Urinary blockages are nothing less than dreadful. What's worse than having a cat that vomits, cries in pain, and pees where it's not supposed to? For a loving cat owner (and for the kitty), few things are more uncomfortable. Nonetheless, this is the unfortunate reality of a cat suffering from urinary blockage. Naturally, finding a cat urinary blockage home remedy is crucial for owners of affected felines.
No responsible pet owner would want to see their cat suffering, and no cat wants to experience it. The condition can even be fatal if left untreated. Read on to learn more about cat urinary blockages and what steps you can take at home to keep your cat healthy!
What is Urinary Blockage in Cats?
A urinary blockage occurs when the urethra, the tube that drains urine from the bladder, becomes obstructed by foreign material. This material plugs the tube-like urethra and prevents urine from leaving the cat's body. The buildup of urine can cause the cat's bladder to overfill, which will consequently cause the kidneys to swell and rupture.
Since a cat's urethra is so narrow, several things can plug it. The most common culprits are:
- Struvite crystals (bladder stones)
Sometimes, even involuntary muscle spasms can narrow the urethra enough to cause a blockage. Neutered male cats are far more susceptible to this condition as they have especially narrow urethras.
Urinary blockages are a life-threatening condition; a cat that cannot urinate properly could die. The size of the blockage, and the amount of urine your cat is excreting, will determine the timeline and prognosis of the condition. If you suspect your cat is suffering from a urinary blockage, take it to the veterinarian immediately.
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What Causes Urinary Obstruction in Cats?
Urinary blockages are primarily caused by materials plugging the cat's urethra. How those materials get there, though, is another story. Various factors contribute to a blockage, so identifying the source of your cat's problem can be tricky. Here are some common things that contribute to cat urinary issues.
A cat that's left to its own devices will hunt birds, lizards, and mice for prey. These prey animals contain lots of water — about 75%, to be exact. Dry food contains about 8% water. This is a sizeable deficiency compared to a cat's natural diet. A dehydrated diet makes the urine more concentrated, resulting in a higher occurrence of mineral stones in the urine.
Contrary to popular belief, diets high in magnesium do not contribute to bladder stones as long as the urine's pH is lower than 7.5.
Adding moist, canned food to your cat's diet will help prevent struvite crystals from forming in the bladder. Canned food has a higher water content than dry food and will keep your cat adequately hydrated. As a result, their urine will be less concentrated, and there will be less chance of urinary blockages developing.
Feline Idiopathic Cystitis (FIC)
Feline idiopathic cystitis is a general term that refers to inflammation of the bladder with no known cause. It contributes to various feline urinary tract problems, including urinary blockages.
Inflamed bladders excrete more mucus, and a cat that is urinating mucus is at risk for developing urinary blockages. Blockages, in turn, make the bladder inflammation worse, and the issue persists. Though the cause of FIC is unknown, the issue may stem from an imbalance in the endocrine and central nervous systems.
Although it's one of the least common causes of urinary blockages, scar tissue can play a role in your cat's urinary problems. Also known as urethral strictures, residual scar tissue from past trauma to the urinary tract can thicken the wall of the urethra and prevent urine from passing through.
A perineal urethrostomy (PU) is a surgical procedure that treats this condition by creating a new urinary opening for your cat, allowing fluid to bypass the scar tissue.
How Do I Know if My Cat Has a Urinary Blockage?
If your cat has a urinary blockage, it's going to be obvious. Unfortunately, this condition will likely cause your cat a lot of pain. The most common sign of a urinary blockage is frequent trips to the litter box that don't result in any urination. Your cat will strain itself to pee, and it may yowl and cry out in pain.
Your cat will also lose some control of its bladder, and this will cause it to urinate in places it usually wouldn't. This isn't very pleasant for obvious reasons, but it's important not to write off this behavior. Urinating outside the litter box indicates that your cat is experiencing a blockage or other urinary problem.
