What is Urinary Disease in Cats?

What is Urinary Disease in Cats?

What is it?

Urinary disease in cats refers to a group of conditions that affect the urinary tract, including the bladder, ureters, and kidneys. These conditions can range from mild to severe, including infections, stones, and inflammation. Left untreated, urinary disease can lead to serious complications such as kidney damage and even death.

How is it Treated?

The treatment of urinary disease in cats depends on the underlying cause and severity of the condition. Mild cases may be treated with dietary changes and increased water intake, while more severe cases may require medications or surgery. In addition, regular monitoring and preventive measures, such as frequent litter box cleaning and providing plenty of fresh water, can help prevent future urinary issues.

Breed Predispositions

There are no specific breeds of cats predisposed to urinary diseases. However, male cats are more prone to developing urinary tract blockages and related complications than female cats.


When Bella, an energetic and curious Russian Blue cat, began showing signs of discomfort while using the litter box and making frequent trips to it, her owner, Mark, knew something was amiss. Concerned for Bella’s health, he took her to their trusted veterinarian for an examination. After conducting a series of tests, the veterinarian Bella diagnosed Bella with urinary disease, a condition that can affect cats of all breeds and ages.

Urinary disease is a condition where there is not enough urine output. This may be due to kidney problems, bladder stones, or urinary tract infections (UTIs). Cats are prone to developing these conditions due to their anatomy. Their kidneys are low in the abdomen, making them vulnerable to damage from infections and stones.

In addition, their urine sample has a higher concentration of bacteria than human urine. This means that cats are more susceptible to UTIs and bacterial infections.

Types of Feline Lower Urinary Tract Diseases

  • Urolithiasis

Urolithiasis generally accounts for around 10-15% of cases of FLUTD. They are small solid masses that form inside the cat’s urinary system. Most commonly, they occur in the kidneys. However, they may also develop in the bladder, urethra, or penis.

These stones are usually made of calcium oxalate, phosphate, uric acid, or struvite. Some cats are born with rocks, while others acquire them later in life.

  • Cystitis

Cystitis occurs when bacteria enter the bladder and multiply. This causes inflammation and irritation of the bladder lining. Cystitis is often accompanied by fever, vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite.

This condition occurs most frequently in young female cats.

  • Bladder Tumors

Bladder tumors are benign growths that grow within the walls of the bladder. They are rare in cats but can cause severe symptoms such as hematuria (bloody urine).

They are typically found in older male cats.

Types of feline lower urinary tract diseases
  • Kidney Failure

Kidneys play a vital role in maintaining proper fluid balance in the body. Therefore, they need to function correctly t filter waste products effectively.

When the kidneys fail, wastes accumulate in the bloodstream. As a result, patients become dehydrated and weak. In addition, their skin becomes dry and scaly, and they suffer muscle wasting.

  • Idiopathic cystitis (FIC)

This is another type of urinary disorder that occurs in cats. FIC is not associated with bacterial infections. Instead, it is thought to be due to genetic factors and environmental triggers.

  • Feline urological syndrome (FUS)

It is another type of urinary disease in cats. FUS occurs when the bladder becomes infected or inflamed.

Another type of urinary stone in cats is renal failure. Renal failure happens when the kidneys stop working correctly. It may be due to kidney stones, infection, cancer, or trauma.

  • Other Conditions

Other urinary tract diseases include pyelonephritis, renal abscesses, and feline diabetes mellitus. These conditions are uncommon in cats, but they should be considered in any case of unexplained illness.

What Causes FLUTD in Cats?

There are many causes of urinary issues in cats. The most common cause is kidney failure due to chronic renal insufficiency (CRI). CRI occurs when the kidneys stop working correctly. This happens because the body doesn’t produce enough urine to flush out waste products, toxins, and extra water.

Other causes include bladder stones, infections, tumors, and trauma. Bladder stones are minor minerals that form inside the cat’s bladder. They form when bacteria feed off the urethra, causing crystals to build up inside the cat’s urinary tract. This causes inflammation and irritation, leading to infection and, eventually, stone formation. They can be painful and may require surgery to remove them.

Cats’ most common urinary disease is feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD). This condition causes frequent urination and sometimes incontinence. In addition, it’s usually associated with obesity and diabetes mellitus.

  • Infections usually occur after a cat swallows bacteria or external parasites. Bacteria then multiply and enter the cat’s bladder through the urethra. If left untreated, they can spread throughout the urinary tract and lead to cystitis.
  • Tumors are noncancerous growths affecting any part of the urinary tract. Most commonly, they appear on the surface of the bladder. They can be removed surgically if caught early.
  • Trauma is another common cause of UTI. For example, a cat may injure itself during play or accidentally swallow something sharp. Injuries like this can damage the bladder’s lining and allow bacteria into the urinary tract.

