How much water does elderly cat need? Using bottle

linnea56March 6, 2014

My elderly cat with multiple handicaps is declining. Nothing specific, just losing function and sleeping more and more. She lost interest in eating. The vet gave me special "critical care" food, and she likes that enough to eat more than she has in more than twice as much. Lab tests showed mild dehydration. It's probably because she has mobility issues, is on Phenobarbital, and is too sleepy to make it to the water bowl. They gave her subcutaneous fluids and told me to make sure she got enough. Since the vet visit yesterday, though, she won't drink water. It could be that the special food is very runny, and she is therefore not thirsty.

However, I decided I should give her water, and have been using a small squeeze bottle to do that. She does not object. I just sort of hold her upright, put the tip in her mouth, and let it dribble in. 4 times so far today, for total of maybe 2/3 cup altogether. I have to play around to get the angle right so she doesn't choke; if anyone has suggestions I'd appreciate it. I guessimated intake and rate by what I've seen her drink recently. She has always drunk a lot compared to other cats I've known (and peed a lot too).

She had not urinated either since some time on Tuesday. Finally early this evening she did, normal concentration, volume less than normal but still pretty good considering she had not urinated in more than a day. She has no history of kidney problems at all.

I don't know what is an appropriate amount to give, though. My guesstimate could still leave her dehydrated, and there's also such a thing as too much water. Does anyone know the right amount of water that a 6 1/2 pound, completely sedentary elderly female cat, who is eating only moist food, no dry, should have in a day? Thanks for your help.

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Call your vet and ask.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2014 at 11:42PM
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You say the moist food is very runny - cats in the wild don't drink much water and my young cats are on a total canned + fresh meat diet hardly drink at all from water dish and pee plenty.

So if your girl is not peeing I agree with above poster that you should ask your vet about it just to get a good understanding of what's going on with her, why exactly the dehydration, is she being adequately hydrated with the wet food + extra 2/3 c. water. And if its adequate how long would it take her to recover from dehydration now that she's getting enough - or should you expect that something about her condition is going to keep her in a state of chronic dehydration from here on out.

How old is your girl? Cherish these moments - I lost my 22 year old last summer and it was like the end of an era - still miss her.

BTW, what exactly is the food? It was a battle at the end to get my kitty to eat anything.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2014 at 9:16AM
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Do you have a copy of her labs that you could post here so that we can take a look? That would help a lot to give us a better overview of her current condition so that we can make relevant observations and suggestions. If you don't have copies of her lab reports, I strongly recommend you get them from your vet and ALWAYS maintain a file with copies of ALL lab reports at home.


    Bookmark   March 7, 2014 at 9:49AM
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She did start urinating again yesterday. Twice, and it was not concentrated. Second time was a lot. So I believe she is no longer dehydrated, unless it takes longer to reverse than just the appearance of normal volume would imply. I tracked the intake so I know what went in.

I didnâÂÂt get the lab reports. I saw them and had things explained to me, but was too disconcerted to ask for them to bring home. Normally I would have. I have to call today to get the results for her Phenobarbital levels. She had lost a pound since her annual checkup in March 2013â¦so dose likely needs adjusting. It was cut back a year ago, as she had lost weight then too (she was originally overweightâ¦now she looks smaller but not thin).

They had no explanation for the dehydration. But for the last few weeks sheâÂÂs been in sort of a Twilight Zone, sleeping 95% of the time. ThatâÂÂs been coming on for a while, just sleeping greater and greater amounts of the time. If I put her in one place, she stays there, until I move her again. The only independent movements have been to get to the litter box, which is only half the time. I donâÂÂt think she wakes up enough to think sheâÂÂs thirsty. I have to stimulate her for a while to wake her up enough to eat, and to drink from the bottle, now.

The food is Science Diet A / D âÂÂCritical careâ . Even I think it smells good. It stays soft, even straight from the refrigerator. She is lapping it rather than biting it and picking it up.

She is 14 ý. I have polled my friends with cats, and it seems like many have cats who live longer, but her health issues may be compromising her health to the point where that is impossible for her. My last cat died of kidney failure at 10, so Shadow is the longest lived cat I have had.

If you call this a life. As long as she responds to me and purrs I figure she is not miserable or in pain.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2014 at 7:06PM
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If your old girl needs continuing fluid support, which is likely, it's much safer to provide fluids via subQ administration than it is to give it orally. Giving water orally (unless she's drinking it herself) runs a high risk of aspiration into the lungs, which can result in a fatal aspiration pneumonia. Administering fluids subQ, however, gets them in all at one time, safely under the skin with no risk of aspiration. If you don't know how to admin fluids subQ, your vet can teach you and provide you with the necessary supplies and fluid.


    Bookmark   March 8, 2014 at 8:43AM
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Science diet is really bad... along with Iams euk, ect. They are trash foods. its got all kinds of fillers and by products. Most vets are not properly educated in small animal nurtrition in school and what they do learn is sponsered by the pet food companies. hills is a big one.I would try something meat based.such as Instinct, Before grain,, wellness core. ect.

Where do you live if its in St paul or mInneaplois you could try woody's pet food deli.

If a cat is on canned/raw it shouldn't need extra water... having low thirst drive is normal for a cat.. but not peeing alot isn't.

Sorry to say the damage may already be done.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2014 at 9:24AM
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