Wednesday, March 23, 2005

If your kitty won't drink...

Tonight reminded me of something I was successful with a year and a half ago.

What reminded me was FINALLY making some tuna salad. I'd been purchasing and spoiling green onions for about 2 months now in preparation. Today, when I went to make my bi-weekly wasteful purchase, believe it or not, the grocery store had no green onions. I wanted green for the anti-oxidants, but I went for a white. And I guess b/c I viewed the white as as little less healthful (as if I knew), I FINALLY made tuna fish tonight.

A year and a half ago, my cat was 15. She'd always been skinny and healthy with plenty of hairballs to boot. I'd kept up her shots until she was over 10 and that's considered long enough. The only thing I'd noticed her fading a bit on was her ability for her back legs to grip when she jumped. She could still make it to the bathroom sink or to the desk, it just took a bit more scrambling to get there.

One evening, she jumped off my bed and made it about 6 feet, to where I could see her from the office. She was obviously dizzy. Her legs were like non-sea legs. Her saliva was drippy and a bit frothy. I decided to watch her for a little while.

Meanwhile, I searched around for something she might have gotten into - like rat poison I didn't possess or a pill that fell on the floor.

She didn't get better within about 2 hours, so I called an emergency vet. When I inquired about the rates, reinserted my teeth, then he suggested another, which was the same distance from us.

This was so hard bringing my son, too, but I didn't really have a choice and I'm not one to shelter him anyway. His father was going to meet us there if I thought it necessary.

The doctor saw our sweet drunken cat quickly. She was surprised at her age and at her lack of previous incidents. She felt like this age/issues meant a stroke, a thyroid problem, or kidney failure. They took blood. Over time, she began to act less drunk, but not better. The vet asked about keeping her over. I told the vet that I was an unemployed single mom, so nothing extraordinary would be possible. I would do what I could (prednisone and an antibiotic), but I would take her home. She was fine with that. The vet was so kind that she took off the dr part of the bill. Incredible.

That night, I left her downstairs by her litter box and food, but she cried to sleep upstairs with me, as usual. I went down and got her, holding her tight as if it were our last moments together.

The next morning, as I got up to shower, she hopped right off the bed! When I went downstairs, she followed me down! An hour later, she followed me back UP! I called the vet per her instructions. She was very impressed (and all the blood tests came back negative later, expensive things they were), but she asked about getting fluids in her.

Usually our cat is primo on water, but she'd been putting her nose up at it that morning. The vet said that if she didn't get some in her that day, she'd usually have the cat stay over at the hospital on IV, but in my case, she'd teach me how to inject fluid into the cat's abdomen.

I'm a biologist. I even had to saw a cat's head in half one, but I didn't want to stick a needle repeatedly in my cat's abdomen.

So I thought like a good cat mom. I opened a can of tuna fish and squeezed out the luscious tuna water. [Looking back, I should have diluted some of it by half to reduce the phosphorous and/or sodium content, seeing if that would fly first, then go for the big guns if needed.]

She drank it all day, like a champ. Never a lot at once, but consistantly.

When the vet called the next morning, her expecting mandatory injections, she was shocked at the idea of using tuna water and I think it was added to her repertoire.

Just goes to show you what the love of an ancient cat and the "necessity" of an empty pocketbook will "invent."

We loved the prednisone, btw. The cat could jump so high, she was over-clearing her goals. I've considered getting more just to make her life a little easier. [ETA: I've learned that is bad for her failing kidneys, so we didn't use it further.]

Now, her two favorite places are laying on the cable box downstairs or on the back of my computer monitor upstairs. In 3 years, we've gone through 3 cable boxes; at least they're free. Been lucky with the monitor, but she's been using it less than a year - for some reason I was more successful at shooing her off it in the past. If I'm out of the loop computer-wise for a day or two, imagine me unsuccessfully trying to hook up a cable box in lieu of the computer monitor. All for the love of a kitty sauna.

ETA:
PS - This post gets many hits daily. If this information helps you, I'd love to know with a comment here, as would many other visitors. If you have another related idea, please share. Lots of cats who are not drinking could be helped.

47 comments:

Spit said...

being a kitty momma is almost better than being a baby momma

Mine are 18, 17 & 1

Cricket said...

