Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD) can be identified by a collection of clinical signs including: frequent urination, urinating outside the litter box, straining to urinate, and bloody urine. You may also notice that your cat is excessively licking his genitals….and no he is not doing it for pleasure.
FLUTD can be brought on by multiple causes including bladder crystals and stones, urinary tract infections, and, most commonly, a condition called Feline Idiopathic Cystitis (FIC). FIC is a fancy way to say we don’t really know the underlying cause, but the bladder and urethra are inflamed and irritated. Some studies suggest stress precipitates this condition. I bet you didn’t realize that your furry little friend who appears to just sleep and eat all day can be stressed right? But it is true. Simple changes in environment, such as a change of weather, rearranging your apartment, having guests over, etc., can indeed cause stress for your cat.
Treatment for FLTUD depends on what has been established as the underlying cause. Crystals and stones can usually be dissolved with a diet change, though certain types have to be surgically removed. Urinary tract infections can be treated with antibiotics. If FIC is believed to be the cause, treatment involves making changes to your feline’s environment including:
• Increasing water intake – Always have fresh water available. You can also try adding a water fountain to encourage your cat to drink…because who wouldn’t prefer drinking water fresh from a fountain to water that has been sitting in a bowl for a couple of hours.
• Diet change – Prescription diets are available that limit excess minerals and increase moisture content. Litter box maintenance – Always try to keep the litter box fresh and clean. Having the appropriate number of litter boxes also is key. (Number of cats + 1 = total number of litter boxes needed). This is great for your cat, even though it means more cleaning for you!
• Medication – Typically a short course of pain medication and antispasmodic are needed to keep your pet comfortable. These can be prescribed by an Off Leash veterinarian.
Most importantly, If you notice your cat is ever straining in the litter box and not producing ANY urine, it is a life-threatening emergency. Please call Off Leash or go to an emergency hospital immediately!