While male and female cats can suffer from feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD), obstruction is more common in boys. That doesn't mean your girl kitty can't become blocked, which is a red-alert veterinary emergency. If your cat shows any FLUTD symptoms, get her to the vet.
While male cats are more prone to urinary tract blockages if they're affected by FLUTD, urinary tract infections are more common in females. A female cat's urethra is much shorter than her male counterpart and located closer to her anus. That means it's near a region chock full of bacteria from feces. While her anatomy makes her more prone to FLUTD, the male cat's urethra is much narrower, so it's easier for a complete blockage to occur.
FLUTD, formerly known as feline urological syndrome, covers a wide range of feline urinary tract issues. These might be caused by bacteria, viruses, stress and a cat's lifestyle, such as a fat cat who never gets any exercise. If your cat's diet consists entirely of dry food and she doesn't drink sufficient water, crystals or stones could form in her bladder. There might be a genetic predisposition. Persian cats often suffer from FLUTD. Treatment depends on your vet's diagnosis of the cause.
If your cat is constantly going in and out of the litter box, trying to pee, it's possible she's blocked and must get to the vet immediately. Other symptoms include peeing outside of the litter box, blood in the urine, constant urination, anxiety, frequently licking her privates and crying when peeing. If your cat is obstructed, she might stop eating, throw up and become dehydrated, with kidney failure and death following if untreated.
Bladder stones, as opposed to crystals, can cause blockages in female cats. Again, they're more likely to cause blockage in a male. Usually, the stones irritate your female cat's bladder, causing her to pee blood. Your vet will take an X-ray or ultrasound of her bladder to determine if stones are an issue. "Stones" is not a misnomer -- these items resemble pebbles in your driveway, and your cat might have sandy particles in her bladder wall. Struvite stones can be dissolved with medication, but calcium oxalate stones require surgical removal. If your cat is blocked, emergency surgery is necessary. Your vet will recommend a prescription diet to prevent future stone formation. Always consult an experienced veterinarian regarding the health and treatment of your pet.
- Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine: Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease
- Newman Veterinary Medical Services: Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease
- Pet MD: Feline Idiopathic Lower Urinary Tract Disease in Cats
- University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine: Bladder Stones - An Uncomfortable Problem
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.