Just like humans, a cat's kidneys are responsible for filtering waste products from the blood, which then make their way into the bladder for release. Unfortunately, feline kidneys are susceptible to various ailments.
To keep your cat in good health, it is very important to make sure that their urinary system is working well. In order to do so, you should provide your cat with a good diet and make sure that your cat drinks enough throughout the day. Despite this, you should always keep an eye on their toilet habits in order to catch any urinary problems as early as possible.
How the urinary system works
Urinary problems are quite common in cats - about one third will contract a urinary infection or disease during their life. This includes infections of the ureters, the sphincters and the ureteral joins, which ends with the ureteral nerve heads, acting as a valve protecting the area from germs.
The comparatively short and wide ureter of females is more disposed to infections than that of males.
For your cat to contract a urinary infection, there must be a lowering of natural defences with a modification to:
- The bacterial flora present in the distal ureter, the vagina and vulva, or the foreskin
- Incontinence. Completely draining the bladder with a strong jet helps the system to flush istelf
- The composition of the urine, its pH and its osmolarity
- The integrity of the mucus membrane that prevents bacteria from sticking
- The immune system in general
Many kinds of bacteria can reach the urinary system, but in practice three quarters of infections are due to only one kind of bacteria.
Signs that your cat is having urinary issues
A very common sign of problems for your cat is noticing them visiting their litter box often and staying there for a long time with little urine, often emitting meows of pain. You may also find urine in inappropriate areas such as the sink, the bath, on the floor, etc. You may notice blood in the urine.
If your cat is not capable of urinating (in that you can no longer observe any urine) this is a medical emergency, as your cat is in urinary retention, that is to say, their bladder is swelling without being able to be emptied. Your cat is in danger of dying because their bladder may explode and their system will be flooded with urea.
In case of doubt, contact your vet immediately.
Advice and prevention
In order to reduce the risks of urinary infection, it is recommended to place several water bowls throughout the house in order to activate your cat's thirst.
The cleanliness of your cat's litter is also essential so that your pet doesn't retain their urine and increase the chances of bacterial development.
Finally, a nutritionally-rich diet allows a good balance of oligo-elements and minerals, as well as a stable urine pH. However, cats are intrinsically more or less likely to develop urinary diseases.
We recommend consulting your vet about how best to manage your cat's diet and ensure their bodies are best prepared to wave off or manage any health troubles.
Thanks to Argos Veterinarians for the information!