What is FLUTD?
Feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD) is an inflammatory condition of the bladder and/or urethra in cats.
This inflammation may be caused by urinary crystal formation, bacterial infection or (very rarely) cancer, but often a cause is never found. Inflammation in the urinary tract causes a variety of symptoms including increased frequency of urination, difficulty urinating, inappropriate urination (going outside the litterbox), blood in the urine, and vocalizing (crying or howling) when trying to urinate.
Feline lower urinary tract disease usually develops early in a cat’s life, and tends to cause episodes of urinary issues throughout their lifetime. Understanding some of the risk factors of FLUTD can help in managing this condition to prevent recurrence of urinary signs.
Which cats are at risk for developing FLUTD?
Determination of risk can be made within three categories:
How can I help my cat manage FLUTD?
Step 1. Manage Lifestyle and Diet
Since overweight cats are at higher risk of developing FLUTD, encouraging weight loss may help prevent further episodes of urinary issues. This can be accomplished in a few ways:
One of the most common causes of FLUTD (inflammation in the bladder) is urinary crystals. Transitioning to a diet that dissolves and prevents re-formation of crystals is an essential component of managing FLUTD, especially if crystals are identified in your cat’s urine.
Maximizing water intake will help flush out urinary crystals, bacteria and inflammatory cells and will promote urinary tract health long term.
Step 2. Manage Stress and Inflammation
Stress promotes inflammation of the bladder, therefore minimizing stress minimizes bladder inflammation and the resultant symptoms of FLUTD. This can be accomplished by:
Since inflammation of the bladder is a central component of FLUTD, anti-inflammatories are often used short-term to control flare ups.
If a large amount of bacteria was identified on urinalysis, your cat may be prescribed an antibiotic to control this bacteria and therefore reduce any inflammation it may be causing.
Step 3. Manage Litterbox Habits
It is ideal to have more litterboxes than there are cats in a household.
Litterboxes should be spaced out in the house, ideally in places where your cat prefers to go.
The litterboxes should be cleaned out once to twice a day and topped up with fresh litter each time to make sure your cat has enough material to bury their waste in.
As always, please feel free to discuss any questions or concerns you may have with any of our staff - either in the comment section below or through the clinic. We typically carry the Feliway pheromone spray in stock.
We've put together some of our knowledge into short articles to help keep your pet healthy.
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Protect Your Cat: 4 Diseases You Can Vaccinate Against
Some Thought For Food: Are Raw Meat Diets Worth It?
What to Know About Grain Free Diets
The Truth About By-Products In Pet Food
What to do About Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease