Feline Urinary Tract InfectionLast updated: August 02, 2016
Bladder infections and crystals are common in cats. Male cats have the highest incidence, but females can and do get bladder issues. Because the female urethra is shorter and has a larger diameter than the males, crystals can pass easier, so it is rarely blocked and the flushing action of urinating deters infection. Male anatomy is just below the rectum so contamination with bacteria is common. The male urethra is smaller and longer and has an S-shaped route that makes flushing of infection and crystals less likely. This smaller, S-shaped urethra makes blocking or plugging common in males.
Crystal CauseThe most common cause of crystals is alkaline or basic urine and minerals in the diet and water. The excess minerals not needed by the body are eliminated in the urine, where under alkaline conditions, they can crystallize. Dogs tend to form large stones, but cats form crystal sand that is sharp-edged. This sharp sand irritates the urinary tract, making it more prone to bacteria, and sometimes causes some blood in the urine. Infection plus these crystals make a plug.
PreventionIt is logical to assume that because alkaline urine is conducive to stone formation, then acidic urine should be conducive to prevent and even eliminate stones. That is exactly what we try to do in cats prone to infection. If we can keep urine acidic, we inhibit bacteria from growing and prevent the crystals from reoccurring. Put another way, we keep the urine acidic for urinary tract health.
How to Accomplish Acid UrineSince mammals constantly make urine, urine acidification has to be accomplished daily through the diet. Potassium citrate and cranberry are both natural acidifiers of the urine. Cranberry has been used for years to help eliminate infections of the bladder. Although it works well in humans, cranberry by itself will not acidify enough to prevent crystals in the cat. Potassium citrate is tolerated well by the cat, and when stacked with cranberry daily, it does a good job of preventing bacteria and stones. Doc Roy's® Potassium Citrate + Cranberry is the product we use to prevent bladder infection!
There are prescription diets available that contain acidifying agents. They are only available with a prescription through your veterinarian as they have a special use claim. Some cats won't eat these prescription diets as they like their own diet and do not want to change. These finicky guys can be managed by adding Doc Roy's® Potassium Citrate + Cranberry to the food they like. If you have a cat prone to bladder issues, Doc Roy's® Potassium Citrate + Cranberry is the product you have been looking for!
If you need help, call us at 800.786.4751 or check out the video UTIs in Dogs and Cats.
Donald Bramlage, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, Former Director of Veterinary Services at Revival Animal Health
Donald Bramlage, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, practiced veterinary medicine for 30+ years and is known for his work in managing parvovirus. He received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Kansas State University in 1985. He served as Revival's Director of Veterinary Services from 2011 until his retirement in 2019.
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