why do older cats drink a lot of water

Do you notice a change in your catБs water intake? The most obvious and common change is an increased intake of water called polydipsia. Animals, like people, typically drink for one reason Б because theyБre thirsty. On average, cats and dogs alike drink between 10-30 ml per pound per day. This amount can be impacted by the amount of moisture in the food, and water loss associated with exercise and panting. Remember that canned foods contain as much as 80% moisture. All animals are a little different thus it is very important to know what is normal for your cat. However, in general, drinking more than 20 ml per pound per dayбis evidence of polydipsia, according to. б б
So why would your cat begin to drink excessively? There are 3 basic reasons for excess thirst: Environmental causes may include excess heat, which results in panting as a natural cooling method, and leads to water loss that needs replacement. Vomiting and diarrhea also result in excess water loss that is generally compensated for by normally functioning kidneys. A diet change from canned to dry food, or to a dry ration with more salt, could result in increased thirst that really is appropriate. Pathologic causes involve conditions that cause ongoing excess water loss. The body senses the problem and the response of excess thirst is an attempt to replenish the loss. Unlike environmental causes, pathologic water losses tend to be more ongoing. The most common causes of excessive water loss are: Б in which the kidneys are unable to regulate fluid balance properly. They fail to reabsorb water and so excessive water is urinated away Б which is characterized by high levels of sugar (glucose) in the blood. As this glucose overflows into the urine it carries with it large volumes of water. Hormonal or Б such as primary (central) dibetes insipidusб or renal (nephrogenic)б diabetes insipidus. Both impact the ability of the kidneys to reabsorb water. In these two conditions the kidneys are not stimulated by or cannot respond to antidiureticб hormone (ADH) so fluids simply cannot be reabsorbed from the kidneys. Behavioral causes of excess thirst are usually suspected when other conditions have been excluded. These are considered unusual in cats but have been linked to, which is quite common in older cats and can cause increased As the weather starts to warm up a cats water requirements naturally increase.


P However, cats are very adept at masking signs of illness and often it is only very subtle changes in their behaviour (eg. increased drinking) that are early indicators of serious diseases. P This can make it quite difficult to tell whether your cat is drinking more due to the time of year, or an indication of an underlying problem (eg. diabetes). How much water should my cat drink? A cat should drink on average 60mls/kg per day of water. That means a 4kg cat should be drinking approximately 240mls a day (about one cup) to ensure their body functions properly. P However, when determining the volume of drinking water required under normal circumstances, we need to take into consideration your cat's diet. Wet or canned food contains about 80% water where as dry food contains about 10%. A 4kg cat solely eating canned food may only need to drink about 30ml of water per day where as the same cat eating only dry food would need to drink more than 200ml of water per day. If you are unsure, your veterinary health care team would be happy to provide advice on how much your cat should be drinking, taking into consideration their diet. P When should I be concerned? It is often difficult to measure accurately exactly how much your cat has been drinking, especially if there are multiple cats or other animals in the household. Other signs that can indicate an underlying disease process include the following. Drinking from unusual locations (eg. fish pond or shower). Please note - this is quite normal for some cats so doesnt necessarily indicate disease. Increase in urination frequency (eg. full kitty litter or accidents in the house overnight) When to call the vet and what to expect from a visit? If you suspect your cat's water intake has increased or are unsure, a thorough check over by your veterinarian is highly recommended as the sooner a disease is identified, the better the prognosis. P Your vet will most likely also recommend some pathology tests requiring a blood and/ or urine sample to help determine the cause of the polydipsia (increased drinking).


A general blood profile can provide information on kidney and liver enzymes, glucose levels and also assess the health of the red and white blood cells. Further blood tests can be run, when indicated, to assess thyroid hormone levels. A great deal of information can also be obtained from a urine sample from your cat - including the presence of glucose, blood, protein and the concentration of the urine sample. You may be requested to collect a sample from home not an easy task but achievable if your cat uses a litter tray. P When your cat urinates, place the urine in a clean glass jar or a urine collection container (you can pick one up from your vet clinic)P If possible, get the urine sample to the clinic within 1 hour from collection or place it in the fridge and get it to the clinic within 12 hours. P What are the potential problems of a thirsty cat? All of these diseases are serious, but early detection and treatment improve the outcome dramatically. How can I get my cat to drink more? Cats are very fussy about things in general and water is no exception. P Male cats especially benefit from drinking sufficient water to help prevent urinary tract disease. Older cats are less inclined to drink water and are subsequently more likely to become dehydrated. They are also likely to have underlying diseases processes requiring a greater fluid intake. Accordingly, you should encourage your cat to drink sufficient water all year round to help prevent disease (and especially in summer). Cats like fresh water the same as we do and prefer water changed daily. Purchasing a pet water fountain can provide constant fresh water and some mental stimulation for your feline friend. Plastic bowls can make water taste funny to cats and often swapping to a glass, ceramic or stainless steel bowl can make it more attractive. Changing their diet to include some wet food (contact your veterinarian first to determine the most appropriate food for your cat). In the warmer months, ice cubes help to both cool the water and provide a source of entertainment. A thirsty cat could be an unwell cat, so it is vitally important that you contact your veterinary health care team to discuss any concerns that you have. P

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