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Feline bladder care

If your cat has been diagnosed with a bladder problem, this is generally known as FLUTD (feline lower urinary tract disease). It is a term used for various components of bladder disease including infections, inflammatory diseases and stones/crystals. There are various factors which contribute to FLUTD including:

  • Stress
  • Obesity
  • Certain foods
  • Low water intake

Unfortunately, once your cat has suffered with FLUTD they are prone to recurrent bouts, with varying frequency. While you may not be able to stop the condition, there are many things you can do to minimise the severity and frequency of attacks.

  • Minimise stress – use of feline pheromone sprays such as Feliway, have a positive impact on stress in our feline friends by mimicking ‘happy’ feline hormones. If you know you have a particularly stress prone cat and you have visitors coming / there is a new cat in the neighbourhood / a new piece of furniture arrives etc., the use of feliway will reduce the stress levels felt.
  • Litter trays – cats are fastidious about toilet habits and it is crucial to ensure they have suitable litter tray provisions. The important things to remember about litter trays are:
  • Ensure the tray is big enough.
  • Try different litter types, some don’t like clumping litter.
  • Place away from food and water bowls.
  • Provide at least one litter tray per cat in the household.
  • Covered litter trays aren’t always best as the cat can feel cornered – it’s best to put the tray in a quiet area.
  • Diet – many FLUTD cats benefit from a prescription bladder diet. The reason being they are balanced to ensure a healthy urine pH, they have restricted calories in many cases to help with weight loss, and many contain a natural amino acid called L-Tryptophan which has been proven to help reduce stress and anxiety levels. Increasing wet food if they will eat it, will help flush the system due to the increased water content.
  • Water – this sounds basic, but provision of water drinking stations is crucial. Some cats will only drink from dripping taps and may benefit from a water fountain. Other cats may only drink water from outside, so ensuring there are plenty of containers/trays outside to catch water is adviseable. If you have a particularly fussy drinker, then consider the type of water bowl. Cats often don’t like stainless steel bowls as they can see a reflection in the bottom of the bowl, also ensure the bowl is wide enough so that they don’t have to squash their whiskers in to drink.
  • Filtered / mineral water – if you have particularly hard water it can be beneficial to use mineral or filtered water in cats prone to bladder crystals, as the high levels of deposits in the water can increase the build-up of certain types of bladder crystals.
  • Scratch posts – always provide somewhere for your kitty to scratch, scratching is often overlooked in feline behaviour, but it is used by cats to release pheromones and scent mark, which in turn makes them feel happy.

If you have any other questions over your cats bladder care, please contact the surgery and speak to one of the veterinary surgeons or veterinary nurses.