Cats drink water the same way any other animal does. It's essential for life, after all. However, if your cat suddenly shows an increased interest in drinking or becomes downright desperate for it, there might be a problem afoot. Here's what you need to know about a thirsty cat's health risks.
One of the leading causes of thirst is, of course, not getting enough water. This is especially a problem for cats who eat dry food, as those crumbly nuggets require the body to tap into its own water stores to properly digest them. If you feed your cat a mixed diet of dry and wet food or just wet food, your cat shouldn't experience dehydration under normal circumstances.
In any case, prolonged dehydration can be dangerous. If you think your cat doesn't have enough access to water, set out some extra bowls and consider switching to wet food.
Kidney problems can stem from dehydration, or they can happen all on their own. Some cats will experience kidney issues for apparently no reason at all other than their genetics. Unfortunately, kidney disease is a serious concern and one that should never have its symptoms be ignored.
Kidney disease can cause cats to express extra thirst because their kidneys are struggling to perform at maximum performance. Water is utilized by the kidneys to process your cat's blood supply and to flush out the remaining waste products. When the kidneys don't work properly, or your cat's blood toxicity levels are high, extra water is needed to flush out the kidneys and keep them working properly. So even a cat who drinks enough may still experience dehydration or show signs of excess thirst if their kidneys aren't working properly.
Whether your cat is simply not getting enough water or has a kidney problem, you should consider taking them to a vet's office. Vets can easily test for dehydration and kidney disease with a physical exam and blood test.
If dehydration is discovered, it may be enough to simply increase the amount of water you offer your cat. If not, your vet can help to rehydrate your kitty with IV fluids. If it's kidney disease, the two of you will work together to come up with a treatment plan to keep your cat comfortable and happy.
Thirst can be a bad sign for all kinds of reasons in cats. If your cat just can't seem to get enough water, visit an animal hospital to be on the safe side.