Like all animals, cats need water in order to survive. Sometimes, pet owners misunderstand their cats drinking copious amounts of water as a good thing. While it's good for your cat to stay hydrated, if your cat has recently begun to drink more frequently or for longer, it could be a warning sign of kidney disease. Keep reading to discover more about this disease and how to detect it.
When Drinking Is a Bad Thing
Depending on your cat's diet, your cat may drink more or less than other cats. Cats need anywhere from 5 to 10 ounces of fluid a day, of which some might come from their diet if you feed them wet food. However, if your cat is draining its water bowl on a regular basis, that's a sign that they're drinking too much.
If you're not sure how much your cat is drinking, find out how much their bowl holds. Fill it with measuring cups and then monitor it to see how long it takes for your cat to finish it off. If you estimate that they're drinking more than ten ounces a day, there's likely a problem.
Why Cats Drink More
When cats develop kidney disease, they tend to drink more than cats who don't have kidney disease. This is because the kidneys become less efficient with kidney disease and need more water to flush toxins out of the bloodstream. In essence, drinking more water is a coping mechanism, but it's important to recognize this symptom so your cat can be treated as soon as possible.
Failure to notice excess water consumption as a kidney disease problem can allow the disease to progress to the point where your cat's health could take a serious hit.
At this point in time, there is no cure for feline kidney disease. Of course, that doesn't mean that there aren't things you and your veterinarian can do to prolong your cat's life and make it comfortable.
If your veterinarian discovers that your cat has kidney disease, they will immediately begin the treatment process. The first step is usually to determine if your cat is dehydrated, and if so, a fluid IV may be given to get them properly hydrated again. From there, your veterinarian will most likely recommend switching to a low-protein cat food which will be easier for the body to digest with weakened kidneys.
If your cat's kidney disease has progressed very far already, they may need to spend some time in the hospital. Your vet can keep them overnight and flush the toxins from their bloodstream with a carefully administered IV solution that runs overnight.
Feline kidney disease is a serious illness that can go unnoticed by many responsible pet parents. If you think your cat is drinking too much, visit a vet, such as at Northwest Animal Hospital, as soon as possible to find out if they're developing the early stages of this illness.