Cat drinking water

Key takeaway

Cats can become dehydrated for several reasons, including physical activity and summertime heat. However, if your cat is drinking a lot of water, it could indicate an underlying health concern. Monitoring your cat’s water intake while knowing the signs of illnesses that cause excessive thirst can help you determine when to take your cat to the vet for treatment.

Cat Drinking A Lot Of Water: What Does It Mean?

Cats typically drink more water in the warmer months to rehydrate themselves, especially if you like to keep them warm in your home. However, some days you might realize you’re filling up their water bowl more than usual. If your cat is drinking a lot of water, it could indicate a severe health concern. Most pet parents know how frequently they need to fill up their cat’s water bowl. Some people fill their cats’ bowls up once a day, every morning, while others fill their bowls up multiple times a day; it all depends on your cat’s regular drinking habits. However, if you’ve noticed your cat is drinking more than usual, it could be cause for concern. 

This article will discuss your cat’s drinking habits, including how much water cats should drink and reasons why your cat might be drinking a lot of water. Let’s get started.

How Much Water Should Cats Drink? 

To determine whether your cat is drinking too much water or not enough, you must understand how much water cats should drink. Ultimately, every cat should have around 3.5 to 4.5 ounces of water for every 5 pounds of weight.For example, if your cat weighs 15 pounds, they should be drinking anywhere from 10.5 to 13.5 ounces of water every day. 

How much water cats should drink

However, many cats drink more or less than that, depending on their activity level or many other factors. For example, cats that eat wet food might drink less water because they’re getting enough water through their food, while cats that eat kibble and live in warm climates will drink more water. 

It’s always best to understand your cat’s habits to determine whether or not they’re drinking more water than usual. Most cats drink similar amounts of water every day, depending on the seasons. For example, your cat might drink more water during the summer than in the winter. However, during those seasons, your cat should be drinking around the same amount of water each day. Of course, there are going to be some variations in their drinking schedule, depending on their activity level. 

Indications of excessive thirst

Indications Of Excessive Thirst

Dehydration is dangerous for cats and can cause health problems. Dehydration leads to decreased circulation, inability to control body temperature, cardiac arrhythmias, and more.However, if your cat is drinking a lot of water, it might be difficult for you to tell whether or not they’re dehydrated. Of course, if you’re filling up your cat’s bowl with fresh water every time they drink it all, it can be hard for your cat to become dehydrated. That being said, there are many ways your cat can become dehydrated, even with access to clean water. Signs of excessive thirst or dehydration in cats include: 

  • Drinking from their water bowl more often
  • Needing more water bowl refills than usual
  • Drinking from the toilet bowl, ponds, tap, etc.

What Causes Excessive Thirst In Cats?

While warm weather can force your cat to drink more water to prevent becoming dehydrated, the most common causes of excessive thirst in cats are existing medical illnesses.2 Of course, you can expect your cat to drink more water if they’ve recently started becoming more active, but if your cat hasn’t experienced any changes in food or physical activity, excessive thirst could indicate an underlying health concern. 

If your cat is drinking a lot of water, it could also be a symptom of medication being used to treat another illness. Some medications are diuretics that treat heart disease while making your cat more thirsty.  Some medical illnesses that can make your cat more prone to excessive thirst include:

Kidney disease

Kidney failure in cats can occur when your cat ingests heavy metals or toxins, but it can also be caused by other medical conditions, such as low blood pressure. Additionally, some medications can lead to kidney failure, including nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Signs of kidney disease in cats include increased urination and water intake because your cat’s kidneys can’t work properly to remove waste. Other signs of kidney disease include lack of appetite, nausea, and lethargy.

Diabetes mellitus

Diabetes is most common in overweight cats and occurs when your cat’s body can’t use glucose normally. Cat diabetes is most common in middle-aged or older cats, and common symptoms include excessive thirst and increased urination.Diabetic cats drink a lot of water due to the high sugar levels in their urine, which will lead to dehydration. Other symptoms of diabetes include weight loss, decreased appetite, and fatigue. 

What causes excessive thirst in cats

Hyperthyroidism

Hyperthyroidism in cats is when the thyroid gland is overactive and overproduces thyroid hormones. While hyperthyroidism is typically known as a metabolism-related disease, it can also affect other bodily functions and lead to increased thirst and urination in cats. Hyperthyroidism can lead to hypertension that affects the kidneys, so if you notice your cat is drinking more water and urinating frequently, schedule an appointment with your vet as soon as possible. 

