OBJECTIVE To investigate water intake and urine measures in healthy cats provided free-choice access to a nutrient-enriched water with (NWP) or without (NW) added poultry flavoring offered at 3 different volumes in addition to tap water (TW).
ANIMALS 36 domestic shorthair cats.
PROCEDURES Control group cats (n = 4) received dry food with TW ad libitum throughout the study. Cats of the NW and NWP groups (n = 16/group) received the same food with TW only (period 1; 7 days) followed by TW and the assigned treatment ad libitum at 1X, 1.5X, and 2X the volume of TW consumed in period 1 during periods 2 (17 days), 3 (10 days), and 4 (10 days), respectively. Liquid consumption, food intake, and total water intake (from all sources) were measured; urine collected over 48 hours in each period was measured, and urine specific gravity (USG) was determined. Data were analyzed with mixed-effects models.
RESULTS TW and food calorie intake were similar among groups in period 1; TW consumption by control cats did not differ during the study. Liquid consumed by drinking increased 18%, 57%, and 96% for the NWP group in periods 2, 3, and 4, respectively, with increases of 25% and 44% for the NW group in periods 3 and 4, respectively, compared with period 1 values for the same groups. Increased urine output and decreased USG were significantly associated with period and treatment.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Increasing the volumes of NW or NWP offered to healthy cats led to increased free liquid consumption and was associated with greater urine output and dilution as measured by USG. Studies are warranted to determine whether these treatments provide health benefits for cats in need of greater water consumption.