Feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD) is a term used to describe a variety of common disorders that affect the lower urinary tract in cats.
- Cats will often pass small frequent amounts of urine which may contain blood, they may visit the tray frequently and spend a long time straining to produce only a small amount of urine.
- Urination in inappropriate places is another common sign of FLUTD.
- Cats may lick their back end after passing urine and some cats will have bald areas on their abdomen from over-grooming due to discomfort.
Causes of FLUTD can include:
- Urinary infection
- Urinary stones or crystals
- Urethral obstruction
- Cystitis (inflammation of the bladder).
Analysis of the cats urine can be very useful and can often identify what is causing the problem, special non absorbent litter kits are available at the surgery.
Feline idiopathic cystitis (FIC)
Causes of FIC can include:
- Low water intake
- Litter tray issues
Here are some tips that can help cats suffering with FLUTD/FIC:
- Increasing water intake
- Situate water bowls away from food bowls, in the wild, cats would seek water separately to hunting for prey.
- Provide multiple water dishes at least one per cat plus one, try a variety of dishes, cats prefer ceramic, glass or metal dishes, plastic bowls can taint the taste water. Cats also prefer their whiskers to not touch the sides of the bowl so for food and water a wide flat bowl is better.
- Fill the water to the brim and change it daily
- Clean water bowls regularly with hot water and a small amount of washing up liquid, ensure there is no trace of the detergent left in the bowl before refilling
- Place water bowls away from litter trays and noisy thoroughfares, window ledges, tops of stairs, hearths are all useful locations for positioning water. Water bowls should also be provided in the cats outside area.
- Cat’s will often prefer free flowing water and a wide variety of cat fountains are now available, a dripping tap is also a favoured source of water
- Water can be added to dry food to increase water intake, alternatively try switching your cat to a wet diet (pouch/tinned)
- Cats have many different water preferences: warm, cold, room temperature, spring, rain, tap water a small amount of flavouring such as tuna /chicken broth can be added to increase the cats interest.
- Even if your cat normally goes to the toilet outside if they suffer from FLUTD/FIC it is essential that they have access to at least one litter tray indoors.
- In multi-cat household’s it is essential to have one litter tray per cat plus one, so if you have 3 cats you should have at least 4 trays.
- Litter trays should not be located in the same spot, they should be located in different areas throughout the house, away from other animals and noisy appliances. They should not be position directly in front of doors or windows, they may see other cats outside which will lead to them feeling vulnerable, this is not desirable when trying to use the loo!
- Many trays are too small for cats, an ideal tray should be one and a half times the length of the cat. Under-bed storage boxes with the lids removed are great and often cheaper alternatives to shop bought trays. Hooded trays give privacy but they can often trap odours and provide sites of ambush for conflicting cats, doors should be removed so the cat does not need to leave the tray “blind”.