If your pet develops any of these conditions, contact your veterinarian immediately. They can help diagnose the problem and recommend treatment.

Signs and Symptoms of Urinary Tract Health Problem in Cats

Signs and Symptoms of Urinary Tract Health Problem in Cats

Signs of disease vary depending on the type of infection. Some infections cause no symptoms, while others may be painful or bloody.

If your cat has been diagnosed with a urinary tract infection (UTI), there are several ways to treat it. First, your veterinarian should prescribe antibiotics and recommend dietary changes to help prevent future recurrences.

Here are some signs of a UTI in cats:

  • Urine that smells bad or looks cloudy
  • Blood in urine
  • Frequent urination
  • Straining when urinating
  • Vomiting
  • Fecal incontinence
  • Licking genitals
  • Lethargy
  • Fever
  • Weight loss
  • Lack of appetite

Diagnosis of Urinary Disease in Cats

To diagnose your cat’s UTI, your vet will examine your pet’s eyes, ears, nostrils, mouth, skin, hair, paws, gums and teeth, abdomen, genitalia, rectum, and anal area.

  • They will also weigh the cat and measure its height. Your vet will also check urine samples for signs of infection.
  • Your vet will also order urinalysis tests to detect bacteria in your cat’s urine. Urinalysis involves collecting urine samples from your cat and testing them for evidence of bacterial growth.
  • A fecal analysis is another diagnostic tool used to confirm a UTI. Feces contain bacteria that can indicate whether your cat can develop a UTI.
  • Radiography is another diagnostic tool veterinarians use to confirm cat UTI. Radiography uses x-rays to create images of internal organs.
  • Ultrasounds are used to evaluate kidney function and detect abnormalities in the kidneys, such as stones, tumors, cysts, and other problems. Ultrasounds are especially useful in detecting renal calculi (kidney stones) in cats.
  • Biopsies are performed to remove tissue samples from specific body areas to aid in diagnosing diseases. Biopsies may be performed during surgery or via needle puncture.
  • In addition to examining your cat, your vet will perform bloodwork to rule out other conditions that cause symptoms similar to those seen in cats with UTIs. These conditions include diabetes mellitus, hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, liver failure, pancreatitis, and malnutrition.

Your vet will likely recommend treatment based on urinalysis, fecal analysis, radiography, ultrasound, and biopsy results. In addition, treatment may involve antibiotics, pain medications, fluids, and nutritional supplements.

Treatment for FLUTD in Cats

Cats with the urinary disease need treatment. For example, they may be sick and require medication. Or they may already be receiving treatment but still have problems.

If your cat needs medical care, there are many options available. Your veterinarian should be able to recommend the right treatment plan for your cat based on their condition.

  1. Medications often treat feline lower urinary tract diseases (FLUTD). Drugs may be administered orally or injected directly into the bladder. Although some side effects may occur, they’re usually effective at treating FLUTD.
  2. Dietary modifications can help your cat reduce the amount of urine produced by the cat. This includes feeding diets containing fewer protein sources, such as meat, fish, eggs, and dairy.
  3. Surgical procedures are sometimes necessary when medical treatment fails. These surgeries involve removing parts of the bladder or urethra. Veterinarians typically perform surgical procedures.
  4. Holistic therapies are alternative methods of treating urinary problems in cats. These therapies include acupuncture, chiropractic care, massage, hydrotherapy, laser therapy, nutritional supplements, and herbal remedies.

Prevention of FLUTD

Urinary disease in cats is preventable. However, untreated UTIs can lead to kidney damage, chronic infection, and death. Fortunately, there are ways to prevent UTIs in cats. These include keeping the litter box clean, feeding a healthy diet, and providing plenty of fresh water.

To help keep your cat’s urine free of harmful bacteria, try these tips:

  • Keep the litter box clean. Cleaning the litter box daily helps remove any debris that may harbor bacteria.
  • Feed a healthy diet. Ensure your cat eats a balanced diet of protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and omega-fatty acids. This includes canned food, dry kibble, raw meat, and cooked bones.
  • Provide ample fresh water. Your cat needs at least 10 cups of fresh water per day.

Cats that drink too much water can become dehydrated, which increases their risk of developing UTIs. To avoid this problem, monitor your cat’s drinking habits and adjust its water intake accordingly.

