FLUTD in cats stands for “Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease”. This painful syndrome encompasses several conditions affecting the urinary system in cats and may affect any part of their bladder or urethra. (The urethra is the tube that removes the urine from the bladder).
Whilst there are many causes of FLUTD, the vast majority of cases fall under the blanket of “idiopathic cystitis”. This ultimately means the cat experiences an inflamed bladder (cystitis) of which the cause is unknown (idiopathic). Further causes of FLUTD, in order of how commonly they occur include:
- Bladder Stones and Urethral Plugs
- Behavioural Problems
- Anatomical Problems or Tumours
You can see that infection is the least common cause of urinary tract disease in cats. This explains why many vets are reluctant to prescribe antibiotics in the first instance to a cat that shows symptoms of cystitis. In all cases of FLUTD it is highly important that you minimise any stress your cat may be experiencing. Stress is a well-known trigger factor that can precipitate flare ups of urinary tract disease in cats that are prone to idiopathic cystitis. The things that stress your cat may not be the same things that stress you, so you really have to think as if you are a cat to be able to minimise their stressors. A few stressful situations for cats can include:
- An abrupt diet change
- Living with too many other cats
- Insufficient litter trays compared to the number of cats in the household
- New additions to the household (pets, children and furniture)
- A forced change in their routine
- Aggression shown by other cats
- A change in the position or content of their litter tray
When a cat has FLUTD it is also important to encourage them to drink plenty of water. Drinking more helps to flush the bladder through and dilute any noxious compounds that may otherwise build up in your cat’s urine. Why not check out our video for more tips on how to encourage your cat to drink more water?