Most cat owners know how important general health care is for their pet. What many don’t know is how a simply urinary condition can be a real problem and can even be fatal. Knowing the signs of a urinary problem is imperative to ensure the health of your cat.
There are many causes for urinary problems in cats including inflammation and infection. It is not uncommon for crystals or stones to form in the urinary tract. These crystals and stones can cause a blockage that prevents the cat from being able to urinate. This condition is an emergency and can become serious very quickly.
Poor diet can lead to urinary problems and can actually cause the formation of some crystals in the urine that can lead to a blockage. Struvite crystals are the most common type of crystal and can be a result of feeding a diet with high levels of magnesium and phosphate.
The urine pH can be affected by the cat’s diet as well. Feeding a diet that helps maintain a normal urine pH can decrease the chance of crystal formation as these crystals are more common in abnormal urine.
The household can even be the source for a urinary problem in cats. Many cats will try to “hold it” longer when their litter box is dirty, which can also lead to crystal and stone formation. A proper amount of water intake is essential to keep urine diluted. Urinary problems are also more common in overweight cats.
Litter box location can also be a hindrance on whether or not the cat wants to use it as frequently as he should. It should be located in a quiet area of the home, away from food and water bowls and somewhere that is easily accessible. If multiple cats are in the household, there should be at least one more box than there is cats, as some cats dislike using shared boxes.
To determine if your cat has a urinary problem, be sure to keep a close eye out for some common signs.
·Crying, growling or moaning when urinating
·Straining to urinate – spending abnormal amounts of time in the box while producing little or not urine, arched back while trying to pass urine
·Incontinence – leaking urine while sleeping, dribbling while sleeping or awake.
·Urinating more often than normal – making frequent trips to the litter box
·Blood/red tinge to the urine
·Urinating in inappropriate or unusual places
·Urinating in abnormally large amounts
·Urinating in multiple small amounts
·Behavior changes – increased grooming of urethral opening, listlessness, hiding, decreased appetite, restlessness
Depending on the condition, medications may be indicated for the treatment of a urinary problem in a cat. A diet change is common in cases when the cat has formed crystals or stones. A cat that is blocked often needs hospital treatment including the placement of a urinary catheter. Laboratory testing is often done to check the status of the kidneys and other blood levels. Sometimes, even surgery is needed.
If any changes in urination or behavior are noted, the veterinarian should be alerted immediately. A blocked cat is an emergency and requires prompt attention. Left untreated, and the result can include kidney damage and even death.
Other urinary problems, aside from a blockage, cause a great deal of discomfort for the cat and will need medical attention.
Being a responsible cat owner includes providing love and companionship to our furry friends. But it also includes ensuring the cat stays healthy and receives the medical care it needs. Ever constant monitoring is often the most important aspect to make certain that quick action is taken when problems arise.