Also, be aware that some medications used to treat UTIs in cats can cause diarrhea. So, if your cat develops diarrhea after taking antibiotics, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Finally, remember that prevention is better than cure. In addition, preventative medicine is often cheaper and safer than treating illnesses once they’ve occurred.

Frequently Asked Questions

The answer depends on several factors, including the infection’s severity, signs of pain, and whether the owner treats the problem right away.

The most crucial factor is the severity of the infection. The cat may not show symptoms at all if the condition is mild. But if the disease is severe, the cat may be lazy, lose weight, vomit, have diarrhea, or experience painful urination.

If you notice these signs, take your cat to the veterinarian immediately. Your vet will examine your cat and determine whether they need antibiotic treatment or surgical removal of stones or blockages.

No, but there are natural remedies available that may help reduce symptoms. One such remedy is cranberry juice. Cranberries contain proanthocyanidins, which inhibit bacterial growth in the urinary tract. This makes them effective against bacteria that cause FLUD.

Cranberry juice is safe and inexpensive, making it an excellent treatment option for treating FLUD. However, some owners report side effects, including diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach upset. Other owners say drinking cranberry juice doesn’t seem to work.

Urinary disease (feline lower urinary tract disease) is a common problem in cats. It affects males and females equally, although male cats are also affected earlier than females.

FLUTD is usually found in older cats; bacteria usually cause bladder infections from the digestive system entering the urinary tract. Because older cats’ urine has lower acidity and concentrations, they’re less likely to get infected.

There are two types of FLUTD: struvite and calcium oxalate crystals. Struvite stones form when bacteria produce ammonia and urea inside the bladder. Calcium oxalate stones form when excess amounts of calcium and oxalic acid build up in the urine. Both types of stones cause pain and discomfort in the cat’s bladder.

If left untreated, these conditions can lead to kidney failure, making it necessary to put the cat down.

Fortunately, there are treatments available to prevent and treat these diseases.

Struvite stones are harder to detect because they’re not visible on X-rays. They typically appear as small white spots in the bladder. Calcium Oxalate stones are often seen on X-rays. These stones are usually yellowish brown and can sometimes be detected during urinalysis.

You should put your cat down if they have a urinary blockage. Urinary blockage is when too much urine comes out of the bladder. This causes pain and discomfort. If this condition goes untreated, then the cat’s kidneys could fail. The only way to treat this problem is to eliminate the cat’s bladder control loss.

Cats are also more prone to urinary tract infections (UTIs) because they eat dry foods. Dry foods contain no moisture, which makes them hard to digest. This leads to bacteria building up in the bladder, causing UTIs.

Foods that contain large amounts of protein, such as meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, and poultry, can increase the risk of UTIs because they encourage bacterial growth. In addition, foods rich in carbohydrates, like bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, and corn, can promote bacterial growth if eaten too quickly after eating raw meats.

Some fruits and vegetables can also contribute to UTIs in cats. For example, citrus fruit contains citric acid, which encourages bacterial growth. Other foods that can lead to UTIs include onions, garlic, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, beans, peas, carrots, celery, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, chocolate, coffee, tea, alcohol, sugar, honey, molasses, vinegar, soy sauce, mustard, ketchup, hot dogs, sauerkraut, pickles, and ice cream.

Urinary tract disease in cats is not fatal, but it can lead to severe complications if left untreated. If your cat has signs of UTI, such as frequent urination and blood in the urine, you should take them to the vet for diagnosis and treatment.

There is no known cure for Feline LUTD, but treatment can help reduce the symptoms and improve a cat’s quality of life. Many cats will require frequent hospital visits to correct UTI problems and treat other complications, but with regular care, many cats can lead relatively everyday lives.

If untreated, FLUTD can cause severe respiratory problems and even death. Therefore, if your cat exhibits any signs of illness: coughing, difficulty breathing, persistent hacking or sneezing, a high fever, or poor appetite, seek veterinary care as soon as possible.

Chronic kidney disease is not common in cats but can occur at any age. However, it is most commonly seen in older cats and those with other health problems. If your cat has developed blood tests that suggest he may have the disease, his veterinarian will perform further diagnostic testing to determine the extent of the problem. 

Kidney disease in cats can cause different symptoms that affect how much weight the cat loses. Cats’ more common signs of kidney disease include decreased appetite, lethargy, vomiting, and diarrhea. As with any medical condition, whether or not weight loss occurs is typically dependent on several factors, such as the severity and type of kidney disease, age, sex, diet, and the cat’s activity level. 

