You might be surprised to learn that while urinary tract disorders are somewhat common in cats, urinary tract infections are not. However, if you suspect a urinary tract problem of any kind in your cat, it’s important to get your veterinarian involved, as some disorders can be fatal if left untreated.
Veterinarians use the term feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD) as a blanket term to describe a number of different problems affecting a cat’s bladder and/or urethra. Examples of problems include inflammation in the bladder, mucous, crystals, or stones in the bladder, a blockage in the urethra (fatal if untreated), and bacterial infection. As previously stated, infections of bacterial origin are uncommon, so antibiotics aren’t needed for the majority of urinary tract disorders. Incidentally, the only way to identify bacteria in urine is to get a culture to see if it grows in a laboratory.
Young cats rarely develop true urinary tract infections. However, cats older than four are more prone to the condition—especially overweight, indoor cats who get very little exercise. If your cat is on a dry, carbohydrate-based diet (read your cat food ingredients!), they are at an even higher risk. Cats who’ve previously had bladder stones are also more susceptible to recurring infection.
Stress can also weaken your cat’s immune system, making him more prone to urinary tract problems. It’s also worth noting that over-vaccination can weaken the immune system as well.
The following symptoms can indicate a urinary tract disorder or infection in cats:
- frequent urination
- straining to urinate
- passing blood in urine
- crying out while urinating
- sudden change in habits such as urinating outside the litter box
- licking the genital area
- stronger than normal urine odor
Preventing Urinary Tract Disorders
Your cat’s diet can go along way in helping to prevent urinary tract disorders. High carbohydrate foods are not appropriate for cats, and neither is an all-dry food diet. Species-appropriate wet foods or a meat-based diet are healthiest for cats and can prevent many health issues, including urinary tract disorders and infections.
Likewise, there are several natural supplements which are helpful in both preventing and managing urinary tract disorders. Glucosamine supplements can help to coat and protect the lining of the bladder. D-mannose and cranberry act to acidify the bladder and prevent bacterial overgrowth.
Our Cranberry Powder is a natural anti-bacterial and powerful antioxidant which helps to support a healthy urinary tract and immune system. You can mix 1/2 teaspoon in with your cat’s food daily as a treatment or for prevention purposes. However, it should not be fed to cats with a pH below 6.6. Please Consult your veterinarian for a urinalysis before using.