The time period “polydipsia” merely means “excessive thirst” or “drinking too much water”. The goal of this text is to summarise the vital details about cats with elevated consuming: how do homeowners know that this can be a downside, what may cause it, and what homeowners have to do when that is seen?

What Does It Mean When A Cat Suffers From Polydipsia?

The time period “polydipsia” is derived from two Greek phrases: “poly” that means “much or many” and “dipsos” that means “thirst”. So a cat with polydipsia means a cat whose water consumption is greater than regular.

Polydipsia is normally linked to a different downside: polyuria. This means “producing too much urine”: the fundamental connection is that if a cat is consuming an excessive amount of water, it’s very doubtless that the fluid will emerge on the different finish, as urine.

So veterinarians usually speak concerning the mixture of indicators: polyuria-polydipsia, abbreviated to PUPD.

  • Sometimes, a case could also be described as “primary polydipsia”, that means that the extreme consuming was the unique downside, and the elevated urination was the consequence. Psychogenic polydipsia is an instance.
  • In distinction, “primary polyuria” signifies that the elevated urine manufacturing was the unique downside, with this in flip resulting in elevated thirst. Diabetes mellitus is an instance, with the additional glucose within the urine drawing out fluid from the kidneys, resulting in extra thirst.

​How Common Is Polydipsia In Cats?

Polydipsia might be underdiagnosed in cats as a result of most individuals don’t monitor the exact quantity that their cat is consuming. However, it’s a signal that’s often seen in frequent ailments, together with renal failure and diabetes. So it’s vital that cat carers are conscious of the problem.

How Can You Tell If A Cat Has Polydipsia?

A cat is taken into account an extreme drinker if she is consuming greater than 100ml per kilogram (1.5 fluid ounces per pound) and needs to be taken for a vet checkup.

There are two ways in which cat homeowners uncover that their pets are affected by polydipsia.

  • First, they might discover them consuming extra water. Even if the exact quantity of water will not be being measured, they might discover their cat visiting the water bowl extra usually, or they might see their cat consuming from uncommon locations, resembling the bathroom, or puddles outdoors. At the identical time, they might discover that they’ve needed to begin filling up the water bowl extra usually.
  • Alternatively, homeowners might discover the signal of polyuria: it’s tough to measure urine output, however a cat might begin to go away extra urine within the litter tray, or they might begin to have accidents round the home, in uncommon locations, as a result of they’re unable to carry onto the elevated quantity of urine.

Most grownup cats drink between 30 and 70ml per kilogram body weight (round one fluid ounce per pound), with senior cats prone to drink greater than youthful cats.

Cats which are fed solely on dry meals are prone to drink extra water than cats which are ate up moist (tins or sachets) meals. This is as a result of moist meals incorporates over 80% moisture, whereas dry meals incorporates solely 6 to 10% moisture.

If any cat is consuming greater than 100ml per kilogram (1.5 fluid ounces per pound) then that is thought to be extreme consuming, or polydipsia, and they need to be taken to their veterinarian for a examine up.

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​What Causes Polydipsia In Cats?

Polydipsia might be brought on by a protracted record of ailments. Common causes embrace the next:

  • Hormonal issues together with diabetes mellitus, hyperthyroidism, central diabetes insipidus, adrenal gland illness ( hyperadrenocorticism or Cushings Disease, and hypoadrenocorticism or Addisons Disease).
  • Kidney illness, together with pyelonephritis, and continual kidney illness, often known as continual renal failure (CRF), which is quite common in older cats.
  • Urinary tract illness
  • Liver illness
  • General inner issues together with neoplasia (most cancers), abscesses and womb infections in unspayed feminine cats
  • Electrolyte issues resembling hypercalcaemia (excessive blood calcium) and hypokalemia (low blood potassium)
  • Medication, together with medication like corticosteroids (e.g. prednisolone), diuretics (i.e. medication that promote diuresis, like furosemide) and anti-seizure treatment (e.g. phenobarbitone).
  • Psychogenic polydipsia is a uncommon downside the place a cat decides to drink extra water than typical for no discernible cause

Clinical Signs Of Polydipsia

Simply put, a cat has polydipsia if they’re noticed to be consuming extreme water. If any cat is consuming greater than 100ml per kilogram (1.5 fluid ounces per pound) then that is thought to be extreme consuming, or polydipsia, and they need to be taken to their veterinarian for a examine up.

