Cats can contract a urinary infection much more frequently than their owners would like to imagine. Most often, vets will conclude that the condition is idiopathic in nature, which is simply another way of saying they have no idea what might have caused it. As a result, a common symptom of a cat’s urinary tract infection, such as urinating outside the litter box, is generally (and erroneously) assigned to behavioral causes, like stress.
The reality is that a cat’s urinary tract infection is more likely to be physiological rather than behavioral. The condition is one of a number of urinary problems, which can include obstruction in the urinary passage as well as bladder inflammation, more commonly known as FLUTD (Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease).
This is a very unpleasant and painful situation for the cat, as it will strain to urinate but cannot do so. If you’ve ever suffered from a UTI of your own, you’ll have some idea of what your poor kitty is going through. You can best help if you become familiar with the reasons behind the condition, and learn and follow some basic rules of care for your afflicted feline.
As a cat owner, you’ve probably noticed that your kitty usually does not spend a lot of time at the water bowl. This infrequent consumption of water is natural behavior for cats. They originated in arid, desert areas, and over time and through evolutionary changes learned to derive the necessary liquids to sustaining life from their food. The animals they preyed upon provided most of the fluids cats needed to maintain good health. There was little need to drink water from a separate source, and that instinct is still in operation today. Unfortunately, this reluctance to take in water is a major factor in the increased prevalence of cat’s urinary infections.
Your vet, of course, can determine a specific treatment for your cat’s urinary infection based upon a review of the results of a urinalysis, among other avenues of investigation, but you can help keep your cat’s urinary tract in tip-top health, as well as cut down on vet bills, by putting into practice some proven methods of prevention.
1. water is the most important thing.
Wash water bowls daily with clean, hot water. If you are using soap to clean them, make sure to rinse the bowl thoroughly as the chemicals in detergent can be harmful.
Make sure water is easy for your cat to find. Place several water bowls around your home. Also, make the bowl large enough that your cat can drink out of them without their whiskers brushing the sides.
For a little extra money, you can purchase a free flowing water drinking fountain. Cats are intrigued by water that moves, and may be encouraged to drink.
If you can afford it, invest in a free flowing water drinking fountain. Cats love moving water and their curiosity may encourage them to imbibe.
2. Steer clear of feeding your cat foods with a high magnesium content, like beef, pork, heart and oily fish.
3. Choose natural foods over prescription diets, buying organic whenever you can. Check with your vet to be sure that the food you provide will produce urine with the correct pH level.
4. Putting a tablespoon of vinegar in your cat’s water once per day keeps the pH in the urine slightly acidic. This helps in preventing bladder stones, which are a common cause of cat’s urinary infections.
As always, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Follow these basic rules of health and maintenance, and your cat will live a happier, healthier life free of feline urinary tract infections.