If your cat urinates frequently and has a recurring problem with bladder infections, then they likely have a condition now known as Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease.
This is a frustrating health condition, but there are many more options than just conventional medication. This article will show you the signs of urinary disease, go over some of the causes, and will give you the 5 most effective natural remedies.
You need to be aware of the more common signs of feline urinary problems, and recognize if this is an emergency requiring immediate veterinary care. The most common signs include: frequently urinating, straining to urinate, bladder pain, excessively licking their genitals, and if there is blood in the urine. Sometimes they will urinate outside their litter box, as they seem to prefer cool, smooth surfaces like a tile floor or a bathtub. If you have a male cat which is straining and not producing any urine, then he may be completely blocked, and he requires immediate veterinary care.
The disease goes by many names, one being called idiopathic because we don’t really know the underlying cause. There is marked inflammation of the bladder; the bladder lining is thickened, and the result is blood in the urine. Some are related to diet, there may be bacteria/viruses that affect the bladder, the immune system may over-react and attack the lining of the bladder, or it can simply be a response to stress, such as having another cat or not letting your cat go outside. It can be seen in cats of any age, but it is more frequent in middle-aged, overweight cats that get little exercise, use an indoor litter box, and eat a dry food diet. Very few cases are caused by bacteria; bacterial infections account for less than 3 % of feline urinary tract disease, meaning antibiotics are seldom needed.
If your cat is straining to urinate and not producing any urine, it is imperative to have them examined immediately. He may be blocked with a bladder stone in which case he would need emergency care. It is a good idea to have urine checked for any urinary tract problems; you are then able to use the appropriate remedy knowing what the specific problem is.
Additional fluid is key to treating and preventing recurrence of the inflamed urinary bladder. This is best accomplished with a higher protein canned cat food, along with providing many sources of fresh water; ideally your cat will only eat canned food, and be completely off dry cat food. You can encourage fresh water consumption by adding tuna juice to the water bowl.
The use of a specific natural hormone can be very beneficial. Pheromones in the facial glands convey messages of peace and contentment. Cats have less incidence of urinary disease if they are feeling happy. A product called Feliway, available from your veterinarian, contains these facial pheromones. This can be sprayed on your cat twice daily for 3-4 weeks.
There are additional sources to provide natural anxiety relief in your cat, and potentially decrease the symptoms of bladder inflammation. Bach Rescue Remedy may make your anxious cat feel calmer and less likely to have recurrent urinary tract inflammation. Place 1 drop twice daily in your cat’s mouth. Try this for 3-4 weeks.
Two very common supplements used for arthritis, glucosamine and chondroitin, can also be helpful for cats with feline lower urinary tract disease. Glucosamine helps replenish a compound found in the lining of the bladder wall, called glycosaminoglycans (GAG), while chondroitin helps protect the GAG from being broken down. By supplementing with glucosamine and chondroitin, GAG is replenished, and the bladder inflammation, along with clinical signs of frequent urination, and blood in the urine can be resolved. The cat glucosamine dose is 100mg per 10 lbs of body weight daily. The chondroitin dose is 50mg per 10lbs of body weight daily.
Homeopathy has been successfully used for many cases of feline urinary disease. There are two homeopathic remedies I suggest that you try, aconite and pulsatilla. Aconite is best if early in the disease with few other signs. Give two 30C pellets 2-3 times daily. Pulsatilla will help some of the more recurrent cases of bladder inflammation. When the other remedies fail to work, then this one is often tried. Dose one 30C twice daily.
You should now be aware of the signs of feline lower urinary tract disease, and now know when to see your veterinarian. The causes of urinary inflammation are varied, but as bacterial infections seldom cause the problem, antibiotics should be rarely needed. I encourage you to use some of suggested home remedies to help treat, and potentially prevent this very painful and frustrating disease for both you and your cat.
Dr Andrew Jones, DVM