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Pet Health, Interesting Facts, and Trivia
Urinary Tract Infections in Cats



kitten playing

INFORMATION ABOUT FELINE URINARY SYNDROME

What are FUS and FLUTD?

Feline Urinary Syndrome (FUS) refers to a group of health problems that can affect your cat's lower urinary tract. A significant number of cats treated by veterinarians each year suffer from urinary tract diseases. If not detected early, these conditions can quickly become severe. The best outcome is a very expensive veterinary bill. The worst is death.

What causes urinary tract diseases?

FUS and FLUTD encompass a wide range of ailments with many contributing factors. They may be caused by infections, tumors, trauma or congenital defects.

Commonly, when the pH of a cat's urine is alkaline, crystals of magnesium-ammonium-phosphate, called struvite, form and accumulate in the cat's bladder. These sand-like crystals can block the flow of urine, especially in male cats. If the flow is completely shut down, waste products usually eliminated through urine can accumulate in the body quickly. Kidney failure, coma and death may result in as few as 48 hours.

Is my cat in a high-risk group?

Urinary tract diseases affect all breeds. Neutered males suffer from them most often. In fact, many knowledgeable veterinarians recommend neutering male cats no earlier than 9 months in order to let the urethra grow to its full diameter rather than neutering early and possibly stopping development of the urethra at a smaller size. Larger openings allow larger stones to pass if a cat develops FUS.

Stressful situations -- such as weather changes, moving to a new home, or introducing a new pet into the home -- have been linked to higher incidences of urinary tract disease.

Diets high in ash (particularly magnesium) have been suspected of precipitating problems. Also, problems can recur in cats previously treated for such ailments.

cat using litterbox

How can I tell if my cat has a urinary tract problem?

    Your cat may have an infection if he or she:
  • * Eliminates frequently or returns to his litter box again and again with little success
  • * Stops using its litter box
  • * Leaves blood or blood-tinged urine in the litter box.
  • * Paces restlessly, cries, vomits, licks its genitals frequently, or rests on cool surfaces such as bathtubs and tile floors.

What should I do if I suspect a problem?

Contact your veterinarian immediately.

Can I prevent the problem?

    There are no sure things in FUS prevention. However, there are some steps we recommend.
  • * Feed a high quality diet low in ash and magnesium
  • * Use Scientific Cat Litter which detects changes in the cat urine pH. This is particularly important for cats who have suffered from the syndrome in the past.
  • * Feed a product such as Methigel which helps to keep your cat's urine in the acidic range which helps to reduce the formation of struvite crystals.