OBJECTIVE To evaluate the effects of drinking nutrient-enriched water (NW) on water intake and indices of hydration in healthy domestic cats fed a dry kibble diet ad libitum.
ANIMALS 18 domestic shorthair cats.
PROCEDURES Group-housed cats were assigned to tap water (TW; n = 9) or NW (9) groups. All cats received TW at baseline (days −7 to −1). No changes were made to the food-water regimen for the TW group. The NW group received NW instead of TW from days 0 through 10, then received TW and NW in separate bowls (days 11 through 56). Food intake was measured through day 10; liquid consumed by drinking was measured throughout the study. Blood and urine samples were collected at predetermined times for analyses; 48-hour urine collection (days 28 through 30 or 31 through 33) was performed to assess output volume and aid endogenous creatinine-based glomerular filtration rate (GFR) determination. Data were analyzed with linear mixed-effects models.
RESULTS Baseline TW and calorie intake were similar between groups. The NW treatment was significantly associated with increased liquid consumption during the treatment phase. Mean urine output was significantly higher in the NW group (15.2 mL/kg/d) than in the TW group (10.3 mL/kg/d). Mean GFR (1.75 vs 1.87 mL/min/kg, respectively) did not differ between groups. Effects of treatment and time were each significant for urine specific gravity and osmolality and urine creatinine, phosphate, and urea nitrogen concentrations, with lower values for the NW group.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Results suggested that consumption of the NW can increase liquid intake and improve measures of hydration in healthy cats. These effects may offer health benefits to some cats in need of greater water consumption.