The purpose of this study is to determine if water with increased viscosity results in increased water intake, thus lowering the risk of urolithiasis in cats. Twelve healthy adult cats were fed pre-trial standard dry maintenance food for 1 week and then randomized into two groups for the study phase. The cats continued to receive the same food but were provided either control (deionized) water or viscous (1% methylcellulose) water for two months and then switched to the other water type for two months in a cross-over study design with repeated measures. Complete blood counts, serum chemistry profiles, and urinalysis were performed at the initiation of the study and again at 1, 2, 3, and 4 months. Daily water consumption and energy intake for each cat were recorded. Body weights were assessed weekly. Cats consuming 1% methylcellulose water with increased viscosity had increased water intake (p < 0.001; 25% and 21% higher at 28 and 56 days, respectively). Increased consumption of water resulted in lower urine specific gravity (p = 0.04), serum creatinine (p = 0.02), and blood urea nitrogen (p = 0.002) concentrations (without changing serum albumin, glucose, and calcium concentrations or serum osmolality) and decreased urine calcium concentration (p = 0.01) compared with cats consuming control water. In addition, the increased water intake increased (p = 0.05) resistance to oxalate crystal formation.
Keywords: feline; urine calcium oxalate titrimetric test; urine relative supersaturation for struvite crystals; urine stone formation; viscous water.