In our big, old house before we moved here, I had as many as 10 cats and 3 dogs at one time. All were fixed and had shots. I was a good Mom. People joked the equivalent of people now saying infertiles have 'furbabies,' but I had them b/c they satisfied all my maternal needs (ie, weren't substitute for any maternal feelings). Plus they didn't need babysitters often.

I had so many b/c if one didn't want my lap, another 2 or 3 could be recruited. We slept with 4 in the bed, not that they got along that well. I remember having 5 on there twice, but only for seconds.

When we moved up here, I'd had 5 cats and I could only take one. I had to chose Sadie, as I'd had her the longest and she was the best inside cat. I miss the others so very much. I was very depressed for months after our move - between a new baby, a husband working ungodly hours (after hours in a bar), a little city-fied apt, no flower garden, and my cats gone.

My cats meant so much to me. As if I were the only one so attached :)

trudesign said...

My kitty hasn't been drinking water and I've already spent so much money on lab work and xrays for them to find nothing. I did your trick of the tuna can and he drank it! So exciting, thank you very much for the tip!

Cricket said...

I am so glad that this helped with your cat and that you came back to write about it.

I think, if I had to do it again, I would dilute some of the tuna water first to reduce the sodium and other things in it. And if that didn't work, then go full strength.

Chris said...

Thank you! Our cat just drank a whole can full of tuna water. Your post saved us from poking our cat twice a day.

Alusz Bell said...

Wow, thank you so much. I'm actually shaking right now. My kitty is 12 almost thirteen and I'm recently a single mom and to be honest with you- I couldn't handle losing her right now.

I just opened a can of tuna and she's sniffing at the water. This was so helpful.

MsKitty739 said...

Thank you so much. I've been so worried. Me and my mom went on Vacation for my birthday like always and my grandparents watched our cat. We all live together so there was no stress of being in a new place. When we got home 5 days later they told me she hadn't eaten anything. No treats, real chicken, nothing. I thought it was just her being depressed, but we've been home for 3 days now and she still won't eat or drink. :( So I noticed her doing this weird thing with her tounge almost like she had a dry mouth. So I was looking on the internet for some way to help her because a vet visit is so much stress on her. Her files marked as "bad cat". So I just did it and she's drinking. I started to cry. It's already almost gone. So thanks again for sharing your story. It was really helpful.

virago said...

Thanks so much for the idea. My 12-year-old cat has lymphoma and saddle thrombus, she's fading fast and I think we will have to put her down on Monday (today is Saturday). She hasn't been willing to touch water since we brought her home from the vet yesterday, but I just now got her to drink a few spoonfuls of the diluted tuna water. I'm hopeful she'll be willing to have a little more soon, just to make her more comfortable (if possible).

Cricket said...

I'm so sorry for your kitty's illnesses. Making her comfortable is the humanitarian way. My thoughts are with you.

Anonymous said...

im an 11 year old farm girl that wants to be a vet when i get older and i have four cats. i was playing with my dog when i noticed that Blackie did't look good. he was lying down and heavily panting. i tried giving him water and food but he refused them. i tried the tuna water but he didn't drink that either. Mali enjoyed it though but he walked away. if you have any suggestions please let me know.

Lori said...

My cat is about a year old, and I just brought him home from the Humane's Society today. They warned me that he has refused to eat or drink all day and is a bit dehydrated, and though I am aware he needs to adjust to the new home, I was concerned about him still not touching his food or water over six hours later.

I stumbled on this, and felt it was a nice, simple idea- so I ran up and drained some, and watered it down. He's finally lapping it up, and he even went over and had some food, too.

Great idea, thanks so much!

Anonymous said...

Hello! My kitty hasn't had a drink for several days (not that I can tell) so I thought I would give this a try. I used Tuna water mixed with 2 part WARM water and right now I have her locked in a room by herself so the other cats can't get to it and she is going to town. Thanks for this! I always have great home remedies answers but had overlooked this. Thanks so much.

Derek said...

