Alternatives to Sub Q Fluids for Cats – Ultimate Guide

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As a proud pet parent of a growing cat, there are a handful of issues that you need to be aware of. Chronic Renal Failure is one of them, especially if your cat is older. Or if it’s a younger cat or kitten, you might witness it struggling with dehydration.

Once a cat has Chronic Renal Failure or struggles with dehydration, she usually loses a lot more fluids through its kidneys. To prevent this, cat owners have largely depended on subcutaneous fluids, better known as Sub Q fluids.

If you want to try your hand at different, easier alternatives to Sub Q fluids for cats, though, you’ll find all you need and more in this article.

Alternatives to Sub Q Fluids for Cats

  • Giving your cat the same fluids orally
  • Adding more wet canned foods into your cat’s diet
  • Keeping multiple freshwater sources for your cat around your house
  • Being creative and adding liquids to your cat’s food
  • Giving your cat goat milk to encourage it to hydrate
  • Soaking your cat’s dry food in water, depending on its desired intake

Top 9 Alternatives to Sub Q Fluids

As you read through this article you’ll realize that hydrating your cat doesn’t have to be a hard chore. In fact, it might not have to be a chore at all with these trouble-free alternatives.

1- Encouraging Your Cat to Hydrate Orally

Rather than going through the unpleasant experience of piercing your cat’s skin with a needle to give it essential fluids, you can do that by encouraging your furry friend to hydrate. Although cats do tend to be iffy around water, you can pique your cat’s curiosity towards drinking by introducing it to a water fountain.

Since water fountains are constantly moving, your cat will be naturally inclined to check it out. You can also change your cat’s water bowl, which is another surefire way to intrigue her into drinking.

Not only will this be the hassle-free approach, but it might also encourage your dehydrated cat to hydrate on its own, meaning there will be no need for external fluid intake.

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2- Keeping Various Sources of Fresh Water for Your Cat Around Your House

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Since your main goal while giving your cat Sub Q fluids is to make sure she’s hydrating properly, you’ll need to make your cat’s journey to her source of water easier as well as making sure that the source of water is always full and available.

If you’re sleeping or otherwise unavailable when your cat’s water source is empty, though, her water source won’t always be kept full and ready. To remedy this, keep a number of water sources available for her around the house.

You can think big, too—install a cat water fountain and make getting a drink of water a new, exciting and continuous experience for your cat.

While we’re on the topic of providing your feline with an entertaining drinking experience, another factor you need to consider is that cats tend to be picky and it’s no secret.

So, if your cat doesn’t drink from the water you give it, then it might just want different-tasting water. One way you can give your cat what it truly wants is to simply let it drink water from the faucet.

When looking for Sub Q alternatives, you can also consider catnip, a cat owner’s bet of choice for a number of occasions, including hydration. When it comes to increasing your cat’s voluntary water intake, all you’ll have to do is mix loose catnip with water and the rest is up to her.

3- Adding More Canned Food to Your Cat’s Diet

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In cases where your cat isn’t hydrating itself properly or is simply aging and has encountered Chronic Renal Failure, you may be tempted to change her diet entirely into a diet that’s infinitely more hydrating.

You won’t need to change your cat’s diet in its entirety, though. In fact, all you’ll have to do is to add more canned food so your pet’s fluid intake will improve. One can of wet food is made up of 70% to 80% of water, upping your furry friend’s fluid intake in no time.

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4- Being Creative With Adding Liquids to Your Cat’s Meals

What’s a sure-fire way to get your cat to unknowingly hydrate? Getting its attention through a creative meal that includes a lot of water or is essentially liquid in nature.

A great example of this is adding a small amount of either chicken or beef broth to your cat’s source of water, which will tempt it to increase its water intake.

If your cat is a fan of cold water, you can pour some of the broth into an ice-cube tray, tossing a couple of these ice cubes into her bowl of water when you’re changing the water.

5- Introducing Your Cat to Goat Milk

The Honest Kitchen Instant Goat's Milk with Probiotics for Dogs and Cats 5.2 oz

Some cats just aren’t big on drinking water. And if your cat falls into that category, you can tempt it into hydrating and avoiding Sub Q fluid injections by indulging in some goat milk.

Not only will goat milk hydrate your cat, but it’s also incredibly rich in minerals, vitamins, electrolytes, and much more. Your cat is also less likely to be allergic to it, considering it’s a relatively new substance in its diet.

6- Soaking Dry Food in Water

Although we did mention that adding more canned, wet food to your cat’s diet will help with its water intake, some cats aren’t huge fans of canned foods. To combat this, you can give your cat the dry food it prefers…with the only difference being that you’ll soak it with water.

This is a great way to increase your cat’s water intake, while also giving it a twist on its favorite type of food. If you’re concerned about how much water to soak the dry food with, you’ll only have to take the amount of water your cat needs into consideration.

Related: What Are The Top Alternatives to Clavamox for Cats?

7- Giving Your Cat Foods Rich in Sodium To Prompt Her to Hydrate

If you’re looking for different methods to get your furry friend to voluntarily hydrate, you might want to try adding a lot more sodium-rich foods into its diet. As you increase the portion of sodium in your feline’s diet, she’ll be more likely to drink on her own to combat the taste and quench her thirst.

This approach, however, isn’t for all cats. If your cat has conditions that are sensitive to sodium, such as Chronic Renal Disease, cardiac disease, or hypertension, it’s better if she steers clear from sodium-heavy diets.

8- Electrolyte Supplements

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You can try your hand at giving your cat some electrolyte supplements to help with its fluid intake. Not only will this make your (and your cat’s) life much easier when it comes to cat hydration, it will also provide her with lost nutrients in a tasty array of flavors.

Related: Top alternatives to Metacam for cats

To Wrap It All Up

When it comes to your pet’s health, you can find many different alternatives to Sub Q fluids for cats. Most of these alternative choices are natural and easy to get and to give to your cat.

To avoid the Sub Q fluids route, you can either give your cat the same fluids orally or add fluid-rich canned food to her diet. You can also keep various water sources around your home, add fluids to your cat’s food, give your cat some goat milk, or soak her dry food with water.

Other solutions for you to try with your cat are increasing the sodium in her diet, letting her drink water from the tap, giving her electrolyte supplements, and mixing her water with catnip. 

With all these different options, you can hydrate your cat without having to go through the hassle (or making your cat go through any discomfort) of the Sub Q fluids’ process!