For Cats With Chronic Urinary Problems, Surgery May Be the Best Option

Empty Litter Box
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Let me get this said up front: A cat who’s having problems urinating is facing a serious health crisis. If he's not seen by a veterinarian and treated as soon as possible, this cat can die swiftly as the toxins build up in his body. Simply put: This is not a “wait and see” problem.

Now, having gotten that off my chest, let me back up to how cats get to such a dangerous place, what you can do to prevent them from getting there and what happens if they do anyway.

Prevention Is Always Better

While nothing is guaranteed to prevent what we veterinarians call urethral obstruction, especially in male cats, there are steps you can take to reduce the risk.

Feed your cat properly. Talk to your veterinarian about your cat’s individualized nutritional needs, and get recommendations for an appropriate diet. As I always say, no matter where you shop or what you can pay, your veterinarian will be able to suggest a good product and how to feed it. Related, and just as important: Keep your pet at a healthy weight.

Encourage drinking. Many cats are chronically dehydrated, a condition that makes urinary tract problems more likely. Get a pet drinking fountain to encourage increased water intake.

Reduce stress. While some situations — new pets or people in the home, moving, etc. — are simply unavoidable, you can reduce some types of stress by changing your cat's environment. For example, in multiple-cat households, minimize litter-box conflicts by having a box for every cat plus one extra, and make sure they’re placed in quiet areas that feel safe to your cats. Synthetic pheromones may also help lower your cat's stress level, as may veterinarian-prescribed anti-anxiety medications.