Signs That Your Cat Has Urinary Tract Disease

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Urinary problems in cats are very common. Owners often report their cat is either ignoring their litter box or is urinating in strange places. Know the signs that indicate that a visit to the vet is warranted.

It turns out that there are a number of causes that end up having the same symptoms and that may explain these situations. You might have heard about Feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD) – which refers to a number of diseases that can affect the bladder and/or urethra (the “tube” that allows urine to pass from the bladder to the outside of the body).

The most common cause of FLUTD is an inflammation of the bladder and urethra for no apparent reason – we call this idiopathic cystitis. Usually, when this situation occurs, the scenario is not as worrying. However, there are other possible causes for this condition that should be taken very seriously and can be concerning, including:

  • So-called “bladder stones”,
  • Urinary tract infections (bacterial or viral),
  • Urinary obstructions (caused by the accumulation of small particles of various substances that clogs the urethra),
  • Anatomical defects (usually a reduction in size of the structures that allow urine to flow along normal course)
  • Tumors (although less common, are a possibility to be considered in older cats)

Cats with these conditions tend to appear depressed or sometimes aggressive. Most cats present difficult and painful urination, which also leads to increased meowing. Many cats will tend to urinate more often and possibly outside the litter box due to inflammation and irritation of the urethra which stimulates the need to urinate. It is also common for cats to excessively lick their genitals. Sometimes the urine will show a more reddish color, which can indicate blood loss in the urine. The real emergency is when your cat is simply not urinating. If this occurs, you should immediately seek veterinary attention.

Often, the presence (or absence) of other animals or people in the environment, changes in routine or housing can be stress factors that trigger stress and disease. Cats of any age, race or gender can be affected.

However, the disease is more common among

  • middle-aged
  • male cats
  • Inaccessibility to the outdoors
  • overweight
  • Diet is exclusively made of kibble

As clinical signs are very similar to each other, your vet will need to perform some diagnostic tests to understand what may be causing problems for your cat. Treatment for these problems come in the form of medication, diet modification and weight loss, increased water consumption and environmental enrichment to eliminate stress.

Author: Petable Team

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  • kan9
    September 15, 2017, 1:51 am  Reply

    In addition to increasing water intake I’d recommend increasing the urinary tract PH and using D-Mannose -a sugar that sticks to E. coli bacteria-for treatment of recurrent or problematic UTIs. Theres been a lot of studies on the benefits of this combination (Increased PH and D-mannose) and the results are pretty impressive. The difficulty is finding a product with enough D-mannose and PH raising

    • September 15, 2017, 5:34 pm

      Thank you for adding this useful information. Urine pH modulation and D-mannose supplementation may be very effective treatments for some cases of FLUTD indeed!
      Bear in mind though, that FLUTD can refer to various different causes with the same type of urinary symptoms (from bacterial infections to the existence of bladder stones). Depending on the cause, raising urine pH may not be the right approach (for some types of urinary stones, for example) and could even worsen your feline’s symptoms. In other cases, a high pH is exactly what’s needed to improve the therapeutical approach. It all comes down to getting the right diagnosis before implementing any type of treatment and always checking in with a trusted veterinarian beforehand. Thanks for the feedback and please keep us updated on the D-mannose supplements you find that are effective. We’ve found that berries don’t really appeal to the feline palate, so the real natural food supplement approach is hard to attain 😀 #BePetable

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