You can measure a cat’s water consumption by measuring how a lot water you must add to their water bowl on daily basis. If you’ve got multiple cat, it may be tough to be correct, however you may estimate how a lot a traditional cat ought to drink (round 50ml per day) for every of your different cats, then deduct this from the entire quantity drunk.

Alternatively, you should buy a specifically designed consuming water container (e.g. Felaqua Connect) that reads the microchip of every animal consuming from the bowl, supplying you with an correct measurement of exactly how a lot every cat has drunk in a 24 hour interval.

​Investigating Polydipsia

If you discover that your cat is consuming extra water than typical, you must take them to your DVM veterinarian immediately, in order that the underlying reason behind elevated thirst might be recognized and therapy might be given. Your veterinarian might take the next steps.

​1. Detailed History Taking

Your vet will focus on each side of your cat’s situation and evaluation their total cat well being. There are quite a lot of totally different potential causes of polydipsia, and this cautious historical past gathering will assist to pinpoint the trigger.

Many components are vital on this historical past e.g. senior cats are extra susceptible to sure issues than youthful cats, cats which are free-ranging are extra susceptible to some issues than indoor-only cats, and so forth.

A dietary historical past is vital: what kind of cat meals does your cat eat? Has a brand new meals been began not too long ago? Are they being fed any dietary supplements? Are there every other components that may very well be affecting their thirst? Is the cat urinating usually? (cat homeowners ought to fastidiously observe their pet’s conduct within the litter field, together with checking for the presence of blood).

Also, has there been a change in how water is obtainable to your cat (e.g. a water fountain, or operating water, might encourage cats to drink extra). Some causes of PU and PUPD might be strongly suspected just by taking an in depth historical past of this sort.

​2. Physical Examination

Your veterinarian will examine your cat’s physique fastidiously throughout, feeling the cat throughout, checking for any abnormalities. This will usually embrace taking the cat’s temperature, listening to their chest with a stethoscope and weighing the cat (weight reduction is related to some causes of polydipsia).

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3. Routine Blood Tests

It’s very doubtless that your veterinarian might perform blood work, together with the standard panel of diagnostic exams, resembling hematology (full blood rely or CBC) and biochemistry profiles (together with electrolytes).

Blood glucose is elevated in diabetes mellitus, hepatic enzymes could also be raised in liver illness, hypercalcemia could also be seen in sure situations, and a variety of abnormalities could also be present in instances of kidney failure.

4. Routine Urine Tests

A urinalysis (UA) is a bunch of exams carried out on a cat’s urine pattern that you may simply accumulate out of your cat’s litter field.

Full urinalysis is a vital a part of investigating polydipsia. You could possibly accumulate a urine pattern out of your cat’s litter tray (speak to your vet about how to do that), or your veterinarian might take a urine pattern straight out of your cat, utilizing a way often known as cystocentesis.

The urine will normally be checked with a easy dipstick for a variety of constituents, the particular gravity can be measured (the urine focus), the sediment could also be checked, and a pattern could also be despatched off to the laboratory for urine tradition.

The particular gravity is especially vital.

  • Concentrated (hypersthenuric) urine (SG > 1.030) signifies that PU/PD could be very unlikely, and the quantity of water being drunk needs to be double checked.
  • Consistently over-diluted (isosthenuric) urine (SG 1.005–1.012) is strongly suggestive of continual renal failure.
  • Highly over-diluted (hyposthenuric) urine (SG < 1.005) is supportive of diabetes insipidus (both central or nephrogenic) or main polydipsia.

5. Specialised Blood Tests

Your veterinarian might suggest particular blood exams, resembling whole thyroid hormone (T4) (to rule out hyperthyroidism), exams referring to cortisol ranges, in addition to exams for some viral infections resembling FeLV and FIV, since there are important implications in case your cat is optimistic for both of those.

