What are signs of dehydration in a cat?

Our question this week was:

Dr. Debra – How do you know if your cat is dehydrated?

Charis Pfeil


Hi Charis– thanks for your email. Your question is how can you tell if a cat is dehydrated? If a cat is not eating, drinking or having vomiting or diarrhea, the safest thing is to assume the cat is dehydrated. This may not always be the case but it is safer to assume this than otherwise.

Signs of dehydration include lethargy, depression, dry gums and loss of skin elasticity. You will often see veterinarians lift up the loose skin over the back and watch for its mobility. A slow return to normal can be a sign of dehydration. Some cats will also have sunken eyes, an increased heart rate and slow capillary refill times.

An article that might be helpful to you is Dehydration in Cats.

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

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