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How to Hydrate a Cat if They Will Not Drink

(6 votes, average 4.33 out of 5)
Written by Lynnp   

If your cat will not drink and you think or know that your cat is dehydrated, there are some tricks you can do to get more liquid into him (her). There are also products that will assist in hydration and your cat will not know there is anything in his (her) food or water out of the ordinary.

Your vet, also, will advise you on how to hydrate your cat. The suggestions outlined here are some tried-and-true options that may work for you pretty well, as they have the author.

Step 1: Discontinue feeding dry food if at all possible. If that is not an option, try soaking his (her) favorite dry food in some tuna water from human-grade tuna. Optionally, you can feed the cat straight tuna water. It is a rare cat that will turn this down.

Step 2: Offer canned milk, diluted half and half. This may cause some diarhhea if the cat is not used to milk, so go slowly at first. Use the good grades of canned milk, such as Pet or Carnation. Using the milk straight without dilution can cause stomach upset in a cat that does not drink milk.

Step 3: Offer the best brands of canned cat food you can find. The organic brands tend to not be as well-liked by cats, even though they have the best ingredients. Other brands, such as Fancy Feast, usually are met with approval. If you find ones that the cat likes, bite the expense bullet for awhile and indulge the cat with whatever they will eat.

Step 4: Add a teaspoon of water to the cat food each meal. Then increase it to two if you can. Go slowly, though, because if it is watered down too much, they don't like it. Instead of water, you can use the canned tuna water for flavor.

Step 5: Use whatever flavors your cat already likes. Some cats won't eat anything but beef or chicken. If that is the case, cook some fresh chicken or a beef roast in a pot of water. When cooked, grate, grind or mash some meat with some of the cooking water. Freeze small portions you cannot use right away for a later date.

Step 6: Use small amounts of sea salt in the cat's wet food. This is appealing to the cat and will help supply minerals until the cat is feeling better. Small amounts mean for every meal, a tiny pinch mixed well with the food. The salt will also help the cat retain a bit more of the fluid already in his (her) body. Sometimes adding a pinch or two to the drinking water works well to for electrolytes and water absorbtion. Make sure your vet does not object to this. Remember, we are talking small amounts, for mineral balance and stasis.

Step 7: Purchase a product in health food stores and online called Willard Water. This product helps tissues absorb water better, but is tasteless. Cats actually like this product, and it is totally harmless. Look online for more information on using this product for dehydration and kidney problems. This can be added to wet food or to the water dish. It can also be force-fed if the cat is really sick.

Step 8: Do not get discouraged. Some things you try may not work. Do not panic. Recommendations to use Pedialyte often meets with failure, and that is one product vets often recommend.

Step 9: Do not be afraid to force-feed water. A small rubber ear syringe or plastic injection implement work well too, depending on the cat. Use what works. If the cat is not eating, keep the doses of water small and frequent, and alternate with diluted cat food, baby food or similar nutrition.

Step 10: Check with your vet, always. These are only options you can try, but medical advice is always best. Your vet may opt for hydrating the cat through IV in the office, which can help the cat regain it's strength.

Step 11: Do not be alarmed if your cat has never been much of a water drinker. Cats tend to get their moisture from food. That is why they have a low signal to drink, and why wet food is better for them. Even mixing half and half is better than straight dry food which can cause health problems.

Comments (1)add comment

Kaseys View said:

Kaseys View
Good information, dehydration does seem to be a problem with cats.
April 26, 2010
Votes: +2

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