A recent survey by Hill’s Pet Nutrition showed that an astounding 60% of cat owners have experienced their cat urinating indoors, outside the litter tray. Many of those might be described as having a condition known as FLUTD, or feline lower urinary tract disease. An indoor lifestyle, inactivity, neutering and weight gain have all been shown to be strongly associated with urinary problems, so dealing with both problems together makes perfect sense.
What exactly is FLUTD?
Urinary disease in cats is quite complex and what veterinary experts understand about the condition has also changed over the years. FLUTD is an umbrella term which describes a number of different conditions, all of which involve the bladder and urinary system.
A cat with FLUTD may experience actual or apparent difficulty passing urine, may pass urine more frequently, or pass blood in urine. The most common reason for this to happen is a condition called FIC – feline idiopathic cystitis – but some cats develop stones in their bladder, which can cause blockages, some have infections and some will develop ‘plugs’ of mucus and cells (sometimes containing crystals) that also cause blockages. It’s vitally important that cats that cannot pass urine are seen by a vet quickly, as blockages can be very serious and may require surgery.
A common type of urinary stone is one made of a substance called ‘struvite’. Struvite is composed of magnesium ammonium phosphate – minerals that can be absorbed from food and in certain conditions precipitate out in the bladder to form a stone. There are also other types of urinary stones that can form, including one made of calcium oxalate.
Restricting the supply of these minerals and changing the acidity of the urine through dietary means is one way to deal with struvite stones. Hill’sTM Prescription DietTM Metabolic+Urinary offers the benefits of a urinary product that has controlled levels of calcium, magnesium and phosphate, is clinically proven to dissolve struvite stones within 7 days and supports bladder health in cats with FLUTD.
What’s weight got to do with it?
FLUTD is more common in cats that are overweight and inactive, so keeping them at their ideal weight is important both in reducing the risks and as part of an ongoing programme of care. This means that if your cat accumulates extra body fat it isn’t something that you should ignore. But spotting weight gain in cats can be tricky because of where they accumulate fat and because it often happens slowly over time.
Regular weight checks can be useful, especially so you have a baseline ‘ideal weight’ measurement to check against and can detect variation. A pair of fresh eyes often sees what you can’t when the weight creeps on over time, so if visitors remark on your cat’s weight it could be time to seek a professional opinion and ask your vet.
Another way you can find out if your pet is overweight is to use a technique called body condition scoring and you can watch a video showing you how to do that here.
FLUTD and weight gain – occurring together
Once you are satisfied that your cat needs to lose a few extra pounds it’s time to ponder on how to achieve that. Historically, it’s been really tough to slim down cats. One of the foods to tackle that challenge head-on is Prescription DietTM Metabolic which contains a synergistic blend of ingredients that naturally works with a cat’s unique energy use. Under normal home conditions, 88% of pets fed this nutrition lost weight in two months.It even comes with a 100% satisfaction guarantee to back it up and its weight reduction properties are clinically proven.
It’s now also available as Prescription DietTM Metabolic+Urinary. This is a weight loss food for catsmade with tasty chicken, that also supports the urinary system, dealing with two complex and intertwined conditions at the same time. So, when it’s time to provide a little extra care, support a cat’s urinary system and keep weight on track, it’s good to know that there is an option that’s altogether better.
Written by Hannah Dyball