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What is Always Thirsty?

It is important that cats drink plenty of water during the day. Water is essential for proper hydration and maintaining proper systems and organ function. However, if you notice your cat is increasingly thirsty and is drinking water much more than normal, this may be a sign of a health condition. There are many health conditions that are related to the symptom of increased thirst.

When cats drink more water than normal, it can be a sign of something very mild, such as a medication side effect or the fact that the weather is hotter than normal and the cat is just thirstier. It can also be a sign of something serious that requires medical intervention, such as diabetes, kidney failure, or liver disease.

If your cat is showing signs of being very thirsty and you are finding yourself filling up the water bowl more than normal, contact your veterinarian so he can perform a complete examination and tests. Causes of increased thirst in cats are many, and include:

  • Diabetes
  • Kidney failure
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Cushing’s disease
  • Addison’s disease
  • Liver disease
  • Medications
  • Electrolyte or calcium deficiencies

Why Always Thirsty Occurs in Cats

Increased thirst can signify a variety of health conditions. If your cat is having an increased desire to drink more water, it can be because of the following conditions:

Diabetes

Diabetes is caused by the body’s inability to produce insulin, which is secreted by the gland known as the pancreas. When this occurs, blood sugar levels become high and spill out into the cat’s urine.

Kidney Failure

Kidney failure can be caused by a variety of conditions. When the kidneys fail, the body’s water balance becomes abnormal, as do the electrolytes and other hormones.

Hyperthyroidism

The thyroid gland is responsible for metabolic processes within the cat’s body. Increased thirst can be due to an overactive thyroid gland.

Cushing’s Disease

The pituitary gland releases a hormone known as the adrenocorticotropic hormone. Cushing’s disease occurs when this hormone is produced excessively. This condition can be controlled with medication.

Addison’s Disease

Addison's disease is a result of the cat’s adrenal glands not working properly. The adrenal glands produce insufficient amounts of cortisol as well as aldosterone.

Liver Disease        

The liver is responsible for carrying out a variety of functions, including producing proteins for the blood, bile, cleansing the body of toxins, and converting food into energy. One symptom of liver disease is increased thirst. 

Medications

Certain medications cats can be taking can cause increased thirst. If your cat is taking any medications, please tell your veterinarian during the examination.

Electrolyte or Calcium Deficiencies

When a body is deficient in electrolyte production or calcium production, one of the side effects can be increased thirst. A blood test will be able to determine a cat’s level of electrolytes and calcium.

What to do if your Cat is Always Thirsty

If your cat is showing signs of increased thirst, contact your veterinarian. Your veterinarian will do a complete physical examination of your companion. He may also perform several different tests, namely blood testing, urinalysis, and biochemistry profile. These tests alone will allow the veterinarian to determine if your cat is suffering from any type of abnormalities in the kidneys, liver, electrolyte and calcium levels, and other gland hormone deficiencies.

Once the preliminary tests come back, the results will guide the veterinarian as to what other tests need to be performed. Your veterinarian may also choose to conduct radiography or ultrasound in order to take a closer look at the organs.

Once your veterinarian is able to come to a conclusion as to why your cat is drinking more water than normal, he will explain the diagnosis and treatment options that are available. In terms of serious illness, such as kidney disease or liver disease, he will let you know your cat’s prognosis.

Prevention of Always Thirsty

Regular veterinary visits will allow the veterinarian to see if your cat’s kidneys, urine, glandular functions, and blood work are normal. If there is a condition present, the veterinarian can catch it early and treatment may be easier on the cat. This may lead to a better prognosis.

It is important to monitor your cat’s water intake. If you notice you are filling up the water bowl much more than normal for several days at a time, it is important to make that appointment to be sure everything is okay with his health. Keeping your cat in a healthy environment, especially in the hotter months of the year is important. An overheated cat may drink much more water than normal. Be sure to always give your cat the right amount of food as well. Poor nutrition will cause your cat to want to drink more water.

Cost of Always Thirsty

Thirst in cats is not an easy symptom to diagnose. However, veterinary care and diagnostics will bring your cat back to good health. Treatment for a diagnosis of diabetes may cost approximately $2500. Other conditions which cause increased thirst, such as kidney failure, may cost $2000.