Home Remedies for Urinary Tract Problems in Cats

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Close-up of a cat lapping water from a running faucet.
Close-up of a cat lapping water from a running faucet. (Image: phant/iStock/Getty Images)

Whether you call it feline urologic syndrome, feline lower urinary tract disease, cystitis or painful bladder syndrome, it’s basically the same thing: urinary tract problems in your cat. It’s not uncommon for a cat to suffer from urinary tract problems. If your cat is one of the unfortunate ones, he’ll need veterinary attention. However, there are simple home remedies you can use to help him avoid the potential dangers of this painful condition.

Start With a Sample

Though cystitis isn’t unusual in cats, much about the condition remains a mystery. Unlike people and dogs, cats with feline urologic syndrome, or FUS, usually don’t have bacteria in their urine. What they do have is an inflamed bladder or urine crystals, either in the form of struvite crystals containing magnesium or calcium oxalate crystals. A urine sample will inform your vet and you of what’s going on in your cat’s urine and help guide his treatment options. If your cat is one of the rare cases with an infection-based urinary tract problem, he’ll require antibiotics for recovery.

Water, Water Everywhere

The most important home remedy for a cat with feline urologic syndrome is right at your fingertips: water. No matter what the underlying cause is of the condition or the type of crystal, water is critical for keeping your cat’s urine flowing. If your cat is happy to drink out of a bowl of water throughout the day, keep his bowl clean and filled with fresh water. If he’s the kind of guy who has to be convinced to take a drink, try adding a bit of tuna or clam juice or chicken broth to his water. He may prefer a water fountain or water dribbling out of the kitchen facet to the still water in his bowl.

Diet Matters

A simple way to increase your cat’s water intake is to switch from dry food to canned food. Dr. Lisa Pierson of Catinfo.org notes that canned food is 78 percent water, compared to the 5 to 10 percent water content contained in dry food. Dr. Karen Becker of HealthyPets.com advocates avoiding foods that are potentially inflammatory, such as the carbohydrates of wheat, corn, millet and rice. You may want to try a homemade diet, or you may decide to switch the type of food your cat is eating. Consult your vet before you make any significant change to your kitty’s meal plan. Diet affects the acidity of a cat’s urine, which can help or hinder the crystals he may be dealing with. Your vet also may prescribe a special diet for your cat.

Other Remedies

Cranberry extract is safe for cats and may help keep certain bacteria from attaching itself to your cat’s bladder wall, helping a cat with a bladder infection. Stress is an important contributor to FUS, so take care to keep your cat’s environment as calm as possible. Life changes, such as a move or a new addition to the family can trigger cystitis. If that’s the case with your kitty, consider trying a commercially available pheromone or homeopathic remedy, such as valerian or chamomile, to help minimize your cat’s stress.

Open Eyes

You need to pay attention to your cat to ensure he’s recovering from his urinary tract problems. Keep his litter box clean and monitor his urine output -- numerous small clumps in his litter indicate potential trouble, as does straining, frequent trips to the box and urinating in the wrong spot. Urinary problems always warrant a trip to the vet because left untreated, a cat may become blocked, a potentially life-threatening condition.

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