Urinary tract disease

A cat drinking a lot of water may be suffering from a urinary tract infection (UTI) or disease, which can lead to increased urination as the body attempts to expel the bacteria causing the painful UTI. Cats with feline urinary tract disease (FLUTD) may urinate outside of the litter box because they can’t hold their urine. Additionally, cats with urinary tract infections may have blood in their urine or experience pain while urinating. 

Cat Drinking A Lot Of Water: FAQs

Should I be concerned if my cat drinks a lot of water?

If your cat is drinking a lot of water, it could indicate an underlying health condition. However, before you pack your cat up and head to the vet, you might want to consider a few things. Firstly, if your cat just started drinking a lot of water and they haven’t done it ever before, it might not be cause for immediate concern. Instead, your cat might just be thirsty after waking up for a nap or playing more than usual one day than the next. 

However, if your cat starts drinking a lot of water every day and you notice you’re filling up their water bowl more than you used to, make an appointment with your vet to determine if there’s an underlying cause. Additionally, if your cat is experiencing any other symptoms of illnesses, such as lethargy, vomiting, or diarrhea, take them to the vet as soon as possible. Excessive thirst accompanied by other symptoms could indicate a major health concern that needs to be diagnosed and treated as soon as possible. 

Why is my cat drinking more water than usual?

Your cat could be drinking more water than usual for several reasons, including environmental factors or medical conditions that need to be treated. For example, if your cat is drinking more water, they could be thirsty because you switched their diet from wet food to dry kibble, because they just played, or because it’s summertime. 

However, your cat could be drinking more water than usual due to an underlying medical problem. Consider if your cat has any other symptoms that might indicate they are unwell. For example, If you notice your cat urinating more often or urinating outside of the litter box, it’s always best to consult a trusted vet to ensure your cat is healthy. 

How do you know if your cat is drinking too much water?

There are many signs that indicate your cat is drinking too much water. Unless your cat has an endless water fountain, you probably have to fill up their water bowl at least once a day. If you find yourself making more trips to fill up their bowl than usual, it’s because your cat is drinking more than usual. Additionally, your cat might start drinking from strange places, such as the toilet, sinks, or ponds outside. 

You can also see if your cat is drinking too much water by checking out their litter box. If there’s more urine in the litter box than usual, your cat is likely drinking more water than usual. 

Cat standing in front of water bowl

Final Notes

There are many reasons why your cat could be drinking a lot of water, ranging from environmental factors and activity to medical conditions. If you notice your cat is drinking more water than usual, consider monitoring their water intake more closely so you can determine if it’s a continuous pattern. Additionally, you might want to look in their litter box to see if they’re urinating more than usual or check for any symptoms that might accompany medical conditions that lead to excessive thirst and increased urination. 

Of course, cats that are more active will drink more water than sedentary cats; if you just played with your cat, they might run over to their water bowl and drink a lot of water in one sitting. However, there are some times when cats drinking a lot of water could indicate a health concern. If you notice your cat is emptying their water bowl and using the litter box more frequently, consider scheduling an appointment with your vet. 

Ultimately, a vet can run several diagnostic tests to determine if your cat has an underlying illness responsible for increased thirst and urination. However, at the very least, going to the vet can provide you with some peace of mind about why your cat might be drinking more than usual. 

Of course, you should always go to the vet if your cat is experiencing symptoms alongside excessive thirst and urination. For example, blood in the urine or pain while urinating can indicate a UTI, while weight loss along with excessive thirst can indicate diabetes. 

If you’re worried your cat is drinking a lot of water, make an appointment with your vet and be prepared to talk about any behavioral changes, such as aggressiveness or lethargy, to help your vet form a diagnosis. 

While excessive thirst might seem normal from time to time, you should never ignore it. Instead, talk to a vet about your cat’s water consumption to ensure they’re not suffering from an underlying illness. Not sure if your cat is drinking too much water? Talk to a Dutch veterinarian who can provide you with peace of mind knowing that your cat is in good hands. Dutch’s telemedicine for pets can help you treat and manage your cat’s illnesses in the comfort of your own home while providing you with peace of mind knowing there’s a vet ready to answer your questions at all times.

References

  1. Contributors, WebMD Editorial. “Cat Dehydration: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments.” WebMD, WebMD, https://pets.webmd.com/cats/guide/dehydration-cats#091e9c5e8210d064-1-3.

  2. “Hydration.” Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, 8 July 2021, https://www.vet.cornell.edu/departments-centers-and-institutes/cornell-feline-health-center/health-information/feline-health-topics/hydration.

  3. “Feline Diabetes.” Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, 29 Nov. 2021, https://www.vet.cornell.edu/departments-centers-and-institutes/cornell-feline-health-center/health-information/feline-health-topics/feline-diabetes