Do you have questions about cat urinary tract health? Cat urinary tract health usually refers to feline urinary tract disease. This may develop into a serious condition that affects both male and female cats, and usually in the middle age years. (Kittens rarely have such a condition) Urinary tract infection in cats starts with a bacterial infection in and around the bladder and urethra. As the infection spreads it gets progressively worse, when minerals clump together in the urethra preventing urine from passing.
Why does this condition happen? There is no sure explanation for cat urinary tract health problems. It's easy to speculate that bacteria or contamination is the sole cause of the problem, though most vets would look beyond the peripheral. Some common beliefs include that bad diets result in unhealthy pH in the urine, or that a cat is not drinking enough water every day. Other factors may be stress, a lack of exercise, breeding propensity, allergies and obesity.
What are the symptoms to look out for when trying to catch problems with cat urinary tract health? If you see that the cat is having difficulty urinating (as evidenced by small volume) then this is a probable sign. In addition, if you notice your cat licking its genital area excessively or urinating in areas outside the litter box, then you may have reason for concern. You should also be observant as to any changes in the cat's behavior such as decreased appetite, decreased appearances (preferring to "hide") or any blood in the urine. Last but not least, a cat meowing out in pain is obviously very indicative of an internal problem.
What can you do to improve cat urinary tract health? You may have noticed that stress is one of the causes of the condition, and while you wouldn't think that a cat has much stress to worry about (likely your cat doesn't work as hard as Morris the Cat had to during the 1960s) distressing the cat can be problematic. Cats get stressed according to even very subtle changes in surroundings, like severe weather, changes in family dynamics, home relocation, new houseguests, or even new cats they see in the neighborhood.
Water intake is very important. The more water the cat drinks the less the urine stays in the bladder, thus minimizing the risk for infection. However, unlike dogs, cats usually don't like to drink a lot of water. The feline species used to roam the desert and so evolved into almost camel-like creatures that can maintain a stable life with only a minimal amount of water. In fact, hunting cats derived most of their water from eating their prey. The domestic cat is used to eating dry foods and thus do not gulp down water-certainly not enough water to resist urinary tract infection.
What can you do increase your cat's water intake? Canned wet food is good start, as is using ceramic dishes instead of plastic. You should also rinse all of the cat's dishes daily with fresh, clean water. If your cat has more opportunity to drink then it might just take those opportunities, so leave more than one dish of water lying around the house. Some cat owners have even bought more attractive and refreshing kitty fountains just to motivate the cat to drink more.
It is important to visit a veterinarian when you first notice the symptoms so you can proceed with helpful treatment. The vet will give you relevant information on a cat's diet, drinking habits, and any other conditions that might be related to cat urinary tract health.
For more information on diagnosis and possible treatments of urinary tract infections in cats, and optimizing cat urinary tract health visit http://www.pet-bladder-treatment.com