Symptoms of Urinary Blockage in Cats
Cat urinary blockage symptoms can closely resemble the signs of cat UTI. It's important to closely monitor your cat's behavior and watch for the following symptoms:
- Frequent trips to the litter box
- Urinating in places other than the litter box
- Decreased urine output
- Blood in the urine
- Yowling or crying (during urination or otherwise)
- Decreased appetite
- Excessive licking of the genital region
- Abdominal pain
When to Go to the Vet for Cat Urinary Obstruction
If you think your cat has a blockage, you should go to the vet as soon as possible. Keep in mind that this condition is life-threatening, and affected cats need professional medical attention.
The buildup of urine will cause the kidneys to rupture, and the electrolyte imbalance that results from decreased urine output can cause the heart to fail. Your local veterinarian will be able to give your cat the best care possible.
Cat Urinary Blockage Home Remedies
Unfortunately, there is not much you can do to remedy a urinary blockage at home. Cats require veterinary attention, and trying to solve the issue at home may worsen the problem. Further on in this article, we'll take a look at what you can do at home to prevent blockages from happening.
When you bring your cat to the vet, he or she will likely sedate your pet immediately. Then, they will place a urinary catheter in your cat's urinary tract for up to 72 hours to help the bladder drain. During this time, the vet will also monitor your cat's cardiac function and other vitals. They will also administer intravenous fluids if needed.
The vet will treat your cat with pain medication and muscle relaxers as they flush your cat's bladder. You can expect your cat to be hospitalized for a few days while the vet treats the urinary blockage.
Cat Urinary Blockage Recovery
Your cat will be uncomfortable as they recover from their urinary blockage. Whether your kitty underwent surgery or endured a catheter for days, it'll be feeling sluggish and distressed. Give your kitty some extra TLC during this time; they'll certainly need it.
It's not unusual for your cat to still strain a bit during urination while they're recovering from a blockage. The inflammation can take a few days to subside. Be sure to monitor your cat's urinary output and watch for signs of blood in the urine. You will need to bring them back to the vet if the blockage recurs. To help relieve some of your cat's discomfort, you can give them non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications like Onsior or Metacam.
If you don't want to go the pharmaceutical route, CBD products are another option that can aid your cat's recovery. Like all mammals, cats have an endocannabinoid system (ECS) that regulates swelling — among other important processes — in their body.
CBD interacts with the ECS and can provide some soothing effects for your pet. CBD is a non-intoxicating compound that is well-tolerated by most animals. Your cat won't get "high" from CBD, and they won't become addicted to the products either.
How to Prevent Cat Urinary Obstruction
Although there is no guarantee that your cat will never suffer a urinary blockage, there are steps you can take to help prevent this uncomfortable condition. These measures are easy to implement and may save your cat from agony (and your wallet from medical bills) later down the road. Preventing urinary blockages is easy once you discover their cause.
Stress affects your cat's urinary tract more than you may realize! Studies show that stress exacerbates urinary tract problems in cats. Ensuring that your cat chills out and plays with some fun toys can be a game-changer in the long run. If your cat just doesn't seem to know how to play, try coating some of their toys with CBD catnip spray to encourage interaction — you never know how it can help until you try it! You can also give your pet cat CBD for cats.
To decrease the chance of your cat experiencing a blockage, limit the amount of dry food they consume. Dry kibble contains little water and makes your cat's urine concentrated with minerals. These minerals build up in the absence of water and form the struvite crystals that cause urinary blockages. Keeping your cat's diet moist and ensuring they drink enough fluids will remedy this problem.
Manage the Litter Box
To keep your cat from holding their bladder, you should make sure they enjoy using their litter box. Always have more than one litter box established in your home, and double-check that your cat approves of each box.
As a general rule of thumb, you should have one litter box per kitty, plus one extra. Keep the boxes clean, and use a litter that your cat likes.
Urinary blockages are a very serious threat to your cat's well-being, but they don't have to get the best of your pet. Taking proper steps to ensure your cat's urinary health, like cleaning their litter box, balancing their diet, and making sure they chill out, will help keep blockages at bay. If the worst scenario occurs and your cat suffers a blockage, your local vet will know what to do.