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House Soiling: A Sign of the 'Other' Diabetes?

If your well-trained cat suddenly begins soiling outside her box, or shows signs of dehydration or poor coat condition, she may have this largely unknown form of diabetes. While different from the much more common 'sugar' diabetes, 'water' diabetes shares some of its symptoms.

water diabetes in cats


  • Feline diabetes insipidus (DI), or water diabetes, is different from the more common diabetes mellitus (sugar diabetes), though they share some symptoms
  • DI is a metabolic disorder in which a cat’s kidneys aren’t able to reabsorb normal amounts of water, resulting in the production of large quantities of very dilute urine
  • The two primary types of DI affecting cats are neurogenic (central) diabetes insipidus and nephrogenic diabetes insipidus; a third even more rare type of DI is psychogenic diabetes insipidus
  • Symptoms of DI include excessive urination, extreme thirst with increased water intake, dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, house soiling, weight loss, poor coat condition and disorientation
  • Treatment for a cat with DI will depend on its cause; some forms of DI can be cured, while others are lifelong
  • Caring for a cat with DI includes ensuring there is access to fresh water at all times, as well as constant access to clean litterboxes

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