FELINE URINARY ISSUES: LIFELONG
Urinary issues in cats are often lifelong conditions that require lifelong care. Many of these issues can be triggered by stress or various environmental factors, driving a wedge between cats and their pet parents. Fortunately, urinary cat food can play an important role in managing these issues, helping to reduce the risk of future urinary accidents and get cats back to their litter box.
As part of a comprehensive care plan including creating a soothing home environment, cat food for urinary health can help cats get back to their day-to-day lives so they can rejoin the family.
“WHY IS MY CAT PEEING EVERYWHERE?”
UNDERSTANDING A MISUNDERSTOOD CONDITION
Because urinating outside the litter box is commonly mistaken for a behavioral problem rather than a medical condition, this and other urinary issues are among some of the most misunderstood health conditions in cats. Sadly, these issues can sometimes put a strain on the relationship between even the most loving cats and their pet parents. That’s why it’s important to be able to recognize the signs of your cat’s urinary issues so you can make more informed decisions about their urinary health.
SPOT THE SIGNS OF YOUR CAT’S URINARY ISSUES
As stressful as your cat’s urinary issues can be for you, they are often just as painful for cats. Because cats tend to suffer in silence with urinary problems, they may struggle for some time before anyone notices and diagnoses the condition. Here are a few key signs you should look out for if you suspect your cat may be suffering from a urinary disorder.
ACCIDENTS IN THE HOUSE
If your adult cat is having frequent accidents or urinating in unusual places, this could be a sign of several common urinary conditions that often are manageable with the help of your vet.
YOWLING WHEN URINATING
If your cat is straining to urinate or is making pained, uncomfortable noises in their litter box, this could indicate feline idiopathic cystitis (FIC), bladder stones in cats or even urethral plugs.
BLOOD IN URINE
Schedule an appointment with your vet if you discover blood in your cat’s litter box or urine. A cat peeing blood is a serious sign of FIC, bladder stones in cats or a urethral plug, all of which need to be addressed quickly.
If your cat is urinating small amounts and spending more time in the litter box than usual, address your concerns with your veterinarian immediately. This could be a sign of a urethral obstruction, which is a medical emergency.
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COMMON URINARY ISSUES IN CATS
Although many assume that urinary tract infections are to blame when a cat is experiencing urinary issues, there are other more likely conditions that could affect your cat — everything from stones to plugs to FIC, which make up 85% of feline lower urinary tract signs. Depending on your cat’s diagnosis, treatment can vary on a case-by-case basis, but urinary care cat food is an important part of their long-term care to help manage future urinary issues.
The most common urinary disorder in cats is feline idiopathic cystitis (FIC), a diagnosis that is typically made after other possible conditions are eliminated. While the cause of FIC is unknown, stress is thought to be a significant factor.
And because FIC signs — such as urinating outside the litter box — frequently come back throughout a cat’s life, managing this condition requires lifelong care.
Struvite and calcium oxalate are common stone types in the urinary tract that can cause numerous and painful ailments for your cat.
For cats prone to stones, vets may recommend increased water intake and therapeutic nutrition to dissolve the current stone and help reduce the likelihood of future stone formation.
FELINE IDIOPATHIC CYSTITIS (FIC)
The urethra is a tube that carries urine from the bladder and out of the body. When struvite crystals in your cat’s urine combine with mucus, they can form a urethral plug.
If your cat is yowling or making frequent trips to the litter box or only urinating small amounts, a urethral obstruction may be the cause. Contact your vet immediately as this condition is a medical emergency and could be fatal if not treated.
FELINE IDIOPATHIC CYSTITIS (FIC)
MANAGING YOUR CAT’S URINARY ISSUES
When it comes to urinary conditions, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. That’s why it’s important to work closely with your veterinarian to determine the best course of action for your cat’s unique needs.
In general, cats diagnosed with urinary disorders benefit from a comprehensive approach that may consist of everything from urinary cat food to medication and even surgery, if needed. But remember, even with the best treatment, some cats may have recurring signs or periodic episodes.
For most feline urinary conditions, nutrition is the standard of care, as it can help to reduce the risk of future episodes. Urinary health cat food will moderate their intake of certain minerals like calcium, phosphorous and magnesium that can cause crystals to form in the urine. Some foods are even formulated to help pets prone to stress so as not to trigger their urinary problem.
It’s not uncommon for environmental stressors to trigger urinary episodes. You can help soothe a stressed-out feline friend by creating a quiet home environment, providing your pet with a scratching post and vertical climbing space and even simply giving them extra love and affection.
Depending on your cat’s particular needs, a veterinarian may prescribe medication to help your pet through an acute episode. Typically, this medication is intended to help your pet manage any pain associated with their condition while you get them on the right track with proper nutrition and environmental enrichment.
RESOURCES AND TIPS
Feline urinary conditions are often tricky to manage, and much is still being studied about these complicated conditions. For more information on your cat’s condition — and to help provide them with the best care possible on the journey ahead — check out these helpful resources from our team of veterinarians.
1Lekcharoensuk C, Osborne CA, Lulich JP. Epidemiologic study of risk factors for lower urinary tract diseases in cats. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2001;218(9):1429-1435.