Cat urine health - 12 ways to help keep your cat’s kidneys and bladder healthy
Urinary problems are very common in cats and one of the top reasons for visiting the vet. How can you keep your cat’s kidneys and bladder healthy? For starters, check out this nifty guide from the experts at Hill’s Pet Nutrition.
Go with the flowFor a healthy urinary system, cats should drink, drink, drink! Lots of lovely fresh, clean water is a must but if they also like a little homemade chicken broth (using lightly boiled chicken only, without salt) then that can also be a good way to boost fluid intake. If your cat loves running water, think about a pet water fountain.
A cat might have only 500 taste buds but that doesn’t mean they are not fussy. Your cat doesn’t like the taste of your local water supply? Try going with bottled or filtered water. Think about keeping it pure by using ceramic or stainless steel bowls that don’t absorb foodie taints. And always offer more than one water bowl per cat so they can stop and sip whenever they want.
Don’t chop and changeHow can we put this delicately? Changing food too quickly can result in runny poo. That’s something that neither you, nor your cat, really want to deal with. But, more importantly, runny poo means less of the water circulating around the body is lost in the urine. More concentrated urine can lead to bladder problems or even stones. If you need to change your cat’s food take it slow. Mix old and new food gradually over at least 2 weeks to let the digestive system adjust. It’ll mean no runny poo to deal with and the bladder will be hunky dory.
Make the right choices when it comes to cat foodSome foods are just plainly more likely to support urinary health. It’s all about the science, including the levels of minerals, how the food affects the acidity of the urine, digestibility and the levels of antioxidants. Parking all that technical talk to one side, you could just hunt down a urinary cat food. Our new Science Plan Urinary Health has all the right credentials from optimal levels of magnesium, to high levels of antioxidants. It’s available with bells and whistles in the form of Hairball Control or a Sterilised Cat formula. Job done.
To pee or not to pee – that is the questionGetting your litter tray routines spot on is no mean feat say Hill’s experts, and essential for cat urinary health. They’ve come up with a failsafe plan that you can implement in your home straight away. To make sure your cat loves to use the litter tray, whenever and wherever they need to wee. Read the Golden Rules of litter tray hygiene here.
The serious business of playA major factor in the development of some urinary problems is inactivity. If your cat has morphed from a fearsome hunter into a frightful couch potato, then it’s time to take action. It’s a case of finding out what rings your cat’s bell – chasing the feather duster, racing after a torch beam, or shadowing you as you zoom up and down the stairs? If you can turn your cat from slobby and hefty, to slim and healthy, you’ll be doing him a big favour. We have a few cat exercise tips to help you on your way.
Keep an eagle eye on your PersianSome breeds are more likely to suffer urinary problems. Persians are more likely to get bladder stones and some forms of kidney disease – in other words, truly an accident waiting to happen. Don’t wait until you spot puddles outside the litter tray. Instead, ask your vet about regular monitoring to ensure any problems are picked up early. If you own a Persian, Burmese, Maine Coon, Abyssinian or Siamese, then pay special attention to their urinary health.
Watch their weightGorgeous cat? You’re thinking fab not flab, right? But weight gain isn’t just a cosmetic issue. Overweight cats suffer more urinary disease than their normal weight mates. It’s time to take action if your cat is more porky-pie than sweetie-pie because weight also contributes to problems like diabetes, arthritis and a whole host of nasties. There are some great weight loss foods around now that help shift the pounds without the tears (mainly yours). Ask your local vet or vet nurse for advice.
No breeding, no worries?While neutering or sterilising your cat so it can’t breed brings lots of health benefits and makes a great contribution to animal welfare, it can increase the risk of urinary problems. Keeping your cat at ideal weight and encouraging activity can certainly help reduce those risks. You might also want to opt for a food suitable for sterilised cats that helps prevent weight gain. If you would like to get on that gravy train then New Science Plan Urinary Health Sterilised Cat could be just the ticket.
The power of oneYou know how the conversation (often with yourself) goes: two isn’t really any more bother than one and they would be company for each other. Next thing you know you have decided life for your cat (and you, let’s admit it) would be perfect with a little feline friend. The truth is that sometimes it does make your cat happy but sometimes it doesn’t. In fact, owning more than one cat increases the likelihood of urinary problems developing. This is most probably due to stress or competition over resources like water bowls and litter trays. So think once, think twice before doubling up.
Senior momentsDon’t forget to take the cat to a vet for regular health checks. Many vets run senior clinics and as kidney problems are especially common in older cats, the urinary system is usually given a thorough check-up. It’s a case of live long and prosper - picking up on these kinds of problems early can ensure the quality and length of your cat’s life is extended.
Know how to get a urine sample from your catIf you have any concerns over your cat’s health, taking along a sample of your cat’s wee can really help your vet make a prompt diagnosis. Now, that might sound tricky but no acrobatics are required; it’s all about know-how.
Restrict your cat to one room with a litter tray. Replace the normal litter with aquarium gravel (which is non-absorbent), or cut up plastic drinking straws and then siphon off the urine into a clean, dry jar. If that fails, buy a Katkor kit – available online or from your vet – containing non-absorbent plastic beads as litter and a nifty little pipette to help collect the urine.
Don’t stress!Feeling the pressure? A BIG factor in the development of urinary issues in cats is stress, so it’s vital that you and your cat stay calm about urinary health. Remember that cats are very good at reading your body language, so even if you are a little worried, dust off those method-acting skills and pretend you are not. The Hill’s team are coming to your rescue and have put together an essential ‘Don’t Panic!’ guide to stress management in cats that will blow all your worries out of the water(works).
Urinary disease can lead to blockages which need immediate veterinary care. If a cat is showing signs of urinary disease, such as straining to urinate, blood in the urine, or urinating outside the litter box, the pet parent should call their veterinary surgeon immediately.