Effect of dietary water intake on urinary output, specific gravity and relative supersaturation for calcium oxalate and struvite in the cat

Br J Nutr. 2011 Oct:106 Suppl 1:S128-30. doi: 10.1017/S0007114511001875.


It has been reported that daily fluid intake influences urinary dilution, and consequently the risk of urolithiasis in human subjects and dogs. The aim of the present study was to investigate the role of dietary moisture on urinary parameters in healthy adult cats by comparing nutritionally standardised diets, varying only in moisture content. A total of six cats were fed a complete dry food (6.3 % moisture) hydrated to 25.4, 53.2 and 73.3 % moisture for 3 weeks in a randomised block cross-over design. Urinary specific gravity (SG), urine volume, water drunk and total fluid intake were measured daily; relative supersaturation (RSS) for calcium oxalate (CaOx) and struvite was calculated using the SUPERSAT computer program. Cats fed the 73.3 % moisture diet produced urine with a significantly lower SG (P < 0.001) compared with diets containing 53.2 % moisture or lower. Mean RSS for CaOx was approaching the undersaturated zone (1.14 (sem 0.21); P = 0.001) for cats fed the diet with 73.3 % moisture and significantly lower than the 6.3 % moisture diet (CaOx RSS 2.29 (sem 0.21)). The effect of diet on struvite RSS was less clear, with no significant difference between treatment groups. Total fluid intake was significantly increased (P < 0.001) in the 73.3 % moisture diet (144.7 (SEM 5.2) ml, or 30 ml/kg body weight per d) compared with the 6.3 % (103.4 (SEM 5.3) ml), 25.4 % (98.6 (SEM 5.3) ml) and 53.3 % (104.7 (SEM 5.3) ml) moisture diets, despite voluntary water intake decreasing as dietary moisture intake increased. Cats fed the 73.3 % moisture diet had a higher total daily fluid intake resulting in a more dilute urine with a lower risk of CaOx when compared with the lower-moisture diets.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Animal Feed / analysis*
  • Animals
  • Calcium Oxalate / chemistry
  • Calcium Oxalate / urine*
  • Cat Diseases / prevention & control
  • Cats
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Diet / veterinary*
  • Drinking*
  • Female
  • Magnesium Compounds / chemistry
  • Magnesium Compounds / urine*
  • Male
  • Phosphates / chemistry
  • Phosphates / urine*
  • Struvite
  • Water / chemistry*


  • Magnesium Compounds
  • Phosphates
  • Water
  • Calcium Oxalate
  • Struvite