My friends Kitty just had 5 kittens, and apparently the momma kitty had gotten into somemthing toxic and was given Vetamino 4x. for a supplement.
before she realized what had happened she noticed that her cat wasnt drinking or eating. so wasnt produceing milk for the baby kitties. since takeing the vetamino ( approx 2hrs later) she started feeding again. just not drinking anywater. so i googled a solution and came across this.. my friend is currently on her way to the store to get some canned tuna in water.. seeing as how Tuna is like catnip to most cats i would imagine this will work just fine. even when diluted a bit.
Woot! thanks for the Awsome Idea!!!
i shall respond with the results asap :D

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this! I woke up this morning to my cat vomiting and meowing and being altogether restless, and I figured she was probably dehydrated, since she hadn't been making a dent in her water bowl as of late. I tried the tuna water idea and she started gulping it down! She also kept licking herself, so I sprayed some water on her - anything to get her a little hydration - and that seemed to work too.

Cricket said...

Thanks so much for your comments. It feels great to know something so simple as tuna water has saved many cats' lives.

tpm said...

Many, many thanks. My cat recently had surgery and went back yesterday to have the stitches out under anaesthetic. He drank this morning but had been getting steadily more lethargic as the day progressed and was finally not drinking at all and lolling around. I just tried your tuna brine trick (heavily diluted as his problem was crystals in the urine) and he was a changed animal! He has perked up enormously and even followed me into the kitchen to ask for more. Hopefully this will get him drinking again properly now. Many thanks for this great tip.

Anonymous said...

Our cat has been acting a bit listless for a couple of days now. I can't find anything wrong except for some ear mites, so this morning I treated that, and then I noticed that he wasn't drinking. I had given him a can of tuna yesterday because I was worried about him. He had promptly drank all the water out, but only took a few bites of the actual tuna. Your post came up as I was googling cat won't drink, and if he continues to not drink, I'll open another can and just give him the water (diluted, now that you mentioned that). Thank you for the helpful tip. And on another note ... my real name IS Cricket! (it's on my birth certificate).

Arielle said...

I have a sick kitten and since it's after midnight this is definitely something I will try for her.

I just wanted to say that for the last few hours I've been forcing water into her mouth with a little medicine dropper. She isn't too happy about this, but it's pretty easy & effective too. Much easier than a shot!

kyashell said...

I adopted a kitty a few days ago from the county shelter and he came home with an upper respiratory infection. He's now on a 10 day course of antibiotics, but I couldn't get him to eat or drink anything. With it being springtime in central Florida, I knew he was dehydrated and his recovery would be slow if I didn't get some fluids into him.

I got him to eat by putting him in the bathroom with a hot shower running so the steam would open his sinuses. (If a cat's nose is stuffy and he can't smell, he won't have an appetite.) After a sauna treatment and microwaving the stinkiest whitefish canned food I could find, he had his appetite back but still wouldn't touch water.

I came across this posting, gave him another steam and mixed tuna water with some bottled water. He lapped it up! Thanks so much for aiding in my kitty's recovery :)

Anonymous said...

I have a new kitten who I have had for 3 days. She is 8 weeks old. She is eating well but I haven't seen her drink water and couldn't get her to drink water either. So I decided to trick her and put it in her food which I have been doing for the past 2 days. I also read that giving her an ice block would work well too. I tried it an Lilly has finally had some water! Just another useful tip :-)

Anonymous said...

My cat is 16 years old and her mouth is irritating her and she wouldn't eat or drink for a while. She started eating when I fed her some ham but she wouldn't drink any water, from the fridge or the faucet. I was getting worried and so I googled "my cat won't drink water" and this page came up. I really want to thank you for posting this because I wouldn't have thought of it myself. She drank all the water of a whole can in one sitting. So thank you!!!

ROBERT said...

Our cat didn't come home for 24 hrs. We thought she'd been eaten by a coyote. When she finally returned, she was weak, lethargic, and wouldn't eat or drink anything. We were worried she'd get worse. I just read this blog and gave her the diluted tuna water. She drank it immediately. Not sure what underlying problem is, but we'll see how this "tonic" works! Tx

Nyree said...

I want to thank you. like some others, i googled my cat wont drink. your post came up. I had been watering my 7 month old with a syringe. he started locking up his jaws today and scratching. so i tried this and at first i had to pour it on his paw then he went to town on it. i let him have it full strength at first and as he was making a dent in it i added water to it. he drank what equaled all the water from the tuna plus the same amount in water mixed in with it. Thanks you so much! <3

Anonymous said...

