Why Is My Cat Drinking So Much Water?

Drinking water is a natural part of living.  The most common reason why cats drink water is because they’re thirsty.  Cats are very efficient in their internal water conservation which is one of the reasons why their urine has a pungent smell to it.  A normal, healthy cat will drink between 10-30 ml/kg daily.  Cats that eat dry food may drink a little more, but we do recommend feeding cats moist food to help maintain their water consumption.  Your cat should always have access to clean, fresh water. Polydipsia is the medical term utilized to describe increased water consumption.  If you notice your cat drinking more water it’s important to not dismiss it as it’s often the first sign that something has changed with your cat’s internal function. Increased water consumption is a result of 3 things:
  • Compensatory – drinking more due to exercise or increased temperature; vomiting or diarrhea leading to water loss and compensatory drinking; food with increased salt leading to increased consumption.
  • Pathological – drinking more water due to excessive water loss from a medical problem. Generally more of a chronic, ongoing problem.
  • Behavioral – drinking more water due to a behavioral problem. Behavioral polydipsia is a diagnosis by exclusion meaning we have ruled out all other reasons for increased water consumption.
The three most common reasons why cats drink more water are:
  • Kidney disease – Kidney disease is the most common diagnoses ailment in older cats. The initial signs of renal disease include increased water consumption and increased urination (polydipsia, polyuria or PU/PD for short), decreased appetite, and weight loss.  While we cannot cure chronic kidney disease, there is a lot we can do to help manage it, and early diagnosis is critical.
  • Diabetes Mellitus – Cats develop diabetes similar to Type 2 diabetes in people. The initial signs of diabetes in cats are increased water consumption, increased appetite, and weight loss.  Early diagnosis is critical to prevent a medical crisis.  Diabetes is more common in overweight cats.
  • Hyperthyroidism – A common endocrine disorder in older cats hyperthyroidism leads to increased energy, increased water consumption, and a big appetite coupled with weight loss.
Any time you and your veterinarian are suspect of increased water consumption your veterinarian will want to run bloodwork and urine work to try to diagnose the reason why.  The sooner you and your veterinarian know why your cat is drinking more and urinating more the sooner a treatment plan can be created to increase the chance of a positive outcome.  If you have questions about why your cat is drinking a lot of water please contact The Vet Set team.

Tips for Taking Your Cat on a Road Trip

Thinking about taking your cat on a road trip? Dr. Eva recently contributed some helpful tips to Popsugar Pets! See link below: http://www.popsugar.com/pets/How-Prepare-Cat-Car-Ride-39849701 photo credit: Flickr user Sharonhahndarlin  

5 Tips To Keep Your City Kitty Happy

Top Five Ways to Keep Your City Kitty Happy!

As dictated by the cat that owns Taylor Truitt, DVM

 Your city kitty is indeed a lucky cat!  Since she can’t go outside she doesn’t have to worry about being attacked, contracting disease, and will most likely live a longer life.  But we do need to keep our city kitties happy by modifying their home environment so they don’t get bored.  Here’s the top 5 ways to keep your city kitty happy!

5) Cat Grass.  Cat grass is a special variety of grass you can grow indoors for your cat to munch on.  It can help control hairballs by helping them pass and provide some additional nutrients that aren’t apart of their carnivorous diet.  While the jury is still out on whether cat grass offers any health benefits, most cats really enjoy it, so let them have it! 4) High quality diet and quantity management.  City kitties are prone to gaining weight since they aren’t out prowling all day.  It’s important to put them on a set quantity of food daily based upon their activity levels.  Cats that are allowed to graze throughout the day end up overweight over time.  Cats have an easier time managing their weight when fed canned food. 3) Appropriate toys and exercise.  Cats are hunters by nature.  Hunting their toys is stimulating for them both mentally and physically.  Using the fishing pole toys, cat n14805-Tabby-cat-playing-with-a-feather-duster-white-backgroundip toys, or toys with feathers or fur are often kitty favorites, but there are so many – find some your cat enjoys!  And don’t forget to interact with your cat!  Movement is 50% of the fun! 2) Window hammocks and perches.  Cats love to watch the world go by!  Why not give them a fun and comfortable place in a window to catch a ray of sun or spy on the lowly citizens below.  Windows can be prime entertainment! 1) Cat trees.  Cat trees allow cats to climb, scratch, and get to a high perch in their environment.  Cats love to be up high.  By giving them their own territory they feel they have a safe spot to sleep, and lots of cat trees now have many levels allowcattreeing them to exercise and scratch in a place we all approve. Incorporate these simple tips into your cat’s home to create a happy home environment for you and your cat!  Of course, don’t be surprised when your cat is initially more interested in the box your new gifts came in than the gifts themselves.  Please contact The Vet Set for any questions you may have for your city kitty!

Yes! Chocolate is bad for cats.

