Why Does My Cat Drink Lots of Water?

Find out what a vet recommends for a cat who drinks excessive amounts of water.

By Elaine Wexler-Mitchell, D.V.M.

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Lynx Cat Drinks Water
Q. What does it mean if my cat drinks excessive amounts of water?

Elaine Wexler-Mitchell, D.V.M., says: Drinking excessively (more than about a cup of water a day) is called polydipsia. It can be a sign of disease or a response to environmental conditions and diet. For example, the latter can mean cats who eat exclusively dry food drink more than those who eat canned because canned food contains mostly water. Some cats drink an excessive amount of water for attention or because they like the taste of fresh water flowing out of a spigot. Generally, though, cats are not big water drinkers.

If your cat increases her water consumption, she should be examined and undergo a urinalysis. A urinalysis will reveal if the cats kidneys are properly functioning, if infection of the urinary tract is present, or whether or not the cat has diabetes mellitus. A blood test gives additional information on these conditions.

Increased water consumption, increased urination, and weight loss are all signs typically found in cats with kidney disease or diabetes mellitus. Cats who drink a lot and are dehydrated should have concentrated urine with a low water content because the animals body naturally tries to conserve water and balance hydration. Dehydrated cats with dilute urine are in trouble. Kidney disease and diabetes are both manageable but not curable conditions, depending upon the stages they are diagnosed.

Read more about Cat Water Habits

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Reprinted from Ask the Vet About Cats © 2003. Permission granted by BowTie Press.
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Reader Comments

Carole    New Smyrna Beach, FL

8/10/2014 8:15:45 AM

My cat is 15 and seems to be drinking a lot of water, he is black and long hair and we do live in Fla so part of it is heat but I worry there are other problems. He doesn't seem stressed, doesn't seem to urinate any more than he has in the past, should I have him checked out, he eats good doesn't seem in any discomfort.

john    oxford, NY

7/27/2014 7:25:59 PM

and loved ones they are

Branda    Fullerton, CA

7/1/2014 2:31:30 AM

My cat Shredder just turned 16 in human years. We found out just last year that he has cancer, he has had multiple surgeries now but the doctors already told us no matter how much cancer they cut away unfortunately the cancer will return. When I searched why he is drinking so much water lately I kinda already had an idea it had to do with the cancer. I more came on here to share my story and hope I can help others find the cancer sooner in their loved one. I'm just enjoying the time I have left with this strong sole, I wish everyone the best with their furry loved ones.

Jamie    Pittsburgh, PA

1/17/2014 9:07:34 PM

Diabetes in cats is actually curable. My cat had it for less than a year when he was 8. We switched him to diabetic cat food, and gave him insulin shots twice a day. We regularly monitored his blood levels with a glucose machine recommended by our vet. We noticed his levels started to go lower, and we'd decrease his insulin. After time, he no longer needed insulin to maintain normal levels. He is now 13 and his diabetes has never resurfaced. This might be rare, but it is possible with early diagnoses, diet change, insulin & blood monitoring.

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