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March 9, 2021 |10 min read |Veterinarian Reviewed

The Benefits of Health Monitoring Litter

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One often overlooked aspect of a cat’s well-being is their urine. Yes, you read that right - cat urine is not just a matter of odor and cleanliness; it can reveal important insights into your pet’s health. In this blog, we’ll explore potential cat urine health risks and how health monitoring litter works as well as its benefits. 

 

What is Health Monitoring Litter? 

Health monitoring litter is a recent advancement in litter technology and helps cat parents monitor their cats’ health to ensure everything is looking good. This is especially beneficial because cats have evolved to hide pain and illness. Using health monitoring types of cat litter can make you aware of a condition way before you might have known otherwise.

Health monitoring cat litter is embedded with health monitors that can analyze various parameters of your cat’s urine. These sensors can detect changes in pH levels, the presence of urinary crystals, and even signs of urinary tract issues. It uses signals, such as colors, to determine if your cat has a potential health issue. PrettyLitter silica cat litter monitors your cat’s health, so you know if something is wrong.

Using Pretty Litter’s health monitoring technology, you can watch your cat’s litter change color. Different colors can mean different things. Here are a few:

  • Alkalinity - Alkaline urine can suggest certain types of urinary tract infections. Alkaline urine has a high urinary pH and can lead to bladder crystals and stone formation.
  • Acidity - Low pH can lead to calcium oxalate stone formation in the bladder. Causes for low urinary pH include diet, diseases such metabolic acidosis, and kidney tubular acidosis.
  • Blood - Pretty Litter can also alert you if there is blood in your cat’s urine, which could indicate bladder inflammation, bladder stones, and urinary tract infections.

PrettyLitter reacts to certain urinary elements such as levels of acidity and alkalinity to make color changes visible to the naked eye or show blood. Here is what each color could mean:

Dark Yellow/Olive Green

  • Urine within a typical range

Dark Green or Blue

This means your cat's urine has a high urinary pH, which could indicate:

  • Increased risk of struvite stone formation in the bladder
  • A bacterial infection: Certain species of bacteria can break down urea causing an increased urine pH

Yellow to Orange

This means that your cat’s urine is acidic (has a low urinary pH),  indicating possible:

Kidney disease or kidney tubular acidosis

  • Metabolic acidosis
  • UTI
  • Calcium oxalate crystal formation

Red

This shows the presence of blood, indicating possible:

  • Bladder inflammation
  • Bladder stones
  • UTI
  • Bladder cancer
  • Renal pathology (renal hematuria)

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Benefits of Health Monitoring Litter

The most significant benefit of a health monitoring litter is that it could potentially save your cat’s life by detecting a potential health issue early. 

Here are some other benefits of choosing a health monitoring litter:

Peace of Mind 

Rest easy knowing that you have your kitty’s health under control. No surprises, just a health monitoring litter that indicates potential health issues. 

Early Detection

With a health monitoring litter that instantly changes color based on the pH levels of your cat’s urine, you may be able to catch health concerns early, before they become a life-threatening condition. Conditions such as urinary stones, which can lead to urethral obstruction, are serious cat health concerns. This early detection could make the difference between life and death.

Save Money 

Another benefit of catching things early is that you might save money in the long-run. By knowing what’s going on with your cat, you might be able to avoid expensive emergency vet visits. When going to the vet, you will be armed with some evidence of something going on, which might lead your vet to the tests they need to run quicker and more efficiently. 

Save Time 

Lastly, a health monitoring litter provides you with real-time data at your fingertips. You can seek veterinary care promptly if the litter indicates a potential health problem and already have an idea of what you’re dealing with. 

In addition to the health benefits, PrettyLitter also offers many other benefits such as low dust, low-tracking, lightweight, and the litter is delivered to your door every 30 days, right when you need it.

 

What Conditions Can Health Monitoring Litter Evaluate? 

We talked about how Pretty Litter changes colors based on potential health concerns, but let’s look at some of the most common urinary issues that Pretty Litter can alert you of. 

Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) 

A urinary tract infection (UTI) in cats is an infection in the urinary tract caused by bacteria such as e.Coli. This bacteria can find its way up the urinary tract and make it hard or painful for your kitty to urinate because of inflammation. Some common signs of UTIs in cats include going in and out of the litter box often, straining to urinate, strong urine odor, or urinating small amounts of pee more frequently.

What Color Will Pretty Litter Change if My Cat Has a UTI?

