Urinary health is important in cats.  What many cat owners 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 the cat.  Straining to urinate, frequent and/or prolonged attempts to urinate, crying out while urinating, excessive licking of the genital area, urinating outside the litter box, or blood in the urine can be sign of feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD).  FLUTD is the collective term for many health problems, such as cystitis, urinary crystals/stones and urinary tract infections.  It is important that a veterinarian be able to diagnose which of these is the most likely cause of the urinary tract problem, as this will help determine which treatment route to use. Treatments can include surgery, antibiotic therapy, or less drastic things such as a change in diet or certain supplements.

What an owner can do to help minimize the occurrence of FLUTD is to feed small meals on a frequent basis.  For cats with a history of struvite formation (a type of urinary stone), owners should feed diets that promote the formation of urine that is acidic.  Most commercial diets meet this criterion.  Avoid supplementing such diets with additional urinary acidifiers, because over-acidification can cause metabolic acidosis, impaired kidney function, and mineral imbalance.  Pets Prefer Urinary Health for Cats is good example of a supplement containing these herbal ingredients that can help maintain normal urinary health.  However, in all situations consult a veterinarian whenever a urinary health problem is suspected.  Here are 5 tips to follow to keep your cat’s urinary system healthy:

-Provide clean, fresh water at all times

-Provide an adequate number of litter boxes (usually one more than the number of cats in the household)

-Keep litter boxes in quiet, safe areas of the house.

-Keep litter boxes clean!

-Try supplements with cranberry extract, vitamin C, or dandelion, which are known to help prevent urinary health issues

Dr. Dan DuBourdieu

Dr. Dan holds a Ph.D. and M.S. degree from the University of Minnesota and a B.A. from Macalester College.  He has been involved in basic cell biology, biochemistry and immunology research at Hoffmann La Roche Inc., ImmuCell Inc. and other research companies.  He has worked with Bomac Vet-Plus Inc for a number of years doing animal nutrition product research and development.