One of the most common reasons for an emergency trip to the vet for cats (especially males and neutered males) is urinary obstruction. Feline urinary obstruction is a life-threatening veterinary emergency. What do cat owners need to know about urinary/litter box problems in cats to prevent this dangerous situation?
Time for some alphabet soup! If your cat (male or female) is experiencing such symptoms as urinating outside of the box, going frequently but with little output, vocalizing while urinating, excessive grooming and licking of kitty private parts, and blood in the urine, you may have already heard these terms:
FUS: feline urologic syndrome
FIC: feline idiopathic or interstitial cystitis
FLUTD: feline lower urinary tract disease
Feline urinary problems require veterinary care. If there is no obstruction, your cat may be experiencing inflammation of the bladder or urinary tract and require treatment. This can range from a change in diet, the addition of supplements to the diet, medication, and encouraging your cat to increase water intake. Sometimes no physical cause is found for the inflammation, and your vet may talk to you about ways of reducing stress in your cat. This can include adding extra litter boxes in a multi-cat household and trying calming pheromones.
Males and neutered males are at greater risk for urinary blockage, and should always be examined for a physical cause when experiencing litter box problems. Males can be obstructed by mucus plugs or bladder stones. There are two common types of stones, struvite and calcium oxalate. Luckily, struvite stones can often be dissolved by feeding your cat a special urinary diet. Calcium oxalate stones may require additional treatment besides diet. Consult with your vet about appropriate treatment options.
Urethral obstruction in males and neutered males is a true veterinary emergency. Please seek immediate treatment if you suspect a urinary blockage. A completely obstructed cat can die in as little as 24 hours, so emergency intervention is critical.
For more information on feline urinary problems, check out the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine’s Feline Health Center HERE.