How to Manage Ammonium Urate Stones in Cats

If your kitty strains to urinate, he may have urinary crystals.

If your kitty strains to urinate, he may have urinary crystals.

Your kitty can develop kidney stones like anyone else, and like anyone else, he’ll suffer considerable pain if he does. You may see him straining to urinate. What little urine he produces may be bloody. He'll also be in a bad mood. You can take some steps to help him.

Remove the regular litter from your cat’s litter box and thoroughly wash the box out. Pour the pinto beans into the box and set it back in its usual area. Your fur baby will have to urinate on the pinto beans, making it easier for your to collect a urine sample. Expect him to resist using the pinto beans as litter because this is not his usual litter. Besides, the beans are big and they press into his paws and bottom.

Pour any urine in the litter box into the disposable cup, and snap on the lid. Take this sample to your vet’s office for testing so he can determine if your buddy is suffering from ammonium urate crystals. Your kitty’s inability to urinate is a medical emergency. He needs immediate diagnosis and treatment.

Discuss your kitty's symptoms with your vet. These may include loss of appetite, blood in the urine, straining to pee, frequent attempts to urinate, and passing only small amounts of urine. Your kitty may appear depressed and may seem to have low back or abdominal pain. He also may vomit. Based on the results of your kitty’s urinalysis and your description of his symptoms, your vet may conclude that he has urinary crystals, called urolithiasis in medical lingo. In any language, this is not good news for your little guy, although his condition can be managed at home.

Your vet will want to run some disgnostic tests on your little feline. These include the urinalysis, a complete blood count and a biochemical profile. Your vet will also look for a condition called portosystemic shunts. In cats with this condition, blood from the intestinal tract doesn’t go through the liver. Instead, it goes directly into circulation throughout his body. This makes him more prone to developing urinary crystals.

Ask your vet what kinds of treatments you can manage at home. These include prescribed medications -- give your pal every single dose, even though he may fight you tooth and claw. Your vet may prescribe a special diet, which includes foods containing low protein. After your little one has been on this diet for some time, the pH of his urine should increase. If your vet finds that your kitty does have portosystemic shunts, he will suggest surgery to correct this condition, so your little guy doesn’t go on to develop urate calculi, or urinary stones.

Items you will need

  • Litter box
  • One cup of washed pinto beans
  • Disposable cup with tight lid
  • Prescribed medications
  • Prescribed dietary food


  • This condition is treatable as long as you, your family and your furry feline all stick with the regimen. This means no table scraps or regular cat food, either canned, moist or dry. All prescription, all the time. Yes, the food does cost a pretty penny.
  • You’ll have to monitor your pal for recurrences after his first bout with this condition. He will be prone to having urinary crystals, especially if he has portosystemic shunts.


  • When your kitty gets sick, don’t think that if he gets more water he’ll get better. If he develops a urethral obstruction, it's a medical emergency.

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About the Author

Genevieve Van Wyden began writing in 2007. She has written for “Tu Revista Latina” and owns three blogs. She has worked as a CPS social worker, gaining experience in the mental-health system. Van Wyden earned her Bachelor of Arts in journalism from New Mexico State University in 2006.

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