 If your cat has a UTI, our health monitoring litter may change to yellow, indicating a low pH. It may also change to red as blood in the urine is a common symptom of a UTI in cats. 

Urinary Crystals

When the pH of a cat’s urine is too high or too low, it can cause microscopic crystals to form in the urinary tract. These microscopic crystals can then build up and get stuck in a cat’s urethra, making it difficult or impossible to urinate. 

Struvite crystals are the most common urinary crystals and are caused when a cat’s urine is too alkaline (the pH is too high). These crystals irritate the urinary tract, making it painful and difficult for a cat to urinate. 

The other type of urinary crystals is calcium oxalate crystals, which can be caused when a cat’s urine is too acidic (the pH is too low). 

What Color Will Pretty Litter Change if my Cat Has Urinary Crystals?

If your cat has struvite crystals (the most common kind), their urine may change to dark green/blue. If your cat has oxalate crystals, it may change to yellow/orange. In addition, either crystal type can result in blood in the urine because these crystals are irritating your cat’s bladder and urethra. Because of this, the litter might also turn red, indicating blood in the urine. 

Bladder Stones 

Bladder stones in cats are caused by rock-like collections of minerals in a cat’s bladder. The size of the stone(s) can range from a sand-life texture to the size of a granule of gravel. Sometimes, there is a mix of both large and small stones. The most common symptoms of bladder stones are straining to urinate and blood in the urine because the stones are rubbing against the bladder wall and irritating it. This then causes swelling and inflammation. 

What Color Will Pretty Litter Change if My Cat Has Bladder Stones?

If you use a health monitoring litter and you suspect that your cat has bladder stones, you will likely see the litter change either dark green/blue or red. Blood in the urine is a common symptom of bladder stones because the irritation caused by the stones rubbing against the bladder wall can cause blood in the urine. 

Feline Idiopathic Cystitis 

Another relatively common urinary tract disorder that our health monitoring litter might detect is feline idiopathic cystitis, or FIC. Unlike the other urinary health concerns on this list, FIC isn’t caused by a physical irritation of the urinary tract, but it does cause similar inflammation and symptoms. These symptoms include struggling to urinate, urinate in other places besides the litter box, crying or meowing while urinating, or not being able to produce much urine. Vets aren’t entirely sure what causes FIC, but some contributing factors can be stress, genetics, dehydration, and diet. 

What Color Will Pretty Litter Change if My Cat has FIC?

If you suspect that your cat has FIC, your Pretty Litter may turn blue/green or red. It might turn blue/green because the pH in your cat’s urine might be higher than normal if they are unable to urinate properly. It may turn red because blood in the urine is a common symptom of FIC. 

Urinary Blockage

A urinary blockage, also known as urethra obstruction, is generally the result of these conditions above because it is caused by a cat’s inability to pass urine properly. A cat can have a urinary blockage because the urethra is physically blocked by crystals or bladder stones, but it can also become blocked if the bladder becomes inflamed due to infection or muscle spasming.

What Color Will Pretty Litter Change if my Cat has a Urinary Blockage?

Because a urinary blockage can be a result of any of the conditions listed here, the health monitoring litter may change to dark blue (high urinary pH), yellow/orange (low urinary pH), or red (blood in the urine). One important note about urinary blockages: Although the litter might change colors if your cat is able to urinate, sometimes with a complete blockage your cat won’t be able to urinate at all. This is an extremely serious condition because it can cause elevated kidney levels and eventually death. If you notice that your cat is unable to urinate, take them to the vet right away. 

Health monitoring litter can be a life-saver (literally) by alerting you to potential health concerns early. Know exactly what’s going on with your cat’s health instantly with Pretty Litter’s health monitoring litter.

 

Sources:

  1. https://catbehaviorassociates.com/litter-box-monitoring/

  2. https://www.petcoach.co/article/6-signs-of-urinary-tract-disease-in-cats/

  3. https://www.pethealthnetwork.com/cat-health/cat-checkups-preventive-care/what%E2%80%99s-diagnostic-value-a-litter-box

  4. https://www.freshstep.com/cat-tips/behavior-health/signs-your-cat-is-sick/

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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.

Links

https://www.linkedin.com/in/christina-tasci-68ab815b

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Geoff DeWire

PrettyLitter's Veterinarian in Chief Dr. Geoff DeWire graduated UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine in 2007 where he earned the Pfizer Clinical Achievement Award for Excellence in Veterinary Medicine.

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