  Why Is Chocolate Bad for Cats? According to Dr. Taylor Truitt, a veterinarian and the co-founder of The Vet Set, the two compounds in chocolate that are toxic to cats are theobromine and caffeine -- both of which fall under a chemical group called methylxanthines. These are the same two compounds that are toxic to dogs. "Methylxanthines stimulate the cardiac and nervous systems causing excitation, hyperactivity, an elevated heart rate and even psychosis," says Dr. Truitt.  is chocolate bad for cats What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Chocolate Ingestion? According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), the signs and symptoms a cat exhibits after ingesting chocolate depend upon the type, amount and its level of toxicity. These include nausea and vomiting, agitation, abdominal pain or discomfort, increased thirst, muscle tremors, fever and seizures. A cat can also suffer from cardiac arrhythmia after ingesting a toxic amount of chocolate and an arrhythmia isn't something cat owners would be able to detect on their own. If a highly toxic amount of chocolate was consumed it could be deadly, so it's important to keep a watchful eye on your cat and keep chocolate locked away or out of reach. What About Different Types of Chocolate?  is chocolate bad for cats The darker the chocolate, the greater the toxicity. For example, "If you compare one ounce of dark chocolate with one ounce of milk chocolate, the dark chocolate ounce for ounce has a much greater concentration of theobromine and caffeine versus the milk chocolate due to its higher cocoa concentration," says Dr. Truitt. Here's how type and size determine toxicity:
  1. Lower Toxicity White chocolate has a low level of methylxanthines, so it's minimally toxic. Milk chocolate has a higher level of methylxanthines than white chocolate but compared with darker chocolate it's considered less toxic to cats.
  2. Higher Toxicity Dark baker's chocolate has a very high level of methylxanthines. Dry, unsweetened cocoa powder contains the most concentrated levels of methylxanthines and is the most toxic of all types of chocolate to cats.
Dr. Truitt explains that chocolate consumption is a ratio between the amount the cat weighs, the amount the cat consumes and the percentage of cocoa in the chocolate. If a large heavy cat consumes milk chocolate he would have to consume more compared to a smaller cat that consumes milk chocolate to equal the toxicity level. When Should You Visit the Vet? Dr. Truitt says, "Cats showing more than mild restlessness should be seen by a veterinarian immediately." If you ever have any concerns about the amount of chocolate your cat has consumed, contact your veterinarian right away to evaluate the potential toxic amount consumed. "Fortunately, cats consuming chocolate is a much more rare incidence versus dogs where it's quite common," says Dr. Truitt. If your cat is suspected of having consumed chocolate and is showing any of the above listed signs and symptoms, this could be an emergency, and veterinary care should be sought immediately.
This article was originally posted on care.com.

Spaying a Cat: The Benefits and Cost

Originally Published on:Care.com Whether you're a seasoned cat owner or just jumping into pet ownership, you may not know whether to spay your cat or what it even means. Read on to find out the basics of this common procedure. What Is Spaying? Spaying a cat means surgically removing the reproductive organs (uterus and ovaries) from a queen cat -- an intact, unspayed female cat -- via an incision in the abdomen. The medical term for this procedure is a complete ovariohysterectomy. You may see it abbreviated as OVH when looking at your cat's medical records. The term "spaying" is applied to female animals only, but occasionally the term "neutering" is used to describe the sterilization of either a male or female cat. "Traditionally, the age to spay a cat has always been at six months, before the first heat cycle," says Dr. Brian Voynick, the owner and director of the American Animal Hospital in Randolph, New Jersey. A heat cycle is when an unspayed female cat is sexually receptive to male cats and can become pregnant. What Are the Benefits of Spaying? There are many benefits to spaying your cat. "Namely, it's the only way to prevent pregnancy and potentially unwanted kittens," says Dr. Taylor Truitt, a veterinarian at The Vet Set in New York, New York. Dr. Truitt and Dr. Voynick list further benefits of spaying your cat:
  1. Decreases Tumor Risk There's less risk for malignant mammary tumors (breast cancer) later in life if a cat is spayed before her first heat.
  2. Keeps Infections at Bay It decreases the chance for infections of the uterus and cancers of the reproductive organs.
  3. Eliminates Unwanted Behavior The procedure eliminates undesirable aspects of being in heat including loud howling, increased and intense affection, intense rubbing on objects and marking territory with urine.
  4. Removes Some Risk There's less desire for indoor cats to escape from the house, which is what they want to do to breed with male cats. There's less roaming of territories, meaning a reduced risk of being hit by cars or attacked by other animals.
  5. Improves Life Expectancy Spayed cats tend to live longer than their unspayed counterparts as birth can be a taxing process on the animal and, as discussed, they're at less risk for infections and cancers.
What Is the Cost of Spaying? Dr. Truitt shares that the cost of spaying a cat can vary widely due to the owner's personal circumstances and where the cat is spayed. "As a public outreach program to help stop the unwanted pet population, the ASPCA [American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals] will offer spays for as little as $5 if the owner is on public assistance. In the regular ASPCA hospital in New York, the cost is roughly $125," she says. In high-end "boutique" practices the cost can go up to $500 due to top-of-the-line equipment and testing. Cost can also depend on how much pre- and post-operative pain management is prescribed and what kind of monitoring of anesthetics, blood pressure, pulse oximetry (measurement of oxygen in blood) and heart-activity monitoring is done during surgery. Dr. Voynick says, "The cost varies greatly, and depends on if the cat has preoperative blood tests. This is a baseline level to see if the cat has normal electrolytes, liver and kidney function and tests negative for feline leukemia (FeLV) and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV)." Dr. Voynick stresses the importance of these tests. "These blood tests will serve them well the rest of their lives," he says. He strongly advises that pets are prescreened before spay surgery so there are no surprises when it comes to the recovery process. Have more questions about spaying your cat? Check out Say Yes! Spay Your Pet.

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