You've just been through feline lower urinary tract disease with Kitty. You felt so bad for him, as he was constantly in the litter box trying to pee, or licking himself to ease his discomfort. Now that he's better, feeding the right kind of food can prevent FLUTD from recurring.
Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease
Formerly known as feline urologic syndrome, FLUTD isn't just one disease, but several conditions that can strike Kitty's urinary tract. These include urinary tract blockages, cystitis, infections and stones. Since symptoms are so similar, your vet makes a diagnosis based on feeling the cat's lower abdomen and a urinalysis. If the urinalysis doesn't reveal the culprit, blood tests or X-rays should do the trick. Treatment depends on what is causing Kitty's urinary tract problems. He might be treated simply with medication, or need a hospital stay so he can be catheterized to let the urine out. Some cats require surgery.
To keep FLUTD at bay, follow your vet's recommendations for feeding Kitty. How you feed him depends on exactly what form of FLUTD he had. If his problems were caused by struvite crystals in the urine, look for cat food low in magnesium containing nutrients that make urine more acidic. Struvite crystals form when the urine is too alkaline. If Kitty had calcium oxalate stones, it's the opposite story. These crystals form when magnesium is low and urine too acidic. In either case, it's better to feed a canned or raw diet to your FLUTD-prone cat than dry food. If Kitty insists on dry food, as some cats do, wet it before feeding.
It's not just the type of cat food that's important to feed Kitty so he doesn't experience another bout of FLUTD, but how you feed it. Rather than give him just breakfast and dinner, try to feed him several small meals during the day. If you're working all day, feed him before you leave in the morning, as soon as you come back in the evening and right before you go to bed. If you can get another feeding in there somehow, give it a shot. Kitty should always have plenty of fresh water available. Cats like routine, so don't change Kitty's daily schedule unless you can't help it.
OK, your Kitty is a treat hog. You love to make him happy with his favorites. If he has had FLUTD, he might be a disappointed cat, because you'll have to take it easy on the treats. If Kitty is overweight, ask your vet about putting him on a diet. Fat cats are more likely to experience FLUTD, as well as other health problems.
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.