FLUTD in cats is a very serious condition and if is left untreated can result in the death of your cat.
It is almost always caused by the diet that you are feeding your pet and if you are feeding your cat dry food, you may be slowing sentencing them to an early death.
Feline lower urinary tract disease, also called FLUTD, describes a series of conditions that affects your pet’s urinary bladder as well as the urethra.
The urethra is the tubular structure that leads from the bladder.
This condition can affect cats of any age but is found more frequently in middle aged or older cats.
Overweight cats are also at a higher risk especially if they get very little exercise and have very little outside activity.
Multiple cat households also place your cat at an increased risk as well as frequent changes in their daily routine.
There are several symptoms that you can easily spot, and catching them early may save your cats life.
FLUTD in cats will generally produce symptoms that are very easy to recognize.
The most common sign that your cat has this condition or is in the early stages of developing it will be a prolonged squatting either in or out of the litter box.
They will show signs of straining and will usually produce only a very small amount of urine.
This is often confused with constipation by owners, but if it persists, your cat is telling you that something is not right.
As the infection increases, your cat will go through this regime much more frequently and if they can urinate, they will probably move out of the litter box.
In most cases it will be some place that is cool such as the floor or even your bathtub as it is more comfortable for them.
This process is now starting to cause them a lot of pain.
The next series of symptoms will be small amounts of blood in the urine which is usually followed by your cat frequently licking their genital area, again because it is starting to hurt.
As it grows in severity, your cat may start to vomit as several bad things are happening inside.
FLUTD in cats, as it grows, will affect male cats more severely than females.
There is an old expression called Blocked Toms and it is in reference to this condition as the male’s urethra has developed crystals which are preventing them for urinating.
The bladder is still filling, but it is blocked.
There are several different factors that may be contributing to FLUTD in cats.
They include bacterial and viral infections, tumors in the urinary tract, bladder stones, or crystals in the urine.
It may also be a congenital abnormality; however, in a majority of the cases the exact cause is never determined.
But the chances are that is all starts with what you are feeding your pet.
FIC, also known as feline idiopathic cystitis is the most common cause given to this condition.
However, what can be very disturbing to cat owners is that this is a diagnosis of exclusion; meaning that all of the other diagnosis failed to be accurate.
If there is no actual obstruction, the symptoms will dissipate in your cat within a few weeks. If it does not dissipate, the synopsis may than be that it is caused by stress, but that is all it is, a synopsis with no proof.
Another potential cause may be from the development of urinary stones which are very hard stones that are produced by too much magnesium or calcium in your cat’s diet.
There will be two types of stones that can develop; struvite and calcium oxalate stones.
However, struvite stones are much less common as both dry and wet cat foods have limited the amounts of magnesium which cause these stones to form.
Calcium stones that have not been controlled by the diet will have to be flushed form your cat’s bladder with fluids, and if that fails, surgery will be required to remove the stones.
Both of these conditions almost always repeat themselves if the diet is not immediately changed.
However, the most serious of the causes will be from an actual obstruction that is called a urethral obstruction.
This is a situation when your cat’s urethra becomes either partially or totally blocked, usually by a minerals or mucus protein building up.
This has now become a very serious situation for your cat.
Once the urethra becomes totally blocked the kidneys can no longer function properly in the removal of toxins.
If not corrected immediately, electrolyte imbalances occur which will ultimately cause the heart to fail, costing your cat its life.
This blockage almost always occurs in male or non-neutered cats.
In almost every case of FLUTD in cats, whatever the cause of the obstruction is, it can be related back to their diets.
No cat should ever be fed dry food as the major portion of their diet, but cats with this condition that are fed dry food is almost like putting them through a death sentence.
Cats that eat dry food as their primary diet will develop a more concentrated urine and they do not drink enough water to make up for the imbalance.
Dry food also contains too much grain and cats cannot process grain very well, as they are carnivores by nature and require meat.
Their systems are also designed to absorb a lot of moisture from the meat in their diets.
The first form of treatment will be to get them as hydrated as possible with canned wet food, raw meat, and as much water as you can possible get them to drink.
You must keep their urinary tracts naturally flushed and functioning properly.
Once you have them properly hydrated there are also several natural treatments that can help this condition from reoccurring.
Uva Ursi is a well-known urinary antiseptic that assists your cat in protecting both the bladder wall and the urethra and has been used for centuries.
This herb has antibacterial properties that fight infection and contains tannins which have astringent effects and help to both shrink and tighten mucous membranes in the body.
By doing so, it naturally reduces inflammation and helps your cat urinate naturally.
Cranberry extract makes the urine more acidic which makes it much less susceptible to infection.
A wide held belief is that it is not needed for FLUTD in cats since bacteria and infection are not a major cause.
However, cranberry has the ability to block any type of bacteria and helps to flush the bladder in cats.
It is important to remember that the majority of causes of this actual infection are not known; and as such preventative measures that are proven can only help to protect your cat.
Just like us, your cat is what they eat.
Feeding them with a wet food of your choice as well as keeping them properly hydrated will help them from developing FLUTD in cats. And preventive steps can only help in the process.