Feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD)

Tabby Cat uses Litter Box

Tabby Cat uses Litter Box

FLUTD is often caused by a combination of environmental factors that result in the affected cat urinating inappropriately.

Some cats present continuously straining to pee and others urinate more frequently or in inappropriate places. Often the urine that is produced is blood coloured.

Believe it or not urinary problems are the number one reason cats are abandoned or surrendered to shelters in Australia

…. And they are preventable!!!

Both Male and female cats can be affected by this condition.

Affected female cats often squat to urinate more frequently and pass small volumes of bloody urine (often not in the litter tray). Male cats can develop a much more serious condition developing a “blocked” bladder preventing them from passing any urine at all. “Blocked” cats are a true veterinary emergency and need veterinary treatment immediately.

Environmental stressors and diet are some factors that increase the chance of FLUTD occurring in cats. Stress causes an increase in cortisol in the bloodstream causing the bladder wall to become inflamed and release inflammatory cells. The inflammatory cells produce FLUTD and ultimately can block the penis completely. The introduction of a new pet (or person) into the house, moving house or even renovating a house are common stresses to cats that can precipitate the condition. Diets that cause the urine to have a more alkaline pH can also promote the development of crystals in the urine.

These crystals are painful and irritate the urinary tract and can also cause a urinary blockage.

Once diagnosed, treatment for FLUTD is normally successful.

If completely blocked, cats will require an emergency anaesthetic to enable the blockage to be treated. A catheter may need to be installed to get the urine flowing properly. Antibiotics and other medications are often necessary to cure any related infection and to get the urine biochemistry back to normal. A drip is commonly installed to ensure that a good flow of urine is produced and that the kidneys are supported.

Proper dietary management is essential in preventing your cat from suffering from FLUTD.  A specific urinary support diet that lowers the urine pH and is low in magnesium, phosphate and calcium – the very minerals that make up the crystals in the first place – is ideal.

Controlling stress levels in affected cats is also essential and often requires a combination of stress relieving strategies including a combination of dietary, medical and cat-happy-pheromone therapy.

Speaking to your veterinarian is the best way of determining the best dietary and stress relieving methods available for your cat to prevent FLUTD from occurring in your feline friend.