Urinary disease in cats

Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease Holly Nash, DVM, MS Veterinary Services Department, Drs. Foster & Smith, Inc.

Feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD) was formerly called 'feline urologic syndrome' or FUS. FLUTD affects the cat's urinary bladder and sometimes the urethra (the tube-like structure that leads from the bladder to the outside of the body). The term 'FLUTD' is broad and covers a number of conditions of the urinary tract in cats.

What are the symptoms of FLUTD?
FLUTD is a serious disease and if left untreated, it can result in death. Signs of FLUTD include:
Prolonged squatting or straining in or out of the litter box (some owners may confuse this with signs of constipation) and not producing urine or only a small amount

Frequent urination or straining

Pain while urinating (meowing or howling)

Urinating outside of the litter box

Blood in the urine

Frequent licking of the genital area



Some cats with FLUTD develop crystals in their urine. In the male cat, these crystals can block his urethra preventing him from urinating even though the bladder still fills. Sometimes, a plug can form and also block the urethra. You may have heard of a male cat with this condition called a 'blocked tom.'

What causes FLUTD?
Several factors can contribute to this disease including bacterial or viral infections, trauma, crystals in the urine, bladder stones, tumors of the urinary tract, and
congenital abnormalities. In many cases, the cause is never discovered. Factors that may contribute to development of FLUTD include:

Not drinking enough water

A diet high in magnesium or other minerals

Too much acidity or alkalinity of the urine


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