons. Panting can indicate pain, overheating, and other issues that have nothing to do with a lack of water. Always look for additional signs of dehydration if your cat begins panting.

Lack of Energy and Appetite

Cats typically don’t eat food when they experience dehydration. They will refuse to eat their wet or dry food and even avoid their favorite treats. The lack of food will significantly reduce the cat’s energy level, causing them to lay around more than usual.

Cats suffering from severe dehydration will move much less than ones experiencing slight dehydration. They become very lethargic and even struggle to stand up. If your cat experiences these systems, contact a vet immediately for emergency services.

Sunken Eyes

Sunken eyes often signify a sick cat. However, many cats with sunken eyes also experience dehydration due to underlying illnesses. Their eyes may also look glossy, further indicating severe sickness.

Always take your cat to a veterinarian if they experience sunken eyes. Although they might be dehydrated, they will likely also suffer from another, more serious health problem.

Sticky Gums

This sign is a bit difficult to identify unless you understand your cat’s mouth and gum health. However, sticky gums are a very common sign that your cat may be dehydrated.

Most cats have relatively wet gums that don’t stick upon touch. If you gently press your finger against your cat’s gums and feel a slight stickiness, they probably need water.

Frequent Diarrhea and Vomiting

Frequent diarrhea and vomiting can dehydrate a can incredibly quickly. They release vast amounts of fluids and need to rehydrate right away.

If your cat experiences excessive diarrhea or vomiting and has a dry food diet, try switching to wet food. Since wet food contains mostly water, your cat will hydrate faster when eating.

Also, remember to give them fresh water with every meal to entice them to drink even more.

How to Treat a Dehydrated Cat

If you believe your cat suffers from severe dehydration, contact a vet and schedule an appointment as soon as you can. Vets have several hydration solutions that will nurse your cat back to health and prevent other issues associated with dehydration. If you can’t see a vet right away, try the following methods to entice your cat to drink water:

  • Add a bit of tuna juice or chicken broth to their water bowl
  • Feed them wet food instead of dry food
  • Put ice cubes in their water

The veterinarians at Penny Paws Animal Clinic can also help your cat recover from dehydration and will handle all their healthcare needs at a price that won’t break the bank.

Contact Penny Paws Animal Clinic for Exceptional Veterinary Services in the Dallas-Fort Worth

If you are a Dallas-Fort Worth resident and need professional veterinary services, contact Penny Paws Animal Clinic. We will teach you the common signs that your cat may be dehydrated so you can resolve the issue before it worsens. We’ve helped countless pet parents treat their dehydrated animals, and we can do the same for you.

Contact Penny Paws Animal Clinic and book your appointment at one of our marvelous locations today!