The current trend to exclusively feed cats with feed may mean that not all of them receive the amount of water they need to stay healthy. Poor hydration will affect your health.
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Why is a wet diet important?
Cats are carnivorous animals. In nature, they feed on small prey that they hunt like rodents or birds. This diet provides them with the hydration they need. Today, many households with cats choose a diet exclusively composed of feed.
This dehydrated diet contains a very low percentage of humidity, around 10%, far from that provided by its usual prey, with which the cat hardly needed to drink. Therefore, even if the cat eats well, the amount of water that it is going to receive with the diet may be insufficient.
Cats could compensate for this deficiency by directly drinking water, but the truth is that many do not consume all that they would need. This insufficient hydration can end up damaging your renal system and causing problems in the urinary tract, such as the formation of crystals.
How do I know if my cat is dehydrated?
A simple way to control the degree of hydration of our cat is to observe how long it takes to recover its shape a skin fold that we lift. To do this we can take between our thumb and index fingers a pinch of skin from the area of the cross. We will lift a little, of course without hurting you.
In a perfectly hydrated cat, the skin fold will immediately return to its place. On the other hand, in a dehydrated cat, it will take time to return, more or less time depending on the severity of the dehydration. Kittens, older adults, and those who already have a disease will be more easily dehydrated.
Mild dehydration can be solved by trying to get the cat to drink more or by administering subcutaneous serum through injections that will be prescribed by the veterinarian. The most severe cases require admission for intravenous fluid therapy. Dehydration must always be treated. The most serious cases are incompatible with life.
How do I give my cat more water if he eats feed?
There are a series of measures that we can implement to get our cat to drink more water. They are as follows:
- Fountains: these devices are based on keeping the water in constant motion, which is attractive to many cats, encouraging them to drink more. Cats like waterways. In fact, some have the habit of putting a leg in the trough and shaking the water with it before drinking.
- A sufficient number of waterers: if the cat has only one waterer in the whole house, it may often be that they do not want to go to it, especially if they are older or are not feeling well. Also, if there are more animals there may be conflicts between them or, simply, the cat does not want to coincide.
- The material of the sprue: the steel or ceramic ones seem to like them more than the plastic ones. They also prefer that they are arranged away from food and litter trays.
- Always clean and freshwater: it is important that we change it often and check that it is at an ideal temperature, neither too cold nor too hot, and in a well-clean drinking fountain.
- Broths: we can use these liquids if it is urgent for the cat to hydrate and we cannot make it drink only water. Of course, we must make them at home to ensure that their composition is suitable. Broth from the cooking of chicken, fish, or rice is some of the alternatives.
- Wet food: another option to improve the hydration of our cat is a change in its diet. If he only eats feed, we must frequently introduce commercial wet food or opt for homemade food. Both diets are generally well accepted by cats as they are very palatable.
What problems can a lack of hydration causes in my cat?
Dry diets and insufficient hydration are associated with the formation of stones in the urinary tract. These stones are the result of the accumulation of different minerals, especially struvite and calcium oxalate.
Stones in the bladder can cause the cat pain and hematuria, that is, blood in the urine. If they leave it and are large enough, they can obstruct the urethra, especially in male cats for anatomical reasons. A blocked urethra prevents urine from leaking out and is a veterinary emergency.
An increase in water intake is essential to avoid these problems since fluid urine hinders the formation of crystals and helps their elimination. And let’s remember that cats are prone to chronic kidney disease, especially older ones. Hence the importance of taking care of the urinary and renal systems.
If we observe that our cat has trouble urinating, he goes to the tray many times but only removes drops or, on the contrary, he forgets the litter box and urinates in any other place, the urine seems dark and the cat is in pain, it is time to go to the vet. The diseases affecting the urinary tract may damage the kidneys.
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