Preventing Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease

Preventing Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease

Sarah Han
Sep 5, 2008

Both of our cats are predisposed to a condition called Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease. We learned of the disorder after we returned from a trip to find P. Kitty repeatedly trying to urinate on our bed. At first we were angry -- she's always had a sassy attitude and we thought she was punishing us for being away -- but then we realized she was actually trying to tell us she was sick.

At the emergency vet, P. Kitty was diagnosed with Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD), which refers to any and many disorders which cause an uncomfortable inflammation in the urinary lining. We were also told that her condition would probably reoccur. Unfortunately, it did. It also struck our second cat, Biggie Smalls, about a year later, after we returned from another trip. We realized that the cause of our cats' syndrome was most probably stress as a result of our absences.

We decided to change several things in our cats' and our own lifestyles to minimize the risk of FLUTD striking again:

We made sure to be home more often. We planned shorter trips, when possible. When not possible, we had people who our cats knew and trusted to watch them, to keep their stress to a minimum.

We changed our cats' diets from a dry grain-based kibble to an all raw diet. A raw diet mimics the food they would eat in the wild more closely than canned or dry cat food. Most kibble is especially bad for cats with FLUTD because they are often made mostly of grain, which is harder for cats to digest, creates a more concentrated urine, and can cause struvite cyrstals or oxalate crystals in their urinary tract. We also encourage our cats to drink water by replacing their water bowls with fresh water daily, and refilling them whenever they are low.

We change our cats' litter on a daily basis. A daily scoop helps to encourage your cat to use the litter box often, and keeps your cat happier and less stressed out. In cases of cats with FLUTD, they often don't want to use the litter box because they associate the pain from straining with the box itself. You will often find cats using bathtubs, sinks and other cool areas that might have a cooling effect on your cats' uncomfortable area. An affected cat may also use your bed to bring attention to its pain.

We tried Feliway. This synthetically derived product mimics a cat's happy pheremones it releases when it's content and safe. We're not 100% sure if the product works for both of our cats, but we notice enough difference and haven't experienced FLUTD symptoms since we've continually used the product. Feliway comes in spray and plug-in versions. We prefer the plug-in version for its convenience.

Since FLUTD can and often does reoccur, holistic treatments can be helpful in treating the symptoms. We've heard of some cat owners who've tried acupuncture, Chinese herbs, and nutritional supplements to treat their cats. We've tried flower essences and Animals' Apawthecary Tinkle Tonic in the past, but hadn't had much luck with either, but we're still open to safe, natural remedies when possible. We advise that pet owners ask a holistically trained veterinarian before applying any homeopathic remedies.

A cat affected by FLUTD often:
• is constantly straining to urinate with little to no result
• is urinating outside of the litterbox
• is constantly licking its urinary opening
• cries or howls while in the litterbox
• has bloody urine (will probably appear slightly rosy rather than obviously red)

Learn more about FLUTD causes, symptoms and treatment here

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