Caring for a Dehydrated Cat

by Darlene Lane
(Westlake, Ohio)

Picture of Stinky

Picture of Stinky

I was walking into a restaurant one day (the back entrance) when we heard a kitten crying. After investigating, my daughter and I noticed about 6 kittens hanging out by the dumpster, one in particular was in bad shape.

So we decided to help that particular one. The rest seemed very healthy and able to take care of themselves. While in the restaurant the waitress went out for a smoke and noticed the one kitten in a cage in the back of my truck, she caught 4 others and included them in the cage. She came in and told me she caught all but one.

Well being the person I am I took them all home. After about 3 weeks they were treated in my garage for fleas, ear mites, infectious eyes and shots on one trip to the vet.

They were ready to find new homes, but during those three weeks I noticed that one of the older kittens, who is known as "Stinky", was rather different then your run of the mill cat. After gaining his trust we became friends, very good friends!

I discovered that he was very protective of the other kittens even though they were of no relation. He hunted and fed these other kittens and took very good care of them in my garage. If he thought you were going to hurt them he would let you know very aggressively that he wasn't going to just sit and watch (when treating the ear mites one kitten wasn't fond of it).

He watched the kittens very discernibly until we found them homes. But that's not the end of the story. People were dumping kittens and cats in my neighborhood alot and Stinky hunted small prey to feed them! He is this amazing cat that takes care of his own. He is very intelligent, not to mention one of the sweetest gentlemen I have ever met. I had a ex-boyfriend who was jealous of Stinky, I think because he knew that he could never be as good of a soul as Stinky is.

Stinky likes to hold paws, gives me hugs and always makes sure I am up for work when he notices me running out of snoozes on the alarm. He has never met another animal he could not charm (including dogs)!

But now "Stinky" is in trouble and I am tapped out of cash from the trip to the Vet. He's strong and still alive for now. But he is dehydrating. He needs a IV to keep him from dehydrating. I'm not sure how to help him. I have been forcing Pediatric (Electrolyte, unflavored) down his mouth. He did get a dose of antibiotics at the vet. The vet said he would show improvement after 24 hrs, but it has been 48 with no improvement, but he is still alive. HELP!

Editor Suggestions

Dear Darlene,

Thank you for sharing the stories about Stinky and how smart and caring a cat can be.

Some companion animals, like “Stinky” are surely very friendly and are always ready to help other animals, particularly other cats; that is a positive character of any animal, which is related with its habits regarding being social.

But, it always happens that such animals are always at risk and prone to many conditions which they acquire from other animals, which are in trouble or are infected.

It is noted that many
social companion animals have been proven to be a reservoir of many infectious agents, which they get from other animals. Therefore, being “friendly”, “social”, and “helpful” is a good character, but such companions remain at risk and needs more attention.

In this case, we are not sure about the exact condition “stinky” is suffering from, since you haven't described any other symptoms excluding progressive dehydration. Also, the antibiotics prescription indicates that stinky is suffering from some type of primary or secondary bacterial infection. Even then, the information is not enough to assess the possibilities or any underlying cause for the condition.

However, we can recommend some tips to help rehydrate your cat;

1. If your cat can eat, try to provide food that is already in a liquid state, meaning that there needs to be excess water in the food, so that energy and water levels can be maintained. At minimum, provide canned vs. dry food, since canned has more water content.

The administration of canned food or liquid diet depends upon the status of the patient. If the cat is dehydrated up to 1 - 2%, an owner can easily use canned food, which contains water as a major component, but usually it is noted that such cats do not intend to eat on their own, leading to progressive dehydration. For such cats, a quality canned food along with an appetizer helps a lot.

In other cases, where dehydration is noted up to 5% or more, liquid diet i.e. about 95% of water and 4 -5 % of electrolytes, energy content and very low protein is usually administered.

As per your description, it seems that a canned food along with an appetizer will surely help in restoring water and electrolyte balance. Suggested products that can help include Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Feline Lamb Formula Canned Cat Food (prescription required) or as an alternative Royal Canin Ultra Light Adult Canned Cat Food (no prescription required).

In terms of an appetizer, we suggest Fancy Feast Appetizers for Cats.

2. Pedialyte is a good option, but make sure that you are able to administer the maximum amount to your pet. You you can use a dropper for administering the liquid.

3. If your cat vomits, or is reluctant to take the pedialyte or any food, do not try to administer anything orally. Vomiting and any reluctance towards fluids can make the condition worse and the rate of dehydration will increase. In such circumstances, it's better to get an IV infusion by the veterinarian.

4. If your cat is feeling lethargic and you feel energy levels are declining, you can try rubbing honey on the gums, tongue and in the inner lips. Honey will provide instant energy to your cat.

5. Additionally, you can use some natural remedies to improve energy levels and support Stinky's immunity. This will surely help to improve your cat's condition. Products to consider are Energy Tonic and Immunity and Liver Support.

Remember, these recommendations are for support only. None of these can be termed as an alternative to specific treatment recommended by your veterinarian. You should try these recommendations, but in case the condition gets worse, a detailed examination and diagnosis along with immediate re-hydration will be required by a veterinarian.

Best of luck to you and Stinky. Please keep us up to date on how you overcame cat dehydration and the condition of this very special cat.

Comments for Caring for a Dehydrated Cat

Average Rating starstarstarstarstar

Click here to add your own comments

Dec 10, 2010
Helpful Hints for sick kittens
by: Kelly Jackson

I have found that when dealing with a litter of kittens that had become ill at five weeks of age, to keep them hydrated I used rice cereal for infants with a very small amount of soy baby formula ,concentrated liquid form,that I mixed 1 part formula to 2 parts water which I made into a very thin "gruel" and fed to them with a very small syringe (without the needle of course) every 2 hours around the clock. after the first 24 hours I would add a very small amount of chicken baby food.But,make sure it is the one with chicken broth,not gravy,as anything with "gravy" makes the stomach disorder worse.(Especially when feeding your cats canned cat food.)Unflavored Pedialyte works well too. I would mix 2parts water to 1 part pedialyte with a small amount of rice baby cereal.(I found that Gerber rice cereal and Beech-Nut chicken work the best ount of all those that I have tried)

Oct 03, 2010
by: Anonymous

Thank you so much, Stinky is alive and well. A can of tuna snapped him out of it. The fancy feast helped him get back to health. He is a healthy and well.

Sincere Thanks

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to General Help.