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What is Increased Urination And Thirst?

Veterinarians use the term polydipsia to describe an increased level of thirst. Cats that are urinating excessively are diagnosed with polyuria. These conditions typically occur together because increased water consumption leads to urinating more often. If your cat is exhibiting these symptoms, have him evaluated by his doctor to rule out medical conditions that could have serious consequences.

As your cat matures, his eating, drinking and urination habits may change. While this can be a part of the normal aging process, it might be a symptom of a more serious medical condition.

Symptoms of Increased Urination And Thirst in Cats

The primary symptoms associated with this condition are:

  • Drinking water more often than usual
  • Urinating excessively
  • Urinating outside of the litter box


There are several types of conditions that can cause your cat to drink more water and urinate more often than usual. Some of the most common types affecting domestic cats include:

  • Kidney diseases
  • Metabolic conditions
  • Thyroid issues

Causes of Increased Urination And Thirst in Cats

Increased urination and thirst in cats can be caused by a variety of behavioral and medical issues. Here are some of the most common causes:


Cats age differently than humans and are considered to be seniors after 12 years of age. The aging process often brings some changes in your cat's daily habits that you may not welcome, such as drinking more water and urinating more often. As cats get older, they may also have difficulty urinating in their litter box and you may find them soiling in other areas of the house. 


Increased urination and thirst is often a tell-tale sign of diabetes in cats. This hormonal issue develops when your cat's body cannot make enough insulin. When this happens, your cat will have sugar spilling over into his urine. Your cat is more likely to develop this condition if he is overweight, male, and over 5 years of age. Some other symptoms of diabetes in cats are hind leg weakness, weight loss, increased appetite, and hair loss. 


Hyperthyroidism is a condition that occurs in cats as well as humans. If your cat's thyroid gland produces more hormones than his body needs, he will develop this condition. This typically affects cats after they reach 12 years of age. Other symptoms that may occur with hyperthyroidism are vomiting, diarrhea, seeking cold temperatures, weight loss, increased appetite and increased excitability. 

Chronic Kidney Disease

Chronic kidney disease usually occurs in older cats, but it can affect cats of all ages. It can cause your cat to drink more water than normal and urinate more, as well. In addition, it may also cause nausea, vomiting, diminished appetite and weight loss. Chronic kidney disease causes your cat to urinate more because his kidneys are not functioning normally, which raises his need for water to rehydrate himself. 

Diagnosis of Increased Urination And Thirst in Cats

Your doctor will need to examine your cat to determine the cause of his symptoms. He will take your cat's temperature, weight, heart rate and respiration rate before he does a physical exam. Your veterinarian will also ask you some questions regarding your cat's health history. Be sure to include any information that may help him reach a diagnosis such as the date of symptom onset, previous medical problems and unusual behaviors. Laboratory tests are an integral part of the diagnostic process. Your doctor will draw blood for a full chemical profile and a complete blood count. He will also obtain a urine sample for analysis, as well. An X-ray will also be taken to rule out any abnormalities in your cat's urinary tract or other systems. 

Treatment of Increased Urination And Thirst in Cats

The treatment for increased urination and thirst in cats depends on the cause of the condition. If your cat is healthy in all other aspects, he may just be experiencing the natural effects of aging. Cats diagnosed with diabetes may require insulin injections and a special diet to control their blood sugar. Hyperthyroidism may require your cat to undergo treatment at a specialized veterinary hospital or take oral medications. If your cat is found to have chronic kidney disease, your doctor may place him on a kidney friendly food and treat him with medication as needed. In any case, your veterinarian may recommend monitoring or managing the cat’s water intake on an ongoing basis.

Recovery of Increased Urination And Thirst in Cats

Your cat's recovery will depend on the diagnosis and treatment plan developed by your veterinarian. In many instances, this condition is not treatable and all you can do is manage symptoms. If your doctor diagnoses your cat with a condition that requires medication, he will continue to monitor your cat every few months. It is important to report any changes in your cat's condition as soon as possible to keep him healthy.