You've just been through a urinary tract infection episode with Kitty and you don't want to repeat that nightmare. Some simple dietary changes can help keep Kitty's urinary tract in good condition. Ask your vet for recommendations, which she'll base on the specifics of Kitty's urinary or bladder condition.
Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease
A urinary tract infection is just one aspect of several conditions affecting Kitty's bladder and urethra, all given the common heading of feline lower urinary tract disease. FLUTD was formally known as feline urologic syndrome. A UTI might result from bacteria causing an inability for urine to pass through the urethra. It can also result from stones in the bladder blocking his urethra, a potentially life-threatening situation. Your vet makes a diagnosis based on examination, X-rays and a urinalysis, if she can get a urine sample. Treatment depends on the UTI's cause. It ranges from giving Kitty antibiotics to surgery for stone removal.
Symptoms of a feline urinary tract infection are similar to other aspects of FLUTD, so whenever Kitty displays this behavior it's important to get him to the vet as soon as possible for diagnosis and treatment. Cats with UTIs climb in and out of the litter box, straining to pee. Any urine produced might be tinged with blood. Kitty might lick his privates to relieve pain and pressure, or cry out when attempting to urinate. He might start having urinary "accidents" around the house.
Your vet might prescribe a special diet for Kitty. True prescription diets are available only through veterinarians -- you can't pick them up at the pet store or supermarket. Your vet might suggest a commercial cat food specially formulated for urinary tract health. If Kitty's urinalysis showed evidence of struvite crystals, he'll require a diet that's somewhat acidic to break those crystals down. If he has calcium oxalate crystals in his urine, a more alkaline diet helps keep them from forming.
To help prevent UTIs or avoid a recurrence, feed Kitty wet cat food rather than dry. Kitty needs to stay hydrated, and wet food contains a good deal of moisture. Make sure there's always fresh, clean water available for him. If you have several cats, provide a litter box for each one, with one extra if you have the room. Keep those boxes very clean. Stress might aggravate urinary problems, so keep Kitty to a regular routine with as calm a living situation as possible.
- Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine: Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease
- VetInfo: Cat Urinary Tract Infection
- VetInfo: Cat Urinary Tract Infection Prevention and Maintenance
- Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine: Ask Elizabeth -- Are These Frequent Urinary Tract Infections?
- MedicineNet: Preventing Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease
Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.