Urolithiasis in cats can cause back pain, abdominal pain and in some cases cause odor in the urine if a bacterial infection is present.
However, in most cases, your cat may show absolutely no symptoms until this condition has become advanced and is very serious.
This condition produces what is referred to as uroliths, which are urinary tract stones that can be found in your cat’s kidney and ureters, which are the tubes between the kidney and the bladder, or the bladder itself.
These stones can also be found in the tubes between the bladder and the urinary system opening that is called the urethra.
The most commonly referred to of these stones is kidney stones which is somewhat misleading as these stones can occur in several places in your cat’s urinary system.
Stones that are found in the lower urinary tract are classified as FLUTD in cats, or Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease.
There are two types of stones or crystals your cat will develop with Urolithiasis in cats; Struvite and Oxalate stones.
In the vast majority of cases these stones are the result of your cat’s diet, but more importantly their diet in relationship to the amount of water that they drink.
Water is most important nutrient in your cat’s diet and it will be instrumental in helping your cat to control these urinary stones.
The development of these stones by your cat will depend of three distinctive factors.
The first is your cats urine pH, next is the urine volume, and the concentration of minerals in the urine.
As recently as the mid 1980’s, struvite stones caused over 80 percent of all cases of Urolithiasis in cats.
These stones are made up primarily of magnesium ammonium phosphate and most of the commercial cat food up until than had too much magnesium.
As a result of these stones, the food manufactures changed the formulations and lowered the magnesium content and these types of stones decreased dramatically.
However, as a result of the new formulations, the oxalate form of stones did just the inverse; they drastically increased.
Oxalate stones are made up of calcium oxalate crystals.
Currently it is estimated that the struvite stones account for about 50 percent of all stones found in cats, while the oxalate stones account for about 40 percent of the stones.
The actual cause of the remaining ten percent is not fully known.
Urolithiasis in cats and stones in the urinary tract are very common and have been throughout history as this is not a modern day problem.
Your cat developing these stones will consist of several factors such as feeding habits and frequency, food that have a moderate acidity and avoiding obesity.
It will also include reducing stress, and increasing water consumption.
However, the three most prevalent causes of Urolithiasis in cats by far and away are the acidity in the food, frequency of feeding, and water consumption.
Finding the correct amount of acidity levels that is best for your cat will be extremely difficult, but providing them the correct amounts of water will not be.
Water is your cat’s number one nutritional food and they must have a constant supply of water to avoid developing either form of these stones.
Your cat must have access to fresh water at all times and there is a very easy model to follow to make sure they get the correct amounts to avoid Urolithiasis in cats.
Your cat should consume 2.5 times the amount of water in relationship to the amount of food that they eat. If your cat eats one pound of food daily, they must have at least 2.5 pounds of water.
If they eat eight ounces of dry food a day, they must have 20 ounces of water. There are eight pounds of water in a gallon, and 20 ounces wound be 2/1/2 cups of water.
The next most pertinent factor in preventing Urolithiasis in cats will be the actual feeding practices that you place your cat under.
If your cat is prone to developing struvite stones and you place you cat on a regimented routine and feed your cat only at certain times, you may be helping these stones in developing.
You need control the amount of food that they eat but you need to let them eat ad Librium, which means having their food available at all times and letting them choose when to eat.
The reason for this is very simple; after eating a large meal the pH in your cat’s urine becomes more like alkaline. By allowing smaller meals throughout the day, the urine will stay more acidic.
Diets that are formulated to contain lower protein and magnesium levels combined with the increased urine acidity levels should minimize these types of stones.
There are several commercial foods available that can help with this type of stone including Hills w/d, Canine Urinary SO, and Purina’s UR Urinary cat food.
Some cats may be genetically predisposed in developing oxalate crystals, especially if they are fed diets that are low in magnesium and as a result increase the acidic content in their urine.
To fight this form of stones, your cat must be fed diets that are moderate in calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium levels.
If your cat’s urine is acidic, they are much more likely to develop the oxalate crystals. Although Vitamin C is a terrific nutrient for several diseases and conditions in your cat, this is not one of them.
Large amounts of Vitamin C can trigger the development of acid in the urine and should be avoided in this case.
With this form of stones, supplements of calcium and phosphorus should be used only as directed.
High levels of urinary calcium increase the risk of calcium oxalate crystals, and Vitamin D, which regulates calcium in your cat’s body, should also be only used at the recommended levels.
However, it is also extremely important that calcium is not severely restricted either, as this will also increase the amount of calcium oxalate that is found in the urine.
Magnesium should also be utilized only as directed as both too high of levels and too low of levels triggers the formation of these stones in your cat.
Your cat needs these minerals to function properly, but the fine line is using them exactly as directed when dealing with these stones.
Urolithiasis in cats can be a very painful ordeal. Your veterinarian can very easily locate these stones in several tests including x-rays; and once they are located, identify the type of stone that has developed.
Once identified, the proper diet can be started and than properly monitored.
However, the best thing you can do in helping to prevent either type of these stones is to carefully give your cat only the recommended amount of food and let them eat it as they choose.
This will help prevent the pH levels from not over loading in your cat.
But the most important thing you can do is to make sure they get enough water as this can help dissolve the stones and keep them from forming to start with as with.