Cats are an important addition to farm and home life. They make wonderful companions and are excellent at keeping rodents under control. If your cat is exhibiting unusual behavior, consider your feline’s urinary tract health.

Inappropriate urination is the number one behavior problem in pet cats, but often this problem is caused by treatable medical conditions. Bladder health problems in cats may have many causes. One cause is inflammation of the lower urinary tract. If crystals and or stones form in the urinary tract, they can cause painful urination or even completely obstruct the passage of urine, especially in male cats. Complete obstruction is a life-threatening situation and necessitates immediate medical attention.

There is no single cause of feline bladder health problems, but there are some factors that increase your cat’s likelihood of developing such problems. Proper nutrition is vital for a cat’s urinary tract health. An abundance of certain minerals can cause crystals to form in the urine, which sometimes leads to the formation of stones. Food influences the pH, or acidity of urine. Urine should be moderately acidic in order to maintain a healthy urinary tract because it is more difficult for struvite crystals and stones to form in an acidic environment.

If your cat is not drinking enough water, the risk of bladder health problems may be increased. Cats that are in a state of stress, such as that which may be associated with moving to a new house, or the introduction of a new pet into the household, can internalize that stress and may develop painful inflammation of the bladder. Your cat may associate painful urination with the litter box and stop using it.

Signs of feline bladder health problems include:

Urinating outside the litter box
Straining when urinating
Loss of bladder control
Increased frequency of urination
Blood in the urine
Crying out when urinating

Remember that if your cat is not urinating freely, a urinary blockage may be the cause and your cat should be seen by a veterinarian immediately, as this condition may be life threatening.

Proper nutrition, adequate water intake, and a stress free environment may help decrease the risk of your cat developing urinary tract problems.