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Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease

What is Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease?

Feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD) describes a variety of conditions that affect the bladder and urethra of cats. Cats with FLUTD most often show signs of difficulty and pain when urinating, increased frequency of urination, and blood in the urine. Cats with FLUTD also tend to lick themselves excessively and may urinate outside the litter box, often on cool, smooth surfaces like a tile floor or a bathtub.

While FLUTD can occur at any age, it is usually seen in middle-aged, overweight cats that get little excercise, use an indoor litter box, have little or no outdoor access, or eat a dry diet. Factors such as emotional or environment stress, multi-cat households, and abrupt changes in daily routine may also increase the risk that a cat will develop FLUTD.

Major Signs of Lower Urinary Tract Disease include:

  • Straining to urinate
  • Frequent and/or prolonged attempts to urinate
  • Crying while urinating
  • Excessive licking of the genital area
  • Urinating outside the litter box
  • Blood in the urine

Note that cats with a urethral obstruction will also show these signs but will pass little or no urine and become increasingly distressed. A urethral obstruction is an emergency and requires immediate veterinary treatment! A cat can die within 48 hours if he has a urinary blockage!

How is FLUTD diagnosed?

Because FLUTD has many causes, it can be difficult to diagnose. Based on your cat's symptoms, your veterinarian will do a physical examination and most likely will run a urinalysis. If the cause is still not identified, tests such as bloodwork, x-rays, and additional urine tests may be recommended.

What you need to know about FLUTD

Although FLUTD cannot always be prevented, owners can control certain aspects of their cat's environment to help their cats:

  • Offer fresh water to your pet daily
  • Feed your cat canned food for improved moisture intake; make sure your cat is eating a good quality seafood-free diet with controlled levels of magnesium, calcium and other minerals.
  • If your cat will not eat canned food, we recommend switching to a special urinary tract dry food formulated to be low in minerals that can cause specific types of bladder crystals/stones. Try adding water to the dry food. Increase the amount of water slowly until the dry food is the consistancy of canned food.
  • Give your cat the most stress-free environment that you can, including "escape routes" to get away from other animals and people, and privacy at the litter box and while eating.
  • Play with your cat regularly to boost his activity level.

Above all, keep a close eye on your cat and if you suspect he is having a urinary problem, take him into his veterinarian.

Recommended amounts per day of canned food are: 2-3 cans of the 3oz size, such as Fancy Feast, OR 1 - 1 1/2 cans of the 5.5oz size, such as Friskees or Nine Lives.

Healthy Non-Prescription Canned Foods

  • Blue Basics
  • Call of the Wild
  • Innova
  • Honest Kitchen
  • Natures Variety
  • Natural Balance
  • Wellness Core

There are many other canned foods to choose from. Look for Grain Free, preferably organic meat flavors. We feed our house cats naturally farmed proteins such as rabbit, lamb, venison and duck. You should be able to read the ingredient list and recognize the ingredients.

Prescription Diets

  • Blue Buffalo WU
  • Hill's C/D
  • Royal Canin Urinary SO