Ask the vet: Sailor Jerry

RACQ, in partnership with Animal Welfare League Queensland, can help solve your pet problems.

RACQ, in partnership with Animal Welfare League Queensland, can help solve your pet problems.

Got a curly problem with your favourite pooch? Is your cat being too catty?

While animals can bring much joy into our lives, they are not always problem free. If there is an animal issue that you need help to solve, send your question to via RACQ to the Animal Welfare League Queensland experts, to find the answer.

Sailor Jerry

I am in the process of purchasing a small yacht to become our new home. Jerry is our 17-year-old male cat. He does not have any kidney issues, but he does drink a good amount of water. In general, he has very good health.

Could you tell me how to compensate for the extra salt he may take in from licking his paws and licking his coat while on the boat?

Is there a supplement that I can add to his water to alleviate or eliminate the extra salt intake??

Any information would be greatly appreciated please, as I want him to have a fun and stress-free senior life.

I see they make doggy life jackets — do you know if there are any made for cats?

AWLQ Experts say

This is a somewhat unusual question! Generally, if a cat has access to good drinking water he should be able to compensate for extra intake by excreting the excess via the kidneys. I would think that this should be sufficient, but if he gets drenched you could wash him off with fresh water so that he doesn’t lick off the salt as the sea water dries.

You could also watch for symptoms of salt toxicity which can include vomiting, diarrhoea, tremors, seizures, lethargy, and coma.

It would also be advisable to consider why he is drinking a lot of water. As a rough guide cats if a cat drinks more than 40mls per Kg bodyweight in each 24-hour period then we would consider this excessive and worth investigating. A work up by your vet including blood tests and urinalysis is a good start. Apart from kidney failure (the first thing you would want to rule out in an old cat), other things like diabetes and hyperthyroidism need to be considered.

There are life jackets for cats but people find that they have varying rates of success in getting their cats to keep them on. A falling overboard accident could happen at any moment and I imagine that he wouldn’t want to wear one at all times. People have recommended trailing a strip of carpet over the side so that if they did end up in the sea they could climb back up. Some even take them swimming to train them to find the carpet or rope and use it.

The best option to keep him happy and healthy in his senior life would be to take a vet with you on your sailing adventure. I am available…

What’s your question?

Send your pet questions to roadahead@racq.com.au and Animal Welfare League Queensland‘s experts will provide the answers. Letters will not receive an individual reply and should be no more than 120 words.

AWLQ work with local councils, state government, rescue groups and the community to improve the outcomes for stray and surrendered pets.