Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease, or FLUTD, is a common malady that can be a serious, frustrating, and sometimes expensive problem for cats and their owners. FLUTD is inflammation of the urinary tract – with or without bacterial contamination, or infection. It often results in cats urinating outside the litter box, straining to urinate, crying out when urinating, or increased frequency of urination.
FLUTD can affect any gender or age of cat, but it is most commonly seen in those animals that are middle-aged and overweight. Risk factors include lack of exercise, stress, and chronic, mild dehydration. There are a number of simple tricks and tips that cat owners can follow to help minimize the chances of their cat (or wallet) suffering from FLUTD:
- Encourage drinking by always providing ample fresh, clean water. Pet fountains can help – check out your local pet store. Offering canned food for at least part of your cat’s diet will also increase his or her water intake.
- Feed your cats measured amounts of high-quality, veterinarian-approved cat foods. These foods are designed to optimize and maintain urine pH, which minimizes the risk of FLUTD. Try hiding food bowls with the dry portion of their food in different locations around the house, or tuck it into a treat ball, to encourage activity and mental stimulation while eating. Feed a measured amount to ensure that your cat doesn’t become overweight. If you are unsure whether or not your cat is at a proper weight, discuss this with your veterinary health team at your next appointment.
- Decrease stress in your cat’s environment by providing with window perches, scratching posts, and time for active play with you. Try to minimize the stress on your cat during times of transition such as new additions to the family, moves or renovations, by providing them with a quiet space in which to retreat that has all the amenities they need (food, water, litter). Pheromones such as ‘Feliway’ TM can be extremely beneficial as well.
- The last thing we want is to live in a house dominated by litter boxes. But if you have multiple cats, your house should contain multiple litters. Most cats prefer these to be big and uncovered, and it is recommended to have at least one litter box on each floor of your house that is used by your feline companions.
If you have any questions or concerns about your feline friend’s urinary tract health, don’t hesitate to contact your veterinary health team. We are here to help!