Keeping a watchful eye for changes in our cat’s behavior is one of the most important things we can do to detect, remedy, and even prevent health problems. Catching a problem early can prevent a life-threatening health crisis, as we recently learned when one of our sharp-eyed volunteers noticed that Sylvester was having trouble using his box.
Sylvester is a beautiful, older cat, and a favorite of all the volunteers at our foster house. He loves affection and never lets a lap go unoccupied. One day, our volunteers noticed he was going from box to box, taking a long time to urinate, and producing small amounts of urine.
These are signs of urinary tract blockage, which is not only extremely painful but also can lead to kidney failure and death.
We immediately took him to the vet, who diagnosed him as having Feline Idiopathic Cystitis (FIC), also known as Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD). The vet treated him with subcutaneous fluids, an antibiotic, an anti-inflammatory, and a pain reliever. Happily, Sylvester recovered and is back making the circuit of available laps.
Dr. Wendy Brooks, in her article on lower urinary tract disease in cats, lists symptoms to watch out for:
- bloody urine.
- straining to urinate, which is sometimes mistaken for defecation.
- urinating in unusual places
- urinary blockage
- licking the urinary opening, usually due to pain.
Preventing urinary tract problems includes the kinds of things kitty will often need as part of his daily living anyway. Stress can lead to inflammation and FLUTD, so pay special attention if your cat experiences stressors like conflict with other animals, thunderstorms, or changes to living situations. Also, be sure to:
- keep fresh water to make sure they are drinking. Have water in more than one place.
- include canned food in his diet to increase liquid intake.
- give your cat lots of attention and affection
- play with your cats for stimulation and fun.
- provide scratching posts, climbing opportunities, and hiding places.
- use Calming Spray to ease the effect of stressful situations.