Appointments: (02) 6251 1444
16-18 Purdue St, Belconnen, ACT
(Parking via Gillott Street)
Mon - Fri: 8:30am - 5:30pm
Saturday: 8:30am - 1:00pm

Canberra Cat Vet Blog

Dry Cats

Thursday, November 14, 2019
                      Cats are adapted to desert environments. In the desert their fluids come from their foods so they have evolved with a poor drive to drink and inferior drinking techniques and equipment.

  • Fresh prey contains 60-70% water and hunting cats do not naturally drink water.
  • You may have noticed that your cat often misses the surface of the water in the bowl at first pass. As predators, cats' eyes are designed to focus at a distance of at least 25cm so it's difficult for them to focus on the water surface. Many cats gauge the surface by looking at the far side of the bowl. Many prefer to lap from a tap or off the shower floor.
  • Cats are very inefficient at lapping fluids of low viscosity, such as water, because unlike other animals that create suction in their mouths, they must rely on their tongues to pull a column of water into their mouths. They only take in 3/100 of a teaspoon with each lap.
  • To top it all off cats are afraid of attack from predators and would prefer not to have to crouch at the waterhole to take in their fluids.
What can we do to prevent chronic dehydration and the dangers of kidney disease and bladder stones, especially in older cats? Feeding a high proportion of wet food - meat, cans or pouches - is the easiest solution. Providing fresh water in a private, quiet place every day and responding to their preference for moving water or water on large surfaces will also help. Avoid a solely dry diet at all costs.

Dangers of a dry food only diet

Thursday, August 30, 2018
Feeding dry food only to your cat, especially your male cat, is dangerous. Feeding it ad lib is particularly harmful.
Dry food is convenient and the premium diets are well-balanced with all nutrients - except water. The cat's urine becomes super-concentrated, predisposing male cats to blockage of the urethra.
If the male cat is also overweight and not very active the risk of blockage increases.
Cats on an ad lib dry food diet tend to become overweight. Dry food is like space food. A lot of calories are packed into a very small package. A tablespoon of dry food is equal to a can of wet food. Cats grazing on dry food all day and not moving around much are bound to pack on the kilos.
All cats have a poor drive to drink. In the wild most of their fluids come from their food. They avoid water sources as that is where they are most vulnerable to predators. A cat on a dry food only diet drinks more than a cat on a wet diet, but not enough to remain properly hydrated.This puts pressure on the kidneys. When they are young they can compensate to a degree but as they age it may accelerate kidney failure.

Fat kills

Thursday, August 10, 2017


 Fat itself is a serious health threat, particularly in small animals like our beloved cats. We don't do our cats - or our wallets - any favours by letting the cats in our lives accumulate fat.

Killer Chronic Inflammation - fat cells produce toxic compounds (adipokines) which cause chronic inflammation and damage all over the body

Decreased Life Expectancy - pets kept at a lean body mass live an average of 2 years longer and had fewer medical problems. Fat cats suffer more health issues and live shorter lives

Osteoarthritis - overloaded joints break down cartilage leading to arthritis but it also appears the adipokines produced by fat tissue compound the problem.

Diabetes - obesity leads to diabetes and insulin resistance in many cats, especially Burmese cats

Kidney Disease - excess weight in cats leads to high blood pressure, which can directly affect the kidney.

Respiratory Disease - trying to breath with excess fat along the chest wall and abdomen is like having a heavy bag pushing down on your chest. It alters the normal breathing pattern and reduces overall activity.

Cancer - Obesity causes increased cancer rates in mice and men. Not enough studies have been done on cats to confirm the linkage in cats - but it's only a matter of time.

Unexplained weight loss

Thursday, January 19, 2017


 Weight loss in cats is a sensitive indicator of many feline diseases. Because cats don't give us many clues when they are ill we take unexpected weight loss very seriously.

If a cat loses weight over a day or so then dehydration from a more rapid onset illness, pancreatitis or a gastrointestinal upset is more likely. We should correct the dehydration as soon as possible so don't hesitate to call us for advice or an appointment.

Even if your cat seems otherwise well and happy, weight loss over a month or more could be due to diseases such as hyperthyroidism, kidney disease, diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease or cancer. It is only when these diseases are well advanced that a cat will finally show obvious signs.

When your cats come in for a regular exam the first thing we do is weigh them. We take weight loss very seriously and if you haven't been intentionally dieting them we will recommend  tests. Hyperthyroidism, diabetes and kidney disease are detected with tests we do in our own laboratory. Results are available within half an hour. If we don't find anything then we discuss the possibility of bowel disease or other more unusual diseases.

It is always better to detect and manage disease earlier rather than later. Cats often have chronic ongoing disease. With good management we can improve their quality of life and ensure they live a good long life with you.



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A calm, quiet haven for cats and their carers staffed by experienced, cat loving vets and nurses.

Canberra Cat Vet 16-18 Purdue St Belconnen ACT 2617 (parking off Gillott Street) Phone: (02) 6251-1444

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