Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease, or FLUTD, is a group of diseases that affect both the bladder and the urethra in cats. Urinary stones or crystals sometimes cause the disease, and it’s more common in both male and female cats of all ages than many cat parents realize.
There are so very common symptoms to help alert to a problem, which should then be further, investigated by your cat’s veterinarian.
So be sure to watch out for the following:
- Frequent trips to the litter box
- Cries when urinating
- Urinates outside the litter box
- Licks genital area excessively
- Strains to urinate, with little success
- Displays signs of anxiety, such as pacing or hiding
Because urinating outside the litter box the number one reason so many cats loose their homes and land up in shelters, it’s really important to follow up with a medical diagnosis. And if the reason is a medical one, it can be fixed!
How To Identify with Your Cat Is At Risk
Age, gender and physical activity can help indicate whether or not your cat is at a higher risk for developing FLUTD.
Gender: Both male and female cats can experience urinary tract disorders, but since male cats have longer and narrower urethras, their urinary tracts are more likely to be obstructed by crystals and mucous.
Breed: Urinary problems are more common in certain breeds, such as Persians, where there is a lower incidence in Siamese.
Age: Young adult cats between the ages of 2 and 6 years are more likely to have lower urinary tract disorders, but cats of any age are susceptible.
Activity Level: indoor cats seem to be more susceptible to lower urinary tract disorders. This may be because confinement reduces physical activities, which in turn may reduce the amount of water consumed and frequency of urination, allowing crystals to form in the urine.
Diet: If crystals are present, an appropriate diet should be prescribed. Struvite crystals (the most common type) form in alkaline urine, so in these cases a diet that acidifies the urine should be prescribed. Calcium oxalate crystals form in acid urine; in these cases, an alkalinizing diet should be prescribed. Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets has special prescription diet formula called UR Urinary St/Ox Diet designed to alter the pH of the urine, so that new crystals do not form. It’s available in cans in a variety of flavors and also in kibble form.
What Else You Can Do
Although there are many possible causes of FLUTD, most cases of FLUTD occur for no known reason. (These cases are termed idiopathic, a technical way of veterinarians saying that they don’t really know why it happens.)
It’s very important that cats stay properly hydrated and drink lots of water. This is also highly recommended to help reduce the risk of FLUTD. It’s a good idea to set up water bowls in various locations in the home. Installing a pet drinking fountain can also help because cats are naturally drawn to running water and most likely as a result will drink more.
Recent studies suggest that stress may play a role in the development of FLUTD. Single cats that live indoors may experience stress in the form of boredom or monotony. Cats in multiple- cat homes may suffer from the stress of constantly engaging in territorial battles or of being the most subordinate cat on the totem pole. Treatment of idiopathic FLUTD and prevention of future episodes should include actively making the indoor environment more stimulating for cats.
Cats enjoy surveying their environment from high places, so providing them with cat trees or a wall-mounted shelf is helpful. Appropriate scratching surfaces (both horizontal and vertical) should be provided, so cats can stretch their muscles and engage in natural scratching behavior. Owners should engage in interactive play with their cats at least twice daily. Toys on a wand or “fishing pole” are especially appealing. When cats are home alone, toys that encourage solo play should always be available. Toys should be rotated often, so that cats don’t get bored. Toys that mimic prey and allow cats to engage their natural hunting instincts, such as stalking, pouncing and capturing, are ideal. Videos designed for cats, featuring bugs, birds, small mammals, fish, and natural sounds, are available commercially and are mesmerizing to many cats. By incorporating some of these suggestions and reducing environmental stress, you can actively minimize the risk of future bouts of idiopathic FLUTD.
If your cat has been diagnosed with FLUTD, you can download a $15 discount coupon for the Pro Plan UR Urinary St/Ox Diet food here:
This post was sponsored by the Nestle Purina PetCare Company. However, all opinions are my own. I only write about topics, events and products that I consider readers will consider useful information and relevant to their interests.