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September 4, 2018 |5 min read |Veterinarian Reviewed

Helpful Information About Lower Urinary Tract Disease in Cats

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Cats fill our homes with joy and, for most people, are a part of the family. That is why it is imperative to be aware of health issues that your cat can have.
According to Pet MD:

Previously referred to as feline urologic syndrome (FUS), feline lower urinary tract disease involves, as the name implies, the structures that make up the lower portion of the urinary tract. These structures include the urinary bladder and the urethra (the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body).

What Causes Lower Urinary Tract Disease?

There are a few causes of Feline Lower Urinary Tract disease, as well as environmental and emotional stress, which increases the risk.

Urinary Stones

This is one of the possible causes and happens when urinary stones are formed in the bladder or urethra.

Urinary Infection

Whether it's a virus, fungi, bacteria, or parasites - urinary infections are a condition that can cause signs of urinary tract disease.

Feline Idiopathic Cystitis

This diagnosis is a little more complicated. It is given when all other possible reasons are ruled out and is most common in cats younger than 10 years old.

Urethral Obstruction

This is a condition that can lead to FLUTD when a cat's urethra gets obstructed by urethral plugs or urethral stones. This blocks the urethra partially or wholly and can be life-threatening if not treated.

Various Other Causes

While the following is not the main cause of FLUTD, things like hyperthyroidism, diabetes, injury to the spinal cord or urethra, congenital abnormalities, and tumors of the urinary tract can cause Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease.

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How is FLUTD Treated?

Cat with Vet

How FLUTD is treated depends on what caused it in the first place. For instance, bladder infections can be treated with antibiotics but a cat that has an obstruction in the urethra will need to have the obstruction resolved via the passing of a catheter through the urethra and into the bladder, relieving the obstruction.

A visit to the vet will be helpful in choosing the best course of action on treating the urinary tract disease after determining the main cause.

How to Help Prevent Lower Urinary Tract Disease

There are a few things you can do to help ensure that your cat has a less chance of contracting Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease.
  • Make sure your cat drinks plenty of fresh water. Just like their human counterparts, water consumption is important for health of the urinary tract system.
  • Wet cat food is good for your cat due to the moisture content and should be a possible consideration if your cat needs more liquid nourishment.
  • Make sure the little box is always clean and that your cat is free from outside disturbances when using it.
  • Plan a stress-free environment for your cat with enrichment tools such as toys, scratching surfaces, and areas to hide. 

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Signs That May Indicate Lower Urinary Tract Disease

There are often signs to look for that may indicate a lower urinary tract disease in your cat. 
  • Urinating in small amounts
  • Blood found in the urine
  • Excessive genital licking
  • Straining to urinate
  • Crying out when urinating
  • Urinating outside of the litter box
  • Prolonged or frequent attempts to urinate

Person holding Cat

By knowing the causes of Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease and the signs of it being present, you can better take care of your cat and get him help if he needs it. While this is something that can be quite prevalent in cats and it is not always possible to prevent it, it is treatable and with your veterinarian's help, you can ensure your cat has a more healthy and happy life. 
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Christina Scamporrino is a lifelong animal lover and began working in the petcare space in 2019. Christina’s passion for the community of feline owners and enthusiasts have led her to designing premium packaging for PrettyLitter cat litter, PrettyPlease dry food, wet food, and treats, and a litter box designed to solve common litter box issues.

Outside of her professional work in the petcare space, Christina is a longtime kitten foster and has worked with several cat rescues throughout Southern California. When given the option, she favors orange cats, but loves all cats equally.


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Sara Ochoa

Sara Ochoa, DVM graduated from St. George's University Veterinary School in 2015. Since then, she has been at a small and exotic animal practice in Texas. In her free time, she loves making quilts and spending time with her husband Greg and their 4 fur kids. Two dogs, Ruby a schnoodle, and Bug a Japanese Chin, one cat named OJ and a leopard tortoise named Monkey.