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Managing Urinary Issues in Cats : Tips and Recommendations

As a cat owner, it's important to understand the signs of urinary problems and how to manage and prevent them. In this blog, we'll discuss the most common urinary issues in cats, signs to watch for, and the steps you can take at home to manage good urinary health.

Understanding Drinking Habits and Urinary Issues in Cats

As a vet, I’ve often thought that cats put quite a lot of strain on their kidneys and their urinary tract. Cats tend to eat a rich diet high in protein and often minerals. They are also very selective about their drinking water, which means that often times they drink less than would be desirable. These two facts result in a highly concentrated urine, making cats prone to urinary tract issues.

It's important to monitor your cat’s drinking and urinary habits. I would expect a normal cat to drink around 100-150ml per day, and to urinate 2-3 times a day. Big increases or decreases in the amount or frequency of urination, or abnormal urinary behaviour such as howling or urinating outside the litter tray are often a sign of problems, and should be checked.

What are the Most Common Urinary Problems in Cats?

Some of the most frequent urinary problems in cats include:

1. Urinary tract infections (UTIs): UTIs occur when bacteria enter the urinary tract and cause an infection. Symptoms may include frequent urination, straining to urinate, and blood in the urine.
2. Urinary crystals and stones: crystals and stones occur when minerals eaten in the diet crystallise out in the urine, forming hard deposits. These are often painful, and can predispose a cat to UTIs
3. Urethral obstructions: urethral obstructions are one of the most severe consequences of stones or crystals and occur when the urethra (the tube that carries urine out of the body), becomes blocked. A urethral obstruction stops the cat urinating, is a life-threatening emergency, as well as incredibly painful, and requires immediate veterinary help.

If you notice any signs of urinary problems in your cat, it's important to seek veterinary attention as soon as possible. Your vet can diagnose the problem and recommend an appropriate treatment plan to help your cat feel better.

What are the symptoms of urinary issues in cats that I should look out for?

The most common signs of urinary issues in cats include:

1. Frequent urination, with the cat going (or trying to pass urine) many times a day, often outside the litter box
2. Straining to urinate, where the cat is painful and may howl or strain to urinate, or spend more time than normal in the litter tray.
3. Blood in the urine, often seen with both UTIs and crystals or stones. The urine is often blood-tinged, but sometimes blood can be difficult to see in the litter box. This is where Royal Canin BluCare excels, with the special cat litter changing to a strong blue colour if there is blood in the urine, allowing early detection and treatment.

Urinary tract issues can be serious and urgent, and are often uncomfortable. If you’re concerned your cat is showing any of the above symptoms, I’d recommend a check as soon as possible. If your cat cannot pass urine this is a life-threatening emergency and must be seen immediately.

What are some recommended food and supplement options for cats with urinary issues?

Diet and supplements can play an important role in managing urinary problems in cats. Here are some options that may be beneficial:

1. Prescription diets: if your cat has an ongoing urinary issue, your veterinarian may recommend a specially formulated prescription diet such as Royal Canin Urinary or Hills C/D. These diets are designed to promote urinary tract health and may be lower in certain minerals that can contribute to urinary problems but it is important to get the right diet for your cat’s urinary issues.
2. Increased water intake: encouraging your cat to drink more water can help prevent urinary problems by flushing out the urinary tract. For my pets, I use a fountain such as Eversweet.
3. Urinary supplements: products such as VetExpert UrinoVet can help prevent urinary issues in cats by reducing the formation of crystals and dilution of the urine. However, it's important to talk to your vet before adding any supplements to your cat's diet.
4. Omega-3 fatty acid supplements: omega-3 supplements such as Natural Animal Solutions can help reduce inflammation in the urinary tract and may be beneficial for cats with chronic urinary problems.
5. Cranberry supplements: cranberries have been shown to reduce urinary issues both in people and pets, and our Animalkind team are currently working on a treat with natural turkey and cranberries, designed to help reduce urinary issues in pets.

It's important to remember that not all cats will benefit from the same diet and supplements. Work with your veterinarian to create a treatment plan that is tailored to your cat's specific needs and health concerns.

What are some other simple and effective steps that can be taken at home to prevent and manage urinary issues in cats?

A fundamental step in good health is good nutrition and hydration. Make sure to feed your cat a healthy, balanced diet and encourage water intake with multiple sources of fresh, clean water or a fountain.

Secondly, if you’d concerned about your cat having urinary issues, I’d highly recommend using Royal Canin BluCare litter for rapid, simple and stress-free early detection of urinary issues.

Lastly, if you do see any of those signs, including frequent urination, straining to urinate, blood in urine or pain while urinating, I’d recommend you see a vet as soon as possible.

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