Can I Give My Cat Gatorade?
Researchers from the University of Florida created Gatorade at the request of the assistant football coach to help the performance of the university’s team, the Gators.
Some even attributed their victory in the Orange Bowl of 1967 to the benefits of Gatorade. The actual reasons behind their victory probably rest on more than merely being more hydrated than their opponents, but the drink was specifically developed to combat dehydration.
Although we are not all athletes of the level of the Gators many of us use Gatorade to stay well hydrated while we train. Cats, just like humans, are also susceptible to dehydration and they can’t walk to the store to pick up a bottle of Gatorade.
Can I Give My Cat Gatorade? Answer: Yes, to Prevent Dehydration
Gatorade is never a substitute for water, but it can be used to replenish nutrients in cats that suffer from dehydration. Gatorade has evolved into many variations and gone through a series of re-branding campaigns, but for the purpose of the article it refers to the original version of the drink. It consists of water, sugar, dextrose, citric acid, salt, sodium citrate, monopotassium phosphate, and a combination of natural and artificial flavors.
The composition is specifically designed to make re-hydration more effective and the additional sugars are added to be consumed during physical activity. Therefore, it is also effective for re-hydrating cats.
Dehydration can have severe consequences for cats and humans alike. Cats that suffer from bouts of vomiting and diarrhea should of course be seen by a vet. However, they can be given a bit of Gatorade to help them replenish the nutrients and fluids that they are constantly losing. Domestic cats evolved in fairly dry climates and are not big drinkers, so giving them Gatorade in some cases may protect them from dehydration.
How to Give Gatorade
Flavors like lemon-lime and cherry rush are not going to encourage any cat to take a sip. Until the unlikely event that they make rabbit flavored Gatorade, your feline friend will avoid drinking it, regardless of how thirsty they are. If you need to give a dehydrated cat Gatorade you will have to either force it in them or trick them into drinking it. You can hold their mouths open and use a syringe to force them to drink a bit of Gatorade, but cats do not take kindly to this type of behavior.
It is probably easier to dilute the Gatorade solution by mixing it with their regular water. A cat will probably drink a mix of around 25 percent Gatorade and 75 percent water. You might have to test it out to see what your specific pet thinks about the mixture.
Homemade Gatorade for Cats
The essentials that make Gatorade so beneficial for re-hydration can be mimicked quite simply. Add about one teaspoon of sugar and a pinch of salt to a pint of water and pour it into the cat’s water bowl. Sugar and salt are the active ingredients in Gatorade. The advantage of the homemade version of Gatorade is that it is cheaper and has less coloring and flavoring agents. The taste of the water also should not be affected very much by the added salt and sugar. Pedialyte, a product that is used to combat dehydration in children, can also be used to re-hydrate cats. It also has a flavorless version which may be more to their liking.
Watch the Salt
Cats have a delicate balance of electrolytes and giving them too much salt can result in the disruption of this balance. The salt content of a bit of Gatorade should not cause them any difficulty, but drinking Gatorade for extended periods of time is almost sure to disrupt this balance.
Watch the Sugar
Gatorade contains quite a bit of sugar which it not a usual nutrient in the feline diet. Sugar won’t have any negative effects if used on the rare occasion that your cat may be dehydrated, but if added to their diet regularly it can cause problems.
Although generally not willing to drink it out of their own volition, cats will not normally have any problems drinking Gatorade. In fact, it can actually help cats overcome dehydration by providing the nutrients that their body craves at that moment. It is not a substitute for water, however, because the sugar and salt contents are too high to be consumed by cats on a regular basis.