Does Dehydration in Cats Cause Pale Gums?

Hydration is key in keeping your feline happy and healthy.
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Dehydration is a serious and potentially dangerous problem in cats. Many felines are notoriously nonchalant about water consumption, getting the bulk of their moisture through eating wet foods, surprisingly enough. If you suspect for even a minute that your kitty is dehydrated, immediate veterinary attention is an absolute must.

Pale Gums and Circulation Problems

Paleness of the gums, indeed, can indicate feline dehydration, although it may not be one of the most common symptoms. With dehydration, sluggish movement of the blood sometimes occurs. Check this possibility out with your cat by using your finger to press down on her upper gums. Once you take the pressure off, a pale white spot should be visible briefly. If the spot remains for more than a couple of seconds, seek emergency veterinary attention. This circulation problem is known as delayed capillary refill time, and possibly is very harmful in cats and other animals.


Along with paleness of the gums, look out for exhaustion in your kitty. The better you recognize the other classic symptoms of cat dehydration, the easier the gum paleness will be for you to see. If your cat is acting lethargic, lazy and just plain out of it, dehydration may be at fault. When a cat doesn't have enough fluid in her body, it really zaps out her energy levels.

Dry Mouth

Dry mouth also points to dehydration in felines, particularly around the gum area. Touch your cat's gums, and take note if they are especially dry and have an unusually sticky texture. If kitty's gums aren't dry, however, and are covered in saliva, make sure it has a light, fluid-like feel, rather than a thick, jelly-like one. Thick saliva is a sign of dehydration.


If your cat's eyes have a sunken appearance, then the dehydration may be in a very severe stage. Waste absolutely no time in calling for emergency medical attention at this dangerous point.

Skin Elasticity

Loss of skin elasticity also is a telltale symptom of feline dehydration. Pull up the skin on the back of your pet's neck slowly and carefully. If it doesn't immediately go back into place after you stop, it likely is due to serious dehydration.


If you notice your precious pet panting like a dog, she is visibly -- and uncomfortably -- dehydrated. Unlike in canines, cat panting is a rather unusual behavior, so don't ignore it.

Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.

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