A Guide to Feline Urinary Tract Health

Feline urinary tract diseases are a common condition, affecting thousands of cats each year. Even if cat urinary tract health is generally strong, it is likely that he will suffer from problems at some point in his lifetime. FLUTD, or feline lower urinary tract disease, is a broad term used to describe several different urinary tract conditions in cats. FUS, or feline urinary syndrome, is another term used to describe these conditions.

Common Diseases of the Feline Urinary Tract

One of the most common conditions of the feline urinary tract is urethral obstruction of some kind. This condition occurs when a urethral stone or other buildup blocks the passage of urine through the urethra. This condition is a serious one, and may prove fatal to your cat if not corrected quickly. A blocked urethra prevents the kidneys from being able to flush toxins from your cat's body as normal. As toxins build up, even over a period of 1 to 2 days, complications such as heart failure can occur.

Urinary stones, also known as uroliths, are mineral deposits that collect in the bladder or in other parts of your cat's urinary tract. These may contribute to urethral obstruction, or they may remain lodged in the bladder, where they can cause your pet severe discomfort.

Cystitis is a third common cause of FLUTD. It is frequently caused by stress to the body, either physically or emotionally, and causes inflammation and other complications. Cystitis recurs frequently, and cats that have suffered from the disease have a 1 in 2 chance of suffering a relapse within a year's time.

Symptoms and Treatments

The most common symptoms of FLUTD include the following:

  • Difficulty or pain while urinating
  • Urinating in inappropriate places, outside of the litter box
  • Especially foul-smelling urine
  • Unusual attention paid to the genital area
  • General distress or discomfort

Take your cat displaying one or more of these symptoms to a veterinarian for full analysis and diagnosis. In order to diagnose FLUTD, your vet will conduct a physical exam and take a urine sample for analysis.

Treatment for FLUTD depends on the underlying condition and the severity of the disease. In many cases, dietary and environmental treatment options may be adequate in addressing the problem. Your vet can recommend specially designed foods that help to dissolve urinary stones and reduce symptoms of FLUTD. Keeping a sanitary litter box and providing your cat with ample drinking water at all times can help to promote a healthy urinary tract.

Some cases of FLUTD require either medication, surgical procedures or both. Prescription medicines are commonly given to address cystitis, by healing the bladder's mucous lining. Your vet may prescribe painkillers or other medicines to relieve your pet's discomfort. Emergency surgeries may be necessary.

FLUTD is a common medical condition, but is nevertheless one that must be addressed adequately and promptly with the help of a veterinarian. If you notice any of the common symptoms of a cat urinary problem, have him examined immediately in order to ensure his continued good health for years to come.