I can't believe this post was from over five years ago. I am so heartened each time somebody comments. I have five cats now and would have so many more if I could. Your comments make me feel like I am touching yours in a special way.

About a week ago, I had to use my own advice. My 4.5 year old tuxie was not doing well. We'd just adopted a new cat and I was worried he'd brought something home. After a night of my tuxie vomiting and his eyes looking sunken, I realized that the new cat's food (Science Diet) was interfering with the tuxie's very delicate stomach. He lapped up the dilute tuna water quickly, but I know he'd have been set for the ER vet soon.

Keep 'em coming,
Cricket

Laura Ann said...

Hi there, I just had to join in and thank you before heading off to class!

This morning my family's only and ADORED 14 year old cat started passing blood, stopped urinating, and has been refusing food and water for days. We're having severe money issues and can't afford to take her to the vet for tests that could come back showing nothing.

I googled "my cat stopped drinking water" and your post came up! I had a few cans of tuna in the pantry, poured some of the tuna water in her regular water and then poured it on her food, soaking it and mashing it up. She sniffed it and then started drinking AND then went over to eat!!! My whole family just had a collective sigh of relief. It might not be the cure for an underlying illness BUT at least she's eating, drinking, and has stopped crying. Her energy's up and that means the world to us.

THANK YOU for sharing your brilliant idea!!

Anonymous said...

I have a cat who isn't drinking and I did the same thing as you and it worked! One thing you may be interested to know is that I looked this up online and apparently Tuna for people has Magnesium levels too high for cats so if it's a long term thing (which it may be for me) finding a wet cat food and greatly diluting it may be healthier. Also it will probably have less sodium.

Melissa said...

My cat is about 12 years old and hasn't been drinking any water at all. For the last few weeks we had been putting water in with his wet food every morning and evening and although he drank the water out of the food he still wasn't getting enough water in him. He went outside today for a short amount of time (it's almost 100 degrees out and humid) and came in panting with his tongue out of his mouth but he wouldn't take any water still.

I searched online and this was the first thing that came up. I got tuna out and mixed the tuna water with regular water and put him in front of the bowl and he drank it all and licked the bowl clean. I gave him more and he drank almost all of that too! Thank you so much for posting this. We've been so worried about him but he freaks out with the vet so much they have to wear leather gloves and sometimes sedate him. He hasn't seemed in very good shape lately and putting him through the trip to the vet seemed very risky. This has solved that problem and he's not panting anymore and even looks like he's walking better. We'll definitely continue this.

My 3 month old kitten appreciated this also. After our older cat had finished we let the little one have some and now both of our kitties are very happy.

Thank you very much!

Anonymous said...

I tried the same thing, but my cat won't even drink the tuna water. I'm not really sure what is wrong with him.

What I've been doing is using a small dropper to put water down his throat. He hates it, but he is visibly healthier with each dropper. If you can't get your cat to drink anything, I recommend doing this.

Sterling said...

This is such a wonderful, brilliant idea!

My husband, my 12 year old German Shepherd and I adopted a 2 year old cat yesterday who had been abused, neglected and abandoned in our apartment complex. She has been eating but she won't drink. I was very worried, but then I found your article. She is starting to drink a little more and I am hoping over the course of the next few hours she will continue to drink.

Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge. It is such a big help.

Much love to you, my friend!

Kate said...

I know that this was written years ago, but I found this just today on a Google search because my 3 month old kitten was diagnosed with an upper respiratory infection yesterday, and even though after the antibiotics and plenty of rest he's doing worlds better, we still can't get him to drink! So we tried this, and he drank! I feel so much better now knowing that he has fluids down him other than just the canned food. Thanks so much for posting this!

Anonymous said...

thank you thank you thaank you!!!!!!! She's finally drinking her water. She thanks you too :)

Anonymous said...

Hi. I have a four month old kitten and I don't see her touch her water. She likes her milk though. I will try this. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Hi there, I was having trouble getting my kitty to drink. She normally drinks the water out of the tub (how weird is that).

I was staying at my boyfriend's apartment for a week and I brought my kitty. We think we solved the problem by putting ice in her water/giving her colder water.

I asked my boyfriend and he did have tuna in the cupboard, so that is nice because it relieves the stress knowing that I have a good solution if I start to see signs of kitty dehydration.

