While watching Kitty take care of business in the litter box isn't a favorite pastime for you or the cat, it's important to make sure he eliminates without problems. If your cat strains to urinate, take him to the vet. Potassium citrate supplements help decrease formation of certain bladder stones in cats.
Signs of bladder stones in a cat include straining to pee, blood in the urine, frequently licking the genital area and urinating in odd places. Some of these signs mimic bladder infections. Your vet will take X-rays to determine if there are stones in the bladder. A urine sample indicates the type of stones causing the problem. If they are calcium oxalate stones, surgery may be necessary. After your cat recovers, the vet may recommend potassium citrate supplements to help the cat avoid further stones.
How It Works
Potassium citrate supplements increase levels of citrate in your cat's bladder. Instead of binding to the oxalate, which causes calcium oxalate stones, the calcium attaches to the citrate. Other types of stones, including cystine and urate, are also less likely to form when the cat receives potassium citrate supplements. The potassium increases the alkaline levels in urine, which also acts to decrease stone formation.
Cats at Risk
While any cat can develop calcium oxalate stones, some are more at risk. These includes purebred Himalayan and Burmese cats, which are genetically predisposed for calcium oxalate stone formation. In general, stone formation occurs in cats age 5 years and up.
While female cats may be able to pass small stones, the urethra of the male cat is too small for passage of any stones. Ask your veterinarian if your cat is at risk. The vet can perform a urinalysis to check acid levels in the urine as well as take a blood sample and determine if the cat has high levels of calcium in the blood. If the cat is at risk, your vet may recommend supplementing with potassium citrate. However, supplementation is for prevention only. If stones are already present, surgery is usually necessary -- with the occasional exception of female cats able to pass little stones.
Potassium citrate supplements come in liquid, capsule, tablet and chewable forms. Which type you give your cat depends on veterinary recommendation and ease of administration. Some cats are easy to pill -- with others, you may fee; like you take your life in your hands. You may be able to mix the supplements in with cat food. Flavored potassium citrate supplements make dosing your cat easier; a wide range of flavors is available. Follow your veterinarian's instructions on dosing strengths for your cat.
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.