Kidney disease in cats can sometimes cause seizures. In addition, if a cat has recurring attacks, it may be due to an underlying kidney problem.

Kidney disease in cats can cause several problems, including hair loss. The kidneys are responsible for removing waste products from the body; abnormal accumulation of these wastes can lead to various health issues. In some cases, kidney disease may also damage the hair follicles and make them unable to produce average amounts of hair.

It’s possible that kidney disease in cats can lead to blindness if the disease progresses. So if your cat begins exhibiting signs of kidney disease — such as changes in appetite, vomiting, or bloody urine — have him evaluated by a veterinarian as soon as possible.

There is no evidence that kidney disease in cats is contagious. However, care should be taken to avoid close contact with sick cats because they can spread infection through their saliva and secretions.

Kidney disease in cats can cause several issues, including constipation. Constipation is often caused by the loss of water and nutrients from the intestines, which in turn causes an accumulation of waste material. This waste material may become stuck in the intestines, leading to constipation.

Most cases of kidney disease are treatable with a combination of medication and dietary changes. However, if the condition is severe, then surgery may be required.

Kidney disease in cats can cause vomiting for many reasons. The most common sense is that the kidneys cannot remove toxins from the bloodstream fast enough, which causes them to build up and cause nausea and vomiting. Other possible causes of cat vomit include intestinal obstruction or a urinary blockage in one of the cat’s intestines, liver problems, or growths on the stomach (gastrointestinal cancer).

Male and female cats can generally be prone to the bladder or urinary issues. This includes things like needing to go often, having blood in the urine, or not being able to urinate at all. If you suspect your cat has any of these signs in your cat, it’s essential to take them to the vet as soon as possible for an evaluation.

Your vet will perform a urine analysis to see if your cat has crystals in their urine, which is the most common symptom of Feline Urodynamics Disease (FUD). If your cat has crystals in their urine, it may require administering specific medications to clear up the infection. Additionally, depending on the severity of the disease, your vet may recommend surgery to clean up and reconstruct your cat’s urinary tract.

Contributing factors or causes of feline urinary tract disease may include:

  • A bacterial infection, such as pyelonephritis (disease of the kidney) or urologic sinus syndrome (a condition in which inflammation and scarring develop near the opening of the urinary bladder). Bacteria cause most cases of UTI. However, certain breeds – including Abyssinian and Turkish Van cats – are more prone to developing UTIs because they have a higher rate of specific types of bacteria.
  • Stones or other objects stuck in the urinary tract can cause UTIs. In some cases, a cat will also be prone to developing UTIs if she has a history of bladder problems or is overweight.
  • Certain medications – including those used to treat cancer and high blood pressure – can also lead to UTIs in cats.

The short-term treatment options for urinary disease in cats include dietary changes and specific medications. The long-term treatment options for urinary infections in cats include surgical procedures, bladder surgery, and urethral stents.

Some common food types recommended for FLUTD include canned or dry food supplemented with fresh vegetables and water, wet foods such as moistened kibble, soft drinks, or water mixed with freeze-dried pet treats.

Testing for parasites, dehydration, and electrolyte abnormalities are all standard tests to diagnose the cause of FLUTD in cats. Other tests that may be required include a complete blood workup and an x-ray.

Feline idiopathic cystitis is a medical condition in cats that results in inflammation of the bladder and urethra. Viruses and bacteria are the most common causes of cystitis, but other factors can also contribute. Cystitis may cause urine to fill rapidly and become painful for your cat. It may also cause your cat to strain to urinate, leading to lower energy levels and weight loss.

Some breeds that may be more prone to FLUTD include long-haired cats, Persian and Siamese cats, Ragdolls, and Turkish Van cat breeds. In addition, cats of any age with a history of bladder or urethral infection and those who struggle with maintaining regularity are at the highest risk.

Other factors that may increase your cat’s susceptibility include having a large head or body size, being older, and living in an urban environment. In addition, some have a genetic predisposition to the disease, and those whose respiratory system is compromised by illness or injury.

Many veterinarians recommend wet food over kibble for cats with urinary tract issues. Wet food can help keep the cat’s urine clean and reduces the likelihood of struvite stones forming in their kidneys.

Disclaimer: The information provided on this veterinary website is intended for general educational purposes only and should not be considered as a substitute for professional veterinary advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always consult a licensed veterinarian for any concerns or questions regarding the health and well-being of your pet. This website does not claim to cover every possible situation or provide exhaustive knowledge on the subjects presented. The owners and contributors of this website are not responsible for any harm or loss that may result from the use or misuse of the information provided herein.

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