Thanks again

Anonymous said...

Thank you!

Elf Gurl said...

Worked like a charm for my Cornish Rex boy, Bane, when he wouldn't drink water after his oral surgery. He went after the tuna water like it was going out of style!

Thanks, from both of us.

Anonymous said...

I stumbled across this today trying to figure out how to get our new (and dehydrated) rescued kitten to drink. Worked like a charm- Thanks!

Pickering said...

Yup, tuna water is the only thing my cat is interested in so far. Will be trying a can of the vet's 'Recovery' wet food tomorrow.

Good tip, and thanks!

Anonymous said...

I can't thank you enough! My daughter finally texted me to try the tuna water....I had to take it away from him because I thought he was drinking so fast he was going to be sick! Best post ever....THANK YOU!

© 2010 Josh Steffen said...

Hey, great information. Our kitty has been pretty sick lately and we can't afford to take her to the vet. From what I've read, I believe she needs prednizone (this is an anti-inflammatory?) and antibiotics. She has trouble with her hind legs and cannot stay standing and is very sickly. We can get her to eat small amounts and have been using paper towels to drop water into her mouth, which she laps up, but she soon stops and in dribbles down her chin or off the side of her face. I will definitely try the tuna water idea! If anyone has any info they could pass along, it would be greatly appreciated. My email is josteff@gmail.com

denise said...

Denise
3 yr old russan blue cross
my cat stopped drinking and eating. took to vet. had sores on mouth and bleeding tooth. THANK you she loved the tuna thing for a week but i still have trouble with him.
How long can i he keep having tuna?

Anonymous said...

I was brought to your page via Google, and just wanted to thank you for posting this. My 15 year old Maine Coon stopped drinking water, and has been vomiting and lethargic. I couldn't get him to drink at all, and he kept on fading. I used the tuna water, and he is finally drinking. I am so grateful that you had this wonderful piece of practical advice up on your blog. I know because of his age that whatever time I have with him now is pretty much borrowed time, but I couldn''t bear to lose him now. He is like family to me, and your advice saved him.Thank you so much, from the bottom of my heart.

Anonymous said...

My 12-yr-old kitty had had very little water over the 2 days previous. Just googled "cat can't drink water," found this post, opened a can of tuna that's been in the cupboard since my girlfriend moved out 4 years ago, poured the water from it into a bowl (1/4 C or so), and set in front of Venus. That was about 5 minutes ago, and she's still drinking. Thank you!

Elizabeth Weber said...

My Oliver kitty, is 5 - 6 years old. he hasn't eaten much except a few treats and hasn't drank anything in 2 day except the pedalite I have been force feeding him with a dropper. I hate doing that to him so I began to google "my cat won't drink anything" and found this blog.
I can't begin to express the gratitude and relief I feel right now. I tried the tuna water and it worked and he even ate a little soft food afterward and when he finished he cleaned himself a little and climbed back on the chair he has been keeping warm for the past 2 days.
Thank you again!!!!!

WordNerd said...

Wow, I'm on my way to the store for some tuna!! Thanks for this simple, yet Genius idea!

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh! I am so grateful for this blog post! My cat has been sick (both ends) for 24 hours and won't eat or drink. My vet can't get us in until tomorrow morning so I have been desperately trying to get her to drink. After reading all the comments, I knew it wasn't a fluke. I just tried it and Olivia finally DRANK! She drank a lot too. She was even thinking about some food when I came in here to post this. Thank you Cricket and thank you commenters for posting your experience. It was worth a shot and it WORKED!

ThatOneMezzo said...

My kitty, Lieutenant Cupcake (Louie), was not drinking, but was indeed interested in water. It was like he was so finicky he would just dehydrate himself. I tried this and it worked! Something else (even cheaper) that kind of worked was giving him ice cubes. He gets water and doesn't get wet.

Anonymous said...

i had to take my sick kitten socks to the vet yesterday morning as he had vomited 5 times in only 2 days. i was told that he is dehydrated and may have other issues as well. After giving him a shot to stop the vomiting and putting him on a prescription cat food diet for a week, (i didnt even know there was such a thing)i noticed he wouldnt touch his water at all that night. so i tried the medicine dropper to no avail. when i was looking for other solutions, i came across this and it worked like a charm!!!! thank you sooo much!