Urinary problems in cats — it’s something many cat parents are familiar with. Whether it involves UTIs, urethral obstructions, environmental issues, stress, etc., if you live with cats long enough, you probably have had to deal with it in some form or another. For some cats, a urinary problem is a one-time thing, but for others, urinary issues become recurring events. In the case of obstructions, emergency care is required because a cat can die very quickly. When a cat eliminates outside of the litter box, you can’t just ignore it, or place blame on the cat as being “bad”. More often than not, there’s a medical reason for the behavior.
Obstructions can occur because of the development of crystals that harden into stones (uroliths). The crystals can be made of magnesium ammonium phosphate (known as struvite) or they can be calcium oxalate. If crystals are detected in the urine by your veterinarian, a specific diet will be prescribed based on the type of crystals in order to alter the pH of the cat’s urine.
Even though litter box maintenance isn’t high on your list of fun things to do, it’s essential to monitor what is or isn’t happening in the box. Changes in how the urine looks, the amount, smell, frequency, or signs of blood are all red flags that something is wrong and your cat needs to be seen by the veterinarian. It’s also important to be observant of changes in your cat’s behavior, appetite, and weight.
Some Signs of Urinary Tract Problems
Increased or decreased urination
Changes in weight
Loss of appetite
Elimination outside of litter box
Frequent trips to the litter box
Crying or straining upon urination
Blood in urine
Change in urine color or odor