Cats are not known to be prolific water drinkers so if they are drinking a lot of water this could be a sign of a serious health issue. These health issues can include hyperthyroidism, diabetes, or kidney disease. If you notice that your cat is drinking more than they usually do, then it may be time to take your cat in to see the vet find out the reason why they are drinking more.
What is normal for a cat to drink?
Typically a cat does not drink a lot of water but how much they do drink can be influenced by many factors. To replace six percent of their body weight, it will take a cat twenty-four hours for them to do that. For every gram of dry food that a cat eats they will generally drink two millimeters of water. If they eat wet food, they will drink less water. Normally a cat will drink two to four ounces of water a day.
Increased drinking symptoms
- Making more trips to get a drink from their water bowl than usual for them.
- Their water bowl needs refilled more often
- Drinking from unusual places they have not done so from before.
What to look for as abnormal drinking?
The cat’s threshold for excessive drinking of water, which is called polydipsia, is up to a cup a day. When a cat drinks excessively it could be due to a change in its diet or environmental conditions. It could also be due to a change in routine or location.
Possible reasons for drinking a lot of water
When a cat seems to have excessive thirst, there can be a variety of health issues that cause it. Most of these reasons involve the urinary tract and kidneys. Concentrated urine can be caused by dehydration, which can happen as your cat tries to balance its hydration. There is something wrong if your cat has to dilute urine and is dehydrated. If it is accompanied by excessive urination and weight loss, it could be kidney disease or diabetes mellitus.
Another disease that has overlapping symptoms is hyperthyroidism. Excessive thirst can also be caused by renal failure. The only way to determine what the cause is for excessive thirst is to have a physical exam, blood test, and urinalysis done at the veterinarian’s office.
It could be due to a diet change. If they are used to eating just dry foods and then they are being given some tasty crunchy foods, it could be that the new food is making them very thirsty so they are drinking more. Wet cat foods contain as much as seventy-five percent water while dry cat foods only have six to ten percent water. They will sometimes drink more to compensate for the lack of water in what they are eating. If you are feeding your cat more dry foods than wet foods you can correct this by adding more wet food and less dry food. If you notice after making this adjustment that your cat is still drinking excessively you should check with your vet.
It could also be environmental causes that can include excessive heat resulting in panting which is their natural way of cooling themselves.
How to diagnosis excessive thirst
When you take your cat to the vet, they will run urine and blood tests to evaluate their kidney function. They will also be checking for hyperthyroidism, liver disease, and diabetes. They will do a complete blood count to check for infections or anemia. The vet may have to do specialized lab tests for other diseases of the endocrine system.
The outcome of the health issues that can cause excessive thirst and drinking a lot of water will vary.
- If it is diabetes, it can be managed but not cured. Depending on what stage a cat is diagnosed with will determine the treatment. Treatment may require trial and error to get it right. This is especially true with insulin costs and feeding.
- Kidney disease—unfortunately, it is progressive and irreversible. You may be required to put your cat on a special diet and have certain procedures done. Particularly in advanced cases, complications may escalate
- Hyperthyroidism—this can be treated with surgery and medication
- Renal failure—this is the second cause of feline death. This is generally diagnosed around the age of seven but as they age, the risk increases. Cats that are diagnosed with this disease generally die within three years after being diagnosed.
- Since cats do not drink a lot of water they are at a higher risk for kidney issues, kidney stones, urinary tract infections, and dehydration
- Cats prefer running water that is fresh so make sure that you clean and fill their water bowls each day. You can also purchase a circulating water system to entice them to drink more.
- To increase their water consumption, you can add water to their dry food.
One thing to remember is that every cat is different. Every cat will drink various amounts of water. This can be due to environmental factors, health conditions, and lifestyle. For example, a cat may not drink as much if they live inside a cool home. An active cat that spends a lot of time outside on hot days will drink more. As mentioned it is normal for a cat to drink two to four ounces of water a day. The best way to tell if your cat is drinking a lot of water is to watch them. Watch to see if they are displaying any other symptoms of a disease such as diabetes, kidney disease, or hyperthyroidism. Remember if there has been a change in their diet where they are eating more dry food than wet food, they are making up for the lack of water in their dry food. If this is the case, give them more wet food.
Any questions or concerns, you should take your cat to the vet for evaluation.