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What's the Latest on Feline Urinary Problems?

By: Dr. Debra Primovic

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Urinary problems can be caused by a variety of disorders including bladder stones, infections, urethral obstructions as well as a condition called feline idiopathic cystitis (FIC). FIC literally means an inflammation of the urinary bladder in cats of unknown origin.

FIC is also called feline idiopathic lower urinary tract disease (FiLUTD) or feline urologic syndrome (FUS). FIC has been estimated to affect up to 1% of the cat population.

Common signs are urinating outside of the litter box, straining to urinate or blood in the urine.

Despite many years of research, the cause of FIC remains unknown. Factors that may play a role in the development of FIC include viruses, type of diet fed (especially dry food diets with high mineral content), stress, confinement to a strictly indoor environment, and genetic factors (longhaired cats, for example, seem to be more commonly affected).

A lot of time and research has gone into studying this disease.

1. First – fine out the underlying cause. Allow your vet to perform some basic tests to determine if stones or an infection is present. If an underlying condition is found, it should be treated.

2. Second, accept that there is no cure. This is something some cats will often have to battle with their entire lives. But there are some things you can do to help.

3. Third, do things that can help. These things may include:

  • Treatment often involves a change in diet from a dry food to a canned food.

  • Minimize stress in the home – if you have a dog your cat doesn't like- make sure he or she has a provide place to escape such as a special room or upstairs.

  • Make sure your cats' environment is stimulating. Ensure you have plenty of scratching posts, beds, interesting windows to look out, bird feeders, and toys.

  • Stimulate your cat by playing at least 10 minutes at LEAST once a day.

  • Offer plenty of fresh clean water. Add more bowls in different locations around your home. Top off the water bowls and periodically add ice cubes to stimulate drinking. Also, some cats love automatic waterers.

  • Clean up urine messes on the carpet or furniture well. Use a good quality product such as Zero Odor, Anti-icky Poo, Urine Off, etc. and use according to package directions. For more information on urine odor eliminators and instructions – read this article.

    For more information on inappropriate urination, go to Inappropriate urination in Cats and also read feline idiopathic cystitis (FIC).


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