Monitoring changes in your cat’s drinking behaviour and why it’s important
30th March 2021
Why should I monitor my cat’s drinking? Like humans, a cat’s water intake is a key indicator of their overall health, along with nutrition and exercise. Improvements in veterinary care have resulted in cats living longer than ever before, with many cats now living for 17 years or more, but this trend has also seen an increase in the number of middle aged and senior cats diagnosed with hydration-related illnesses, such as chronic kidney disease. In fact, kidney disease is the commonest life-threatening illness for cats of 5 years and above.
Despite the importance of good hydration for your cat, most owners don’t know how much their cat is drinking. However, Felaqua Connect, Sure Petcare’s new water delivery and drinking monitor, provides detailed information about your cat’s daily water intake.
When should I be concerned?
If your cat’s drinking behaviour has changed substantially, it is best to contact your vet for advice, especially if the change is accompanied by other signs of illness such as weight loss, lethargy, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhoea or more frequent urination. A reduction in drinking can be a sign of pain in the mouth, such as an ulcer or dental disease. Cats may also drink less, eat less and become very lethargic when they have an infection like a cat-bite abscess.
The most common serious illness in adult and senior cats is kidney disease, and one of the first signs of this problem is an increase in water consumption. If kidney disease is detected early enough, the health consequences can be prevented or managed, and the progression of disease can be limited so that a cat can have a good quality of life. A simple blood test can indicate whether a cat has kidney disease, although more tests may be needed to make a detailed diagnosis.
What if my cat already has a health problem like kidney disease or diabetes?
When cats already have a health problem that causes an increase in thirst, such as kidney disease or diabetes, drinking behaviour can be used to monitor progression of the disease and response to treatment.
If your cat has been diagnosed with kidney disease or diabetes, you should offer them water in a way that encourages them to drink. However, as their treatment begins to work, you can expect their water consumption to level off or decrease. For example, this might happen when a cat with kidney disease is put onto a prescription diet formulated to treat this condition. If, after a few weeks or months, the cat’s water intake starts to increase again, that could be a sign that a follow-up blood test and a change in treatment are required.
How can I monitor my cat’s drinking?
A product like Felaqua Connect, which monitors your cat’s water intake, can help you to understand your cat’s drinking, and to find out what is normal for your pet. This helps you to understand any changes that could be a sign of hydration-related illnesses such as kidney disease, that affects a large number of cats in their adult and senior years, but which can be successfully managed and treated if picked up early enough. Felaqua Connect presents clearly summarised data via the Sure Petcare app, making it much easier for you to spot patterns and changes, which may otherwise be missed.