Just in the past week or so, my 12-year-old cat is suddenly drinking a LOT more water than usual. I usually have to refill his bowl every 3 days or so...now it's more like every 12 hours. Literally, last night at 11pm before going to bed I filled it up, and this morning at 10am he was meowing and I found that the bowl was empty.
I am wondering whether it could just be the heat/humidity, or whether he might be sick? It has certainly been hot and humid here, but that's been the case for several weeks now and it seems like his water consumption just started increasing. I should probably add that he is a rather large cat -- large-framed and also pretty fat. :
As background, I had him at the vet for his checkup about 2 months ago and I asked her to test him for thyroid and kidney/urinary problems since I know they are common in older cats. All the tests came back normal. I am really hesitant to get them done again so soon since I reeeeeaalllllly can't afford it right now...but will do it if I have to. But would love to hear some advice/input first. I'm also going to call the vet today if I get a chance.
Joan 39, single mama by choice to 10yo boy and 7yo girl
I would consult a vet, yes. Diabetes in cats can cause excessive drinking, especially if you're also seeing excessive peeing.
If you do get that diagnosis, I think that there's quite a bit of hope--diabetes is a metabolic disease and is controllable. I would put a diabetic cat on a raw diet immediately, and take all excess weight off. I know several diabetic dogs that are managed that way and have stayed insulin-free.
Could just be the heat, but I agree that excessive water drinking in an overweight cat is often a sign of diabetes. Cats with CRF (kidney failure) are usually underweight, though there are cases of fat CRF kitties, especially early on in their illness.
In the off chance that you get a CRF diagnosis (I really don't think that is it) please feel free to pm me for some great resources/links. One of my cats was diagnosed 2 1/2 years ago and given 1-2 months to live. Thanks to the great support I found and REAL info online (none of the vets I dealt with had a clue on the best/most current treatments) my little guy is happy and relatively healthy with minimal intervention. Best of luck to you and your cat!
Cats with chronic renal failure get thinner as their illness progresses to end stage. Early on in the illness there is polydipsia and polyuria, which is why renal problems might be the cause. The diabetes is easy (and relatively cheap) to test for. If it were my cat, I wouldn't even test for kidney failure other than by bloodwork if it were affordable.
My first cat had renal failure, and it started out this way. Drinking lots of water, but losing weight very quickly. Eventually she lost bladder control She was deathly thin at the end. Hopefully your kitty is fine and just very thirsty. It has been pretty hot in most parts. However, if it is renal failure, just prepare for a very rapid decline in kitty's health. It was probably 6 months from the time Aleah started drinking the water like crazy to slipping into a coma and me and DH taking her to the vet to be put down. My mom was out of town, and we had to call her and tell her what was going on. She's the one who wanted her to be put down....although she was almost dead by the time we got to the vet.