Every cat has their own individual personality, likes and dislikes and this extends to their drinking habits. Some cats prefer to drink straight out of the tap, others are water shy only drinking when you're not watching, and of course there's the cat that suffers from FOMO who must only drink what you're drinking. Any cat parent knows (and loves) their cat's ways and notices the slightest change. If you've noticed your cat is drinking a lot of water recently and are wondering if it's cause for concern, you're in the right place. Read on to understand how much your cat should be drinking, what could be causing their increased thirst, and what you can do about it.
And for a fun weekend activity, we've included a fun guide to making tuna popsicles for your kitty's delight.
How much water should a cat drink a day?
As every cat is different, how much water they need differs. The majority of your cat's water intake will come from their diet. Your cat's diet will dictate how much additional water they need. If your cat feasts mainly on dry cat food, they'll likely drink more than a cat who's diet consists mainly of wet food. Wet cat food recipes are as the name suggests more moist, containing as much as 80% water, whilst dry cat foods can contain less than 10%. As well as what food your cat eats, other factors like your cat's size, along with if you have a pregnant cat, their activity level, age, breed and life stage will affect their water requirements. An active outdoor kitty will need to quench their thirst more frequently than an indoor kitty.
As a general rule of thumb, cats that eat dry food should drink around 70g to 127g a day for every 2.3kg of body weight.
How do you know if your cat is drinking too much water?
Polydipsia is the medical term for increased thirst, often followed by increased urination. If your cat wee's outdoors, it's more difficult to determine if your kitty is drinking too much water. Thankfully, there are a few simple signs you can look out for:
- You're having to fill their water bowl more frequently
- You notice they're drinking from places they don't normally, i.e the toilet (yes, ew)
- You notice watery vomit near their water bowl
- Your cat is going to the litter box or outside more frequently, with a larger volume of urine
- Weeing in spots they wouldn't normally
If you're one for precise measurement, you can also start weighing their water bowl at the start and end of each day to see exactly what your cat's consumption level is. If you have more than one fur baby, this method won't work.
Why is my cat drinking a lot of water?
There are a number of reasons why your cat might start drinking lots of water. We've split them into two groups, environmental and biological. Let's start with the former...
Environmental factors can be slightly easier to identify, such as warmer weather. Just as you start drinking more in the heat, so will your cat, so it's quite normal to see increased drinking in summer. Even if your kitty stays indoors chilling in front of the fan! Equally if you turn up your heating a little too high in winter, this could cause your kitty to feel thirstier. If you have a particularly active cat any warmer temperatures will exacerbate their drinking habits.
Has your cat changed their diet recently? If you have recently moved your cat from wet to dry food, or to a combination of dry and wet food, this can impact your cat's drinking habits.
Environmental factors are perfectly normal and no cause for concern but there are occasions when your cat's drinking habits could indicate a health issue and warrant a trip to the vets. These include:
- Kidney Disease (CKD) - other symptoms to watch out for are weight loss, eating less and vomiting
- Hyperthyroidism/Endocrine Disease - this disease equally causes hyperactivity, sickness and diarrhoea
- Diabetes mellitus - symptoms include eating less, lethargy and fur changes
- Urinary tract infection - you may also notice your cat peeing more frequently and in strange places, smelling of urine or visibly in pain
- Fever - your cat will have a high temperature and lethargy
As your kitty ages, they're more susceptible to health issues like kidney disease. Approximately 20-25% of cats over 15 years of age suffer from some kind of CKD. It's therefore quite typical that older cats will start to drink more water.
The final factor that could be causing your cat to drink more is if they're on any medication. Drugs such as sildenafil (viagra), often prescribed for pets with heart conditions, or steroids, both have the common side effect of increased thirst.
Is your cat's drinking habits a sign of illness?
If you're concerned about your cat's drinking habits and worried it's a sign of poor health, we recommend you speak to your vet. They'll want to understand if your cat is displaying any other symptoms, and if you've made any changes in their diet or lifestyle. They may also ask for a urine sample to analyse. Check out this guide below on how to collect one.
What to do if your cat is drinking a lot
Whatever you do, DO NOT remove your cat's access to water. Cats should have fresh water available at all times. The Drinking water isn't the problem, it's a symptom. Focus on unearthing the cause and helping your kitty live their best life, healthily!
What about if your cat isn't drinking enough?
It's more common that your cat may not be drinking enough water. Don't fret as there are some fun ways to encourage more drinking. Put out fresh water regularly, introduce some delicious wet cat food, and you could even try chilling it or popping some ice cubes in too.
Our friend Dr. Michael Lazarus has even done a guide on how to make some tuna cat popsicles which you could have a go making: