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One of the most common cat urine problems is feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD). This is a potentially life-threatening condition. This disease is caused by tiny mineral crystals that form in the cat’s urinary tract which can result in painful irritation and potentially serious blockages. Although this condition can occur in both sexes, male cats are more proned to the crystal blockages due to a urethra that is longer and narrower in male cats. Even though cats of any age may develop this illness, it is more common in middle-aged, over-weight cats that get little exercise, use an indoor litter box, have restricted access outside, and eat a dry diet. Environmental factors, such as interactions with owners, multi-cat households, and changes in routine may also increase the risk that a cat will develop FLUTD.
The symptoms of such cat urine problems may include urinating in unusual places, such as the bathtub, and the cat may repeatedly lick its penis or vulva. The cat can have an uncomfortable urgency to urinate and my make frequent trips to the litter box. The cat may strain or cry as it attempts to urinate. This straining may be mistaken for constipation by people. Another common symptom is blood in the urine. If you gently feel the abdomen you would be able to feel a hard structure in the pelvic region which is the very swollen bladder.
If the crystals block the urethra so that the cat cannot urinate, the kidneys may become irreversibly damage due to backup pressure. Within a short period of time toxic wastes can build up in the blood resulting in fatal consequences. With immediate medical treatment most cats recover, but the recurrence of FLUTD is common. Factors in the diet of cat foods, especially dry foods have been closely associated with this diet related illness. Several years ago, research clearly implemented the connection of FLUTD to the high magnesium content in dry cat foods. As a result the pet food manufactures changed their food formulations to help promote better urinary tract health. As a better preventive measure against the building up of crystals, the pH level of food has also been altered by adding acidifying ingredients. It was learned that slightly acidic urine helped dissolve the mineral waste crystals or prevented the formation in the first place.
One of the best preventive measures is to have plenty of water for your cat, especially when given dry food. I also had a problems with this when I moved and the water was more alkaline due to more lime, and it took only a few days form one of my cats to develop FLUTD. So I started to give them bottled or filtered water.