​6. Other Tests:

Radiography (x-rays) and ultrasound examinations could also be taken to look at the main points of inner constructions together with the kidneys. Depending on the case, extra detailed diagnostic imaging (resembling CT or MRI scan) might hardly ever be really useful.

Blood strain measurement could also be really useful in some instances as a part of an total cat well being examine.

If diabetes insipidus is suspected, particular exams could also be carried out to find out the analysis, and the exact sort of this uncommon situation. This can contain water restriction, often known as a water deprivation check, the place the urine focus is measured over a time frame when water will not be offered.

However this check is controversial, with some having issues over its security if not carried out with excessive care. An problem often known as renal medullary washout can complicate this check in some long run instances of PUPD, and your veterinarian might focus on this with you.

A check utilizing a drug referred to as desmopressin (an analogue of ADH) could also be used as a part of a check to find out if a cat has central diabetes insipidus (brought on by a problem within the pituitary gland, within the mind), or nephrogenic diabetes insipidus (brought on by a problem within the kidneys).

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Can Polydipsia Be Treated?

Detecting the underlying reason behind polydipsia is the way in which to go, so a cat with diabetes mellitus, liver illness or hyperthyroidism will cease feeling excessively thirsty as soon as the basis trigger is resolved,

Treatment for polydipsia is variable, relying on the trigger.

The main goal is normally to deal with the reason for the polydipsia: as soon as the underlying sickness has resolved, the polydipsia can even resolve.

For instance a cat with diabetes mellitus, liver illness or hyperthyroidism will cease feeling excessively thirsty as soon as the diabetes has been managed, the liver illness has resolved, or the hyperthyroidism has been successfully handled.

Specific anti-polydipsia therapy is never given: therapy is normally about curing the trigger, not treating the signs.

The solely instance which may match this description is when diabetes insipidus is identified: that is brought on by a deficiency of antidiuretic hormone (ADH) so therapy includes straight administering ADH, normally within the type of desmopressin eye drops, though typically orally.

​​Monitoring And Prognosis

The diploma of monitoring wanted is determined by the person case, however usually, cats with polydipsia want frequent rechecks by their DVM veterinarian till the underlying illness has been successfully handled.

The prognosis relies upon totally on the person case and the underlying reason behind polydipsia. Your personal veterinarian will be capable of provide the greatest reply to this query.


Polydipsia, or Polyuria polydipsia (PUPD) is a typical scientific signal seen in cats. There are many potential underlying causes, so if that is seen by cat carers, they need to take their pet to their native veterinarian in order that the exact trigger might be recognized and handled.

Frequently Asked Questions

How a lot does it value to deal with a cat with polydipsia?

The value relies upon totally on the reason for the polydipsia, and it might be lower than $500 if a cat has a easy sort of polydipsia that will reply to a one off beam of therapy (e.g. pyelonephritis) , to over $10000 if a cat has polydipsia brought on by a fancy downside resembling most cancers.

How can I inform if my cat has polydipsia?

The technical definition of “excessive thirst” for cats is when they’re consuming greater than 100ml per kilogram of physique weight on daily basis. Cats typically weigh between 2.5 and seven.5kg: if a 2.5kg cat drinks greater than 250ml per day, or a 7.5kg cat drinks over 750ml per day, that is definitively “too much” and they are going to be labeled as having polydipsia.

If any cat is consuming greater than 100ml per kilogram (1.5 fluid ounces per pound) then that is thought to be extreme consuming, or polydipsia.

How do you deal with polydipsia?

It is at all times vital to establish the reason for polydipsia, and the therapy will then be directed on the trigger. From diabetes mellitus to diabetes insipidus to pyelonephritis to continual renal failure, the therapy will at all times be particular to that trigger.

There isn’t any single common therapy for “polydipsia”.

How do cats get polydipsia?

Cats get polydipsia due to an underlying sickness that causes them to really feel extra thirsty. This is why it’s so vital to establish the exact trigger in each case.

What causes polydipsia in animals?

There are many potential causes, as listed above.


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