Causes of Increased Drinking in Cats

Why Cats Drink More

Is your cat sitting in front of the water bowl and lapping up water as he never did before? Is your cat excessively thirsty however, it is not too hot? Is your cat urinating a lot lately? Well, if indeed it is not particularly hot outside and your cat did not exercise more than usual nor has he eaten anything very salty, you may suspect something odd is going on.

The medical term for cats drinking more is ''polydypsia'' while the medical term of cats urinating more is called ''polyuria''. Of course, cats drinking more will tend to urinate more, so these conditions are mostly seen hand in hand.

Cats on dry food tend to drink more than cats on wet food. If you have recently switched your cat from a wet diet to a completely dry one this could be a valid explanation, but if your cat has always been on dry yet, that water bowl is more empty than usual without any of the above scenarios, suspect your cat's body is attempting to flush something out.

The great thing about both human and pet bodies is that every time there is a harmful substance circulating in the body, the body will automatically try to flush it out as soon as possible. The body sends an alert to the brain and the brain elicits the pet or person to drink more.

Of course, drinking more causes the bladder to fill more with water and therefore, the pet will be seen urinating much more. In some scenarios, the cat's bladder may be so full, the cat may have accidents in the home, even if he/she has a history of being perfectly house trained! Do not blame your cat for such accidents, it is very likelty that something is going on health wise.

How Much is Too Much?

Generally, a 10 pound cat would drink up to about 2 cups and a half of water each day. That is, 20 to 40 milliliters per pound of body weight per day. Try to fill your cat's water bowl with double the amount you came up with. At the end of the day then take the water bowl away and empty the contents in a measuring cup. Subtract this to the original amount. This will give you an idea if your cat is drinking more than it should.

Of course, to be effective and accurate, this test must be done with only one water source. All other sources should be avoided, thus, toilet  bowl lids should be put down, and faucets should be closed.

However, keep in mind that there are several factors to keep in mind such as diet, climate, exercise levels, etc. So this method may not be that accurate.

Another good indicator that your cat is drinking more is a soaked litter box. The litter box will appear much more wet than normal. If you change the litter box each day, you will have an idea of when the litter is much more wet than normal.

Of course, seeing your cat emptying the water bowl in a way you have ever seen before raises suspicion without the need to check the litter box or measure how much the cat drinks. A cat suddenly interested in faucets, toilet bowls and cups filled with water also raises suspicion.

Some cats may even resort to urinating around the home. These cats are not being naughty, rather, they are really having accidents around the house because of a health issue. This can happen to even the best house trained cat!

Causes of Increased Drinking in Cats

So now that you know that your cat is drinking more, why is this happening? What is behind this abnormal, yet frustrating behavior? We know that there must be something accumulating in the body which is trying to be flushed out, but what exactly? Below are some possibilities

  • Diabetes

Your cat is drinking more to flush out excessive glucose from the blood. Many diabetic cats are obese cats. If the disease is caught in time, in some cases, once the cat is put on a better diet and put on an exercise regimen that may be all needed for the pet to recover. However, if the condition has gone far, then the cat may require daily insulin injections.

  • Kidney Failure

Your cat is drinking more in an attempt to flush out the waste products that otherwise would be taken care of by the kidney. The urine appears diluted, often losing its typical yellow color and appearing as water instead. Since the kidneys are failing, these waste products will be lingering in the body causing general malaise.

  • Hyperthyroidism

Your cat is drinking more in an attempt to flush out the excessive thyroid hormone T4, circulating in the body. This hormone causes a variety of symptoms such as a in some cases also vomiting and diarrhea a ravenous appetite, however, the cat loses weight.

  • Urinary Tract Infection

Your cat is drinking and urinating more to flush harmful bacteria from the urinary tract. Often affected cats may urinated frequently and strain, producing only a few drops of urine sometimes mixed with blood. In severe cases, the cat may not produce any urine at all. In male cats this is a blockage and it can be life threatening if not treated promptly.

  • Pyometra

Your cat is drinking more in an attempt to flush out bacterial toxins derived from an infected uterus. This condition occurs in unspayed cats. This condition is an emergency that can turn fatal if not treated promptly. Usually other accompanying symptoms are vomiting, vaginal discharge (depending if open or closed pyometra), lethargy and lack of appetite. Always suspect Pyometra if your unspayed cat is not acting right a few weeks after her last heat.

  • Cushing Disease

Your cat is drinking more to flush out excessive levels of the hormone Cortisol produced by the adrenal glands. This condition is pretty rare in cats, but it should be considered if all other causes have been ruled out.

  • Cancer

Your cat is drinking more to flush out excessive calcium in the blood due to cancer. Hypercalcemia raises a red flag when blood work is run. Cancer causes calcium from the bones to leak into the blood stream.

As seen, the possibilities can be various, and this is why you want to have your cat seen by a veterinarian to assess the most likely causes. A series of diagnostic tests may be required before your vet may come to a diagnosis. A good place to start is by providing a urine sample so the vet may run a urinalysis. The vet may then run a blood test, chemistry panel and T4 test.

Is your cat attracted to puddles all of a sudden?

How to Collect Urine Sample

While collecting urine from a dog may be quite easy, how can you collect urine from a cat? There are several ways:

  1. Catch it

Watch your cat in the litter box and try to slip a small cup under when the cat goes if your cat is comfortable enough in going with your presence. A ruler attached to a cup may make an extended form so you can be a bit far from your cat to be discrete. However, most cats will not allow any intereference withtheir privacy when using thelitter box.

2. Lentil beans

Take away all the cat's litter in the litter pan and replace it with lentil beans. These beans are small enough to appear in a cat's eyes almost as gravel, but their advantage is that they do not absorb urine. Tilt the litter pan to a side and collect a good amount of urine with a syringe and place in a sterile container.

3. Stryrofoam Packing Peanuts

You know those peanuts used for packing? These can be used as a substitute for lentil beans. They work in the same manner, not absorbing the urine.

4. Acquarium pebbles

These works as well in the same exact matter as lentil beans.

You can also try to use unpopped popcorn kernels or ask your vet for a non absorbent special litter.

All urine samples must be fresh, not older than 4 hours old preferably refrigerated. Never freeze a urine sample.For further clarification at the front desk, add a sticker on the sterile container with pet's name and time the urine was collected.

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