Gatorade is an energy drink that was specifically designed to help athletes stay hydrated longer so they can perform at their best. Doesn’t sound like something cats should be drinking, does it?
So, can cats drink Gatorade and will it help if they’re dehydrated? The answer is yes and no. But it’s mostly a ‘no’. A sip or two isn’t going to cause a health concern. But cats shouldn’t drink Gatorade as there are far too many ingredients in it that are bad for them.
What Is in Gatorade?
If you look at the label on Gatorade, you’ll see the following ingredients listed:
- Citric Acid
- Natural and Artificial Flavor
- Sodium Citrate
- Monopotassium Phosphate
- Modified Food Starch
- Glycerol Ester of Rosin
- Blue 1
That may not look too bad. But the salt and sodium, in particular, are very bad for cats. The electrolytes would help with dehydration, but there are better and safer ways to help a dehydrated cat as I will explain in this article.
Why Your Cat Drinking Gatorade Is Different Than You Drinking Gatorade
From a purely functional standpoint, Gatorade will act in the same way in your cat as it does when you drink it. Cats benefit from electrolytes just as we do, and it’ll help keep them hydrated and can help with diarrhea.
The problem, however, is that some of the ingredients are potentially harmful to cats. The sugar, sodium, and artificial flavorings in particular as very bad for cats.
When you take into account how much smaller than us cats are, the amounts of these ingredients are magnified many times compared to what we’re absorbing.
Can Cats Drink Anything Other Than Water?
The only two drinks people should associate with cats is water and milk. Obviously, water is fine. In fact, it’s the best fluid for cats and they should be drinking water every day.
Milk is actually not good for cats. Most cats are lactose intolerant, and their intolerance increases are they get older. Meaning milk can cause them some serious discomfort and stomach issues.
So, in a nutshell, you should only be giving your cat water to drink. Plenty of fresh water every day. Forget what you may have seen and heard about milk, it’s a bad idea.
Related: Can cats drink from water bottles?
What You Should Be Doing for a Dehydrated Cat
Dehydration in cats is very serious and needs to be addressed right away if you suspect they are dehydrated for any reason. It can be fatal for a cat to go as long as 7 days without water.
Most cases of dehydration are linked to another health issue, so seeking the advice of a vet is always the correct thing to do. If you do, the vet will give them fluids subcutaneously (beneath their skin) as this is the fastest way to rehydrate them. Then you can find out why they were dehydrated and tackle that problem.
If it’s more of an ongoing issue with your cat not drinking enough rather than a medical issue, there are some steps you can take. It’s likely going to be something to do with their water bowl, try some of the following:
- Adding more water bowls around your home
- Providing running water with a cat fountain (most cats prefer running water)
- Try putting out colder water
- Try different sizes and shapes of bowl
If your cat is still not drinking enough and you’ve ruled out physical problems, there is likely a psychological issue. You may have to contact a pet therapist if your vet is unable to help any further.
Can Cats Drink Gatorade? – In Summary
Cats can drink a sip or two without having any adverse effects. In fact, while researching this topic to put as much information into this post as possible, I read plenty of accounts from cat owners saying their cats enjoy a little Gatorade.
I’m not judging those cat owners, but personally, I’d never let my cats drink Gatorade just because they enjoy it. I tend to stick to kitty treats designed for cats rather than human foods they like, such as ham, cheese, crackers, and so on.
If you’re considering Gatorade because you think your cat is dehydrated, taking them to a vet is a much smarter thing to do. The sodium and sugar content is a cause for concern in Gatorade.