Cats can contract a urinary infection much more frequently than their owners would like to imagine. Most often, vets will conclude that the condition is idiopathic in nature, which is simply another way of saying they have no idea what might have caused it. As a result, a common symptom of a cat’s urinary tract infection, such as urinating outside the litter box, is generally (and erroneously) assigned to behavioral causes, like stress.
The reality is that a cat’s urinary tract infection is more likely to be physiological rather than behavioral. The condition is one of a number of urinary problems, which can include obstruction in the urinary passage as well as bladder inflammation, more commonly known as FLUTD (Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease).
This is a very unpleasant and painful situation for the cat, as it will strain to urinate but cannot do so. If you’ve ever suffered from a UTI of your own, you’ll have some idea of what your poor kitty is going through. You can best help if you become familiar with the reasons behind the condition, and learn and follow some basic rules of care for your afflicted feline.
You may have noticed that your cat rarely visits the water bowl. A reluctance to drink water is actually natural for cats. They originally evolved in arid, desert climates, and time and evolution made them able to get the liquid they needed for survival primarily from their food. The animals they consumed provided most of the fluids necessary to maintain optimum health. Water from a separate source was rarely needed. However, this instinct is still a part of cats today, and is a major reason there has been a rise in the number of cat urinary infections reported.
A specific treatment of your cat’s urinary infection will be made by your vet, based upon the results of a urinalysis, among other things. But you can help keep your cat from getting a UTI to begin with, saving the cost of a vet visit, by using an ounce of prevention.
1. Water is of primary importance.
Using clean, hot water, wash your cat’s water bowl – daily. If you use soap, make certain the bowl is thoroughly rinsed to prevent any harm as a result of the chemicals in the detergent.
Make sure water is easy for your cat to find. Place several water bowls around your home. Also, make the bowl large enough that your cat can drink out of them without their whiskers brushing the sides.
For a little extra money, you can purchase a free flowing water drinking fountain. Cats are intrigued by water that moves, and may be encouraged to drink.
If you cat primarily eats dry food, moisten it by mixing in some water. Using chicken broth will make it even more attractive.
2. Don’t feed your kitty foods that contain a high magnesium content. This includes pork, heart, beef and oily fish.
3. Choose natural foods over prescription diets, buying organic whenever you can. Check with your vet to be sure that the food you provide will produce urine with the correct pH level.
4. Putting a tablespoon of vinegar in your cat’s water once per day keeps the pH in the urine slightly acidic. This helps in preventing bladder stones, which are a common cause of cat’s urinary infections.
When you follow these basic rules of health maintenance, you have done a great deal to ensure your cat lives a long, happy, and healthy life, untroubled by feline urinary tract infections.
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