Australian summers are notoriously hot, and you can never be too careful when it comes to cat from dehydration. Dr Lisa Chimes shares some essential information to help spot the signs of dehydration and heat stress early – and give your cat the necessary care they need.
If your cat is lethargic, or has a fast heart rate, rapid breathing, sunken eyes, and dry gums, they could be dehydrated. Cats will also pant when they're hot and you may even notice that their paws become wet with sweat. Another sign of dehydration is skin that has lost its elasticity. That’s why some vets will pinch the skin on a cat’s back to check for dehydration. If their skin stays up in a ridge, you need to take them to the vet urgently.
Long periods of dehydration can lead to shock and general organ failure. If you suspect a problem with your cat, do not hesitate to call your vet, who’ll be able to make an accurate diagnosis, and can administer the appropriate treatment.
For starters, make sure your cat has plenty of fresh water available - especially in summer. Refill their bowl throughout the day and keep it clean. Keep multiple water sources around the house, water is critical for your cat's health. Some cats prefer running water, so you can even offer them some from the tap. Make sure you include FANCY FEAST canned varieties in their diet as they have a high moisture content. And remember, never ever leave your cat in the car on a hot day - this can be life threatening in just a few minutes.
Cool cat tips:
- Fill a hot water bottle with cold tap water for them to lie on
- Put some ice cubes in their water bowl
- Cool down towels in the freezer and then place in your cat's bed
- Wrap frozen water bottles in towels for your cat to lie next to
- Use ceiling fans or air conditioning to keep the house cool
- Always provide your cat with adequate shelter from the sun outdoors
- Keep water bowls scattered around the house
Find out more about cat health problems and what you can do to help prevent them.
About Dr Lisa Chimes
Dr Lisa Chimes is a Purina Australia Ambassador and our resident vet. In 2006 she graduated from Sydney University with a Bachelor of Veterinary Science (First Class Honours). She obtained her membership qualification in Small Animal Medicine with the Australian/New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists. Dr Lisa is a vet at the Small Animal Specialist Hospital and appears on Channel Ten's 'Bondi Vet'