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Michael Dym, V.M.D.
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Why Is My Cat Suddenly Drinking A Lot Of Water?

Why is cat drinking a lot

Has your cat been taking more trips to their water bowl lately? Do you find yourself topping off their water bowl more than usual?
Cats need to take in just 7-9 ounces of water per 10 pounds of body weight per day, and some of it can come from the moisture content in their food. Since cats typically avoid showing signs of pain or illness, increased water drinking is often one of the first signs you’ll notice when your cat is unwell.

What Can Cause Increased Water Drinking In Cats?

Chronic kidney disease affects 1 in 3 cats in their lifetime. It can affect cats at any age but your cat’s chances of developing it increase as they get older. Symptoms of chronic kidney disease in cats include increased thirst, increased urination, unexplained weight loss, lack of appetite, vomiting, lethargy, and cloudy or blood-tinged urine.
Unfortunately, by the time your cat has noticeable symptoms, they will have lost about ⅔ of their normal kidney function. Even so, with treatment and a specialty kidney diet, cats with chronic kidney disease can live comfortably for years.

Increased thirst is also associated with diabetes, which is more common in obese cats. Symptoms of diabetes also include unexplained weight loss despite increased hunger and increased urination. Diabetes can be life-threatening if left untreated, though it can be managed with a high-protein, low-carb diet and insulin, which may be administered in the form of daily injections or tablets.

Hyperthyroidism is another common health condition in cats that’s associated with increased water intake. Other symptoms include increased urination, increased appetite, vomiting, and diarrhea. Some cats with hyperthyroidism also develop an oily coat. Cats often make a complete recovery with treatment. Your vet may recommend medications, surgery, and/or radiation.

What To Do When Your Cat Suddenly Starts Drinking More Water

Any significant, unexplained change in your cat’s behavior warrants a vet visit. Since symptoms of different chronic health conditions can be very similar, but require different treatments and management plans, you will need your vet to diagnose your cat before you make any lifestyle or dietary changes. In the meantime, do not restrict your cat’s water intake, even if they have started to urinate outside of the litter box.