The lengthy term “feline lower urinary tract disease” (FLUTD) describes all manner of ailments that involve the urinary tract. This manifests as bladder inflammation, bacterial cystitis, urolithiasis (urinary stones), bladder tumors, or life-threatening urethra obstruction. There are also several other terms for the disease, such as feline cystitis, or feline urologic syndrome (FUS), etc. Unfortunately FLUTD is a common and often recurring disease in cats, and results from a poor diet, trauma, urinary tract tumors, or intentional urinary retention (for cats that have difficulty urinating due to lack of space/clean litter box).
It is difficult to trace the causes of this disease, due to the variation of infections/inflammation, and the fact that many cats who are diagnosed with FLUTD seem to have no apparent cause. However, it is clear that cats at the highest risk are those that are neutered, middle aged, lacking regular exercise, eating a dry-food only diet.
Symptoms of FLUTD
- Difficulty urinating
- Crying/meowing and evident pain while urinating
- Blood in the urine
- Licking the inflamed area
- Urinating on smooth surfaces (outside of the litterbox)
Addressing the problems in FLUTD with vary depending on the specifics of each situation, since the disease can have many facets. Seeing a veterinarian will prove the best way to diagnose what is lacking from the cat’s diet and lifestyle, or to determine if surgery is needed. Depending on the case, some cats will need to be treated with antibacterial therapy, or surgical removal of urethral and bladder stones and tumors. Increasing water intake, improving the living environment, and making it as peaceful and stress-free as possible will help correct FLUTD.
- Give your cat small meals so as not to overload her digestive tract
- Make sure the water you feed your cat is fresh and pure
- Consider offering more than one litterbox, so that one of them will be clean at all times, and more desirable for your cat to eliminate in.
- Keep the litter boxes full of fresh litter, and in quiet isolated area of the house
- Avoid diets that include urinary acidifiers since this can negatively affect a cat’s kidney and cause an imbalance of minerals.