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How Does Your Cat's Diet Affect Their Urinary Health

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by Alexander Thompson
May 01, 2022
4 minute read
TABLE OF CONTENTS
  • How Does Your Cat's Diet Affect their Urinary Health?
  • How Do You Ensure Proper Urinary Health in Your Cat?
  • What Are the Common Urinary Problems in Cats?
  • What Are the Symptoms Associated With Cat Urinary System Diseases?
  • What Causes Urinary Tract Diseases in Cats?
  • In Conclusion
The cat’s urinary system is extensive – comprising the bladder and kidneys. Its role is to process and expel waste products from the cat’s body. However, kidney issues may arise, impairing the capability of the kidneys to remove these wastes. The bladder is also not immune to problems – urinary obstructions, stones, and inflammation are common bladder-related issues in cats. Each of these problems adversely affects your feline friend's overall well-being and comfort.

How Does Your Cat's Diet Affect their Urinary Health?

Cat foods are not ideal water sources because they are almost always in dried form. You will find less than 10% water content in most cat foods, and this is necessary to preserve the foods and ensure extended shelf life. This amount of water is far less than the standard water requirements for cats. To make up for this, cats tend to directly drink as much water as possible.
The evolution of cats as desert animals makes them largely insensitive to low water amounts. These exciting creatures will only drink when the thirst is unbearable, which often leads to an overall water shortage in their systems. Cats drinking too little water can cause urinary problems.
The excessive carbohydrate content in cat food also causes obesity. Starch is almost a constant component in all cat foods, including the mid, low, and high-end foods. The starch is absorbed in the cat's body system - the unabsorbed starch is stored as fat. When fat becomes too much, it burdens the kidney and liver, forcing the cats to develop urinary system issues.

How Do You Ensure Proper Urinary Health in Your Cat?

As the cat parent, it is your responsibility to protect your cat's urinary health. Here are some practical tips you can implement.

Change the Diet

Switch from conventionally dry food to a fresh, natural diet, wet food, or meat. Check here to learn more about Why Is My Cat Not Eating.

Give Them Nutritional Supplements

Feeding or injecting your cats with anti-inflammatory ingredients or drugs only can adversely affect their kidney and liver functions. That is why it is best to give them probiotics and nutritional cream to protect the kidney and liver. This nutrition hack also helps maintain an overall healthy physique for the cat.
a cat is eating his food

Give Them More Attention and Care

Cats dealing with urinary problems tend to be in discomfort for the most part. Therefore, taking them into new environments or getting them to meet new people can be difficult for them. If a change in environment is unavoidable, ensure it comes with maximum comfort and attention.

What Are the Common Urinary Problems in Cats?

The common collective term for these diseases is the feline lower urinary system disease. However, there are several diseases linked to a feline urethra.

Feline Idiopathic Cystitis

Feline idiopathic cystitis is the most common of all cat urinary system diseases - 60% more common than the others. Scientists are yet to identify the exact cause of this disease, which can be severe or mild. For instance, it may cause urinary tract obstruction in some cases, requiring proper treatment by a vet. Conversely, if it does not lead to urinary tract obstruction, the cat can recover independently without any external drug or prescription.

Feline Urethral Calculi

Feline Urethral Calculi or Cat Urethra Calculi is another common urinary disease in cats, accounting for 20% of cat urinary diseases. It is also called the cat calculi and of two types: the alkaline calculi and the acid calculi. Cats suffering from urethral calculi tend to eat more meat than usual, producing acidic urine naturally with a pH of 6.0-6.5. In cases where the pH value gets really high, the urine becomes alkaline and leads to alkaline stones if untreated.

Cat Urinary Tract Embolism

This is a cat urinary disease associated with cat stones. In situations where the alkaline stone formed due to cat calculi blocking the urinary tract at the urethra, it narrows the urinary tract of the male cat, causing urinary tract embolism.

Urinary Tract Infections

It is relatively unlikely for a cat below 10 to develop cystitis due to bacterial infection. However, it occurs in cats older than ten due to decreased urine concentration. The vet will most likely prescribe an antibiotic treatment, but only after proper diagnosis.

What Are the Symptoms Associated With Cat Urinary System Diseases?

You can pick out a urinary system disease in your cats by looking out for the following symptoms:

Visiting the Toilet Without Urinating

The affected cat visits the toilet more frequently because it wants to urinate. However, it struggles to get the urine out.

Excessive Peeing

This may come as an unintentional discharge of urine before visiting the toilet or an inability to urinate despite visiting the toilet. In the case of the former, the cat tends to behave coquettishly. So, rather than criticize your cats in such situations, you should try to identify the cause of the indiscriminate discharge of urine. A urinary system disease is most likely a culprit.

Shouting in Pain

If the cat cries in pain as a reaction to its inability to sustain urinating for long, then a urinary tract disease may be involved. Watch out for "wow wow wow" cries from your cat when it is in the toilet.

Urinating in an Exposed Space and Licking it

Cats with urinary system diseases often urinate in uncomfortable and exposed places and end up licking these spots for relief. If unchecked, these can lead to swelling and inflammation.

Limited Urine Production

Cats suffering from a urinary tract disease will produce less urine than usual. But this is only noticeable on close observation.

Hematuria

Urinary system diseases in cats can sometimes lead to hematuria.

What Causes Urinary Tract Diseases in Cats?

Cats' urinary diseases hardly occur naturally - there are mostly incentives that fast-track their emergence. These incentives can be categorized as emotion-related, food-related, and water-related.

Water-Related Causes

Cats drink a minimal amount of water because they are desert animals, which is one of the precursors of urethral problems. An average cat requires just below 200 ml of water daily to stay healthy. Some cats may drink less due to their systems. In that case, cat parents may replace such cats' mobile drinking water equipment. Cats are known to drink more water if the source is flowing water. So, encourage your cats to drink more water by getting a flowing water source or by getting them to drink from their cans. We have written a blog about water and your cats’ health, check to learn more.
a cat is drinking water

Stress-Related Causes

Taking your cat to a new area or environment usually causes some form of fright, forcing him to develop a stress response, which comes as mood swings, anxiety, and emotional fluctuations. It may also lead to an increase in endocrine activity of the adrenal axis. The enhanced performance affects the autonomic function and the nerves associated with urination. In the end, the affected cat develops severe urinary system issues.

In Conclusion

Cat urinary system diseases are not the end of your cat. However, the fact that cats are not as advanced as humans when it comes to pain expressions means you must be overly vigilant as a cat parent. Always look out for your cats - the best way out of a urinary system disease in cats is prevention. However, if that fails, ensure your cat promptly gets the best medical treatment. Lastly, get your cat to drink water and more water always.
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