How to hydrate a sick cat

Updated April 17, 2017

If your cat is sick, take it to the vet to receive a diagnosis and treatment plan. Many feline illnesses seem like a simple cold but can quickly become life-threatening, making a trip to the vet a necessity. Just as with humans, one of the most dangerous aspects of being sick is the threat of dehydration. A sick cat will usually not be motivated to drink enough water to maintain adequate hydration. Therefore, it is up to the owner to ensure that the cat remains hydrated. Follow these steps to ensure that your cat remains hydrated, allowing it to have an opportunity to make a full recovery.

Provide your cat with tasty liquids to drink, such as chicken broth. The chicken broth will have an appetizing smell, making it a more appealing choice than water for your cat. Some sick cats will not drink enough water to stay hydrated but will drink chicken broth.

Force your cat to drink 30 ml (1 oz) of water every two hours if your cat does not drink liquids on its own. Use a syringe or eye dropper to squirt the water in your cat's mouth. Stop immediately and take your cat to the vet if it vomits after drinking.

Administer subcutaneous fluids to your cat. Do this by using a sterile needle and fluids bag. Inject the needle under your cat's skin between its shoulder blades. Keep the cat still while 354 ml (12 oz) of fluids flows through the fluids bag and enters your cat. The fluids should accumulate in a bubble between your cat's shoulder blades and in its elbows. Only perform this procedure under the direction of a vet.

Things You'll Need

  • Chicken broth
  • Syringe or eye dropper
  • Sterile needle
  • Fluids bag
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Leigh Wittman has been writing professionally since 2007. She writes primarily on health, career advice, outdoor pursuits and travel for various websites. Wittman is a licensed nurse and studied nursing at Arizona State University.