Feline lower urinary tract disease or FLUTD refers to an assortment of cat UTI or health disorders affecting the urethra and the cats bladder.
FLUTD in cats can happen at any age and usually impact female, overweight cats, that are in their middle-ages, use an indoor litter box, have a predominantly dry diet, and with minimal to zero access to the outdoors. Cats that are environmentally and emotionally stressed and live in homes with multiple felines are also more prone to contracting FLUTD.
The usual indications of urinary tract infection in cats are a difficulty in urinating and blood in their pee. Your cat will also urinate more and usually outside of their litter box, preferring smoother and cooler surfaces like your bathtub or tile floor. Another common symptom of FLUTD to watch out for is when your cat begins to excessively lick itself.
Here are five common types of FLUTD in cats and how best to deal with them:
1. Urolithiasis or Urinary Stones
The formation of urinary stones in your cat's bladder and/or urethra can be confirmed via an x-ray or ultrasound. These bladder stones in cats not only make urinating painful but also lead to blood in your cat’s pee. Commonly found stones include calcium oxalate and struvite or magnesium ammonium phosphate.
The vet may recommend a special, stone-dissolving diet to remove struvite stones; however, the calcium oxalate stones would need to be surgically removed. Should the diet fail, and the struvite stones continue to form, a surgery would be required.
After the operation, your vet will recommend some medication and map out a new urinary care cat food diet for your cat to prevent its recurrence.
2. Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
Your cat's urinary tract can get infected with fungi, bacteria, and parasites which can lead to FLUTD. This infection usually comes with other diseases like urinary stones and diabetes. UTI mostly impacts female cats.
Your vet will request for a urine culture and most likely will recommend an antibiotic depending on the infection's severity. Once home, you have to make sure that your cat has easy access to water. It is also recommended switching to urinary care cat food.
3. Urinary Crystals
Crystals in cat urine are normal and usually the result of changes in the pH level of their urine.
Getting a urine sample can identify the pH level and further evaluate the cat crystals. Prescription diets can help in dissolving these feline minerals.
4. Feline Idiopathic Cystitis
Cystitis in cats is a common and frustrating urinary condition.
As the name suggests, idiopathic means that the cause is unknown, and it just happens without reason. Some cats may experience several light episodes while other may have chronic ones that are harder to manage.
Veterinarians would opt for anti-spasmodic and pain medication for this and sometimes even anti-inflammatory medications along with urinary care cat food.
5. Urethral Obstruction
Impacting male cats only, urethral obstruction is a life-threatening emergency. This can lead to your cat not producing any pee at all, and your cat will need immediate treatment.
This is a harrowing situation because the build-up on the cat’s bladder plus the inability to excrete the toxins out can make your cat extremely sick.
Should your cat be diagnosed with any of these urinary issues, you should try these urinary care recommendations to help prevent a recurrence.
- Follow the special urinary cat food diet prescribed by your vet.
- Ensure that fresh water is available at all times.
- Make feeding portions smaller but frequent.
- Provide several litter boxes, especially if you have multiple cats.
- Switch to a healthier and natural cat litter.
- Ensure the cleanliness of the litter boxes.
- Reduce your feline’s level of stress.
Making an appointment with the vet ASAP is a wise idea!