Moisture matters: a focus on feline hydration

Ellie Groves
Sunday, May 2, 2021

Water intake in cats is important both in health and disease. While healthy cats with free access to water are adept at maintaining a good water balance, cats can be susceptible to dehydration if the homeostatic mechanisms controlling hydration are disrupted. There are a number of situations in which promoting water intake can be beneficial, particularly in cats with increased water losses (for example, chronic kidney disease; diabetes mellitus; cases of vomiting or diarrhoea), decreased intake of water (for example, as a result of inappetance), and in cats with conditions such as feline lower urinary tract disease. However, cats are often considered ‘poor drinkers’, so increasing their water intake when it is needed can be challenging. This article discusses the water requirements of cats and why they may be susceptible to dehydration. It also explores strategies to successfully encourage water intake in cats and evaluates some of the evidence behind the recommendations.

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