If your cat is drinking a lot more water than usual, the cause isn’t always obvious. Common reasons can range from warm weather to changing their type of pet food.
A more serious underlying health issue may also be to blame. Read on to learn more about what causes cats to consume excessive amounts of water, and what you can do about it.
How Much Water Should a Cat Drink?
Every cat’s needs are different. How much water they drink depends on individual factors related to their environment and overall health. Active felines who spend their days exploring and playing will likely need to hydrate more often than a less energetic cat.
A convenient formula for daily intake (no matter your cat’s size) is four ounces of water per five pounds of body weight. So, a 10-pound cat needs around one cup of water per day.
Consider this basic equation, plus factors unique to your cat, when determining how much water they should be drinking.
Signs Your Cat is Drinking Excessive Water
If you know how much liquid your cat’s water dish holds and can remember how often you’ve filled it, you can estimate if they’re imbibing more than usual. Perhaps a simpler approach, however, is to watch for some basic changes in behavior.
If your cat starts drinking from a wet tap or other unusual water sources, this could be a sign of increased thirst. Another obvious indicator is lapping up the contents of their water dish more often over an extended period—and still wanting more.
How to Know if Your Cat is Sick
On its own, drinking more water than normal doesn’t necessarily mean your cat is ill, although it’s still a good idea to talk to your veterinarian about it. If you do notice increased thirst, watch for other shifts in behavior that may be occurring at the same time. Together, they can be symptoms of a larger health issue.
Is your cat eating more or less than average? Is their overall demeanor different? Are they overly lethargic or experiencing diarrhea? If you notice these symptoms in addition to excessive drinking, seek medical attention for them as soon as possible.
Illnesses That Can Cause Increased Drinking
In some instances, a cat drinking a lot of water may be a sign of polydipsia, or significant thirst caused by disease or psychological trauma.
In felines, polydipsia can be related to different endocrine and infectious diseases, as well as hormonal and metabolic disorders. Common examples include kidney disease, diabetes mellitus, hyperthyroidism and urinary tract disease.
Why is My Cat Drinking so Much Water?
While disease is one possible explanation for excessive water consumption, there may be other, less concerning reasons as well.
- Increased Activity
Just like humans, cats need to hydrate more when they’ve been physically active. If your cat has been playing more than usual, they’ll likely make extra trips to their water dish.
- Warmer Temperatures
Hotter weather may affect your pet’s thirst, especially if they spend a lot of time outside.
- No Longer Eating Wet Food
As cats grow older, their habits and behavior may start to change, including water intake. Keep in mind, though, they also become more vulnerable to illness with age, so increased thirst in an older cat might be a sign of a medical problem such as hyperthyroidism and kidney disease.
What You Can Do About Excessive Water Drinking
If you’re concerned about your cat’s increased water consumption, consider environmental factors such as heat and physical activity. Also watch for other changes in their health and demeanor for clues. While the change in thirst may be temporary, make sure to contact your veterinarian for advice.