Crystals in Cats Urine And How to Treat Them

Crystals in Cats Urine And How to Treat Them

Crystals in Cats Urine: Crystals in cats’ urine, known as uroliths or urinary stones, form when minerals in the urine congregate into crystals. The most common types are struvite and calcium oxalate stones. Struvite stones are usually caused by urinary tract infections, while calcium oxalate stones tend to form in acidic urine.

Crystals in Cats Urine And How to Treat Them

Causes of Crystals Forming in Cats’ Urine

1. Concentrated Urine

The most common cause of crystals in cats’ urine is concentrated urine. If your cat isn’t drinking enough water, their urine can become too concentrated, allowing crystals to form more easily. Make sure your cat has access to fresh, clean water at all times and that their water bowl is refilled daily. You can also switch to wet cat food, which has a higher moisture content.

2. Bacterial Infections

Bacterial infections in the urinary tract can also lead to crystal formation. The bacteria can alter the pH of the urine, making it more alkaline and prone to crystals. If your cat is showing symptoms of a UTI like frequent urination, straining to urinate, or bloody urine, have your vet test a urine sample. They may prescribe a course of antibiotics to clear the infection.

3. Diet

Certain diets may increase the risk of crystals in cats. Diets high in plant proteins, magnesium, and phosphorus can make urine more alkaline. Switching to a diet formulated for urinary health, which has balanced minerals and the proper acidity, can help prevent crystals from forming.

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4. Stress

Stress and anxiety can also contribute to crystal formation in cats. Stress hormones like cortisol can alter urine pH and concentration.Reducing stress in your cat’s environment, giving them places to hide, scratching posts, and interactive toys can help lower anxiety levels and support urinary health.

By understanding the causes of crystals in your cat’s urine, you can make changes to diet, increase water intake, reduce stress, and properly treat any infections. Keeping your cat’s urinary system in balance is key to preventing painful crystals from forming. With some simple adjustments, you can keep your feline friend happy and healthy for life.

Treatments for Crystals in Cats’ Urine

1. Dietary Changes

The first line of treatment for crystals in cats’ urine is making dietary changes. Switch your cat to a prescription urinary tract diet, as these are formulated to promote a healthy urinary tract and urine pH. The diet will be low in magnesium, calcium and phosphorus, and may incorporate supplements to alter your cat’s urine pH to help dissolve existing crystals. It can take 4 to 6 weeks of strictly feeding the prescription diet to fully dissolve crystals, so stick with it.

2. Increased Water Intake

Increasing your cat’s water intake will help flush crystals out of their system and prevent recurrence. Place multiple water bowls around the house and consider getting a cat water fountain, as many cats prefer running water. You can also add a bit of tuna juice or low-sodium chicken broth to their water to make it more enticing. Aim for 1 to 2 ounces of water per pound of body weight per day.

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3. Medications

If your cat’s crystals don’t dissolve with diet and hydration alone, medications may be recommended. Potassium citrate or sodium citrate can be used to help alter urine pH and speed up crystal dissolution. Antibiotics may also be prescribed if there are signs of infection. Pain medications can make your cat more comfortable as the crystals pass. Follow up tests will be needed to monitor your cat’s progress and ensure the crystals have fully dissolved before discontinuing medications.

4. Surgery

In rare cases where medications and diet do not work, surgery may be recommended to remove crystals that are causing a blockage. A procedure called a cystotomy is performed to open up the bladder and remove the crystals. Additional procedures may also be done to help prevent future blockages. Surgery carries risks, so it is usually only recommended when other treatments have failed and a blockage is threatening your cat’s health.

By following your vet’s recommended treatment plan, most cats recover well from crystals in their urine. Ongoing diet and hydration maintenance, as well as periodic urine testing, will help prevent recurrence and keep your cat healthy for life.

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FAQs

Why is my cat producing crystals?

There are a few possible reasons why crystals may form in your cat’s urine. The most common causes are a high concentration of minerals in the urine, especially struvite or calcium oxalate, or a high pH level. Certain medical conditions like urinary tract infections or bladder stones can also contribute to crystal formation. In many cases, crystals in cat urine are a sign that your cat may not be getting enough water or is not urinating frequently enough, allowing minerals to build up in the urine.

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How can I help prevent crystals in my cat’s urine?

To help prevent crystals in your cat’s urine, focus on keeping your cat well hydrated, the urine diluted, and the pH balanced. Some tips include:

  • Provide plenty of fresh, clean water every day. Cats need access to water at all times.
  • Feed a wet cat food diet or add water to your cat’s dry kibble. Canned food contains more moisture than dry food.
  • Increase the frequency of litter box trips. Take your cat out more often, especially if they are indoors only.
  • Have your vet periodically test your cat’s urine pH. A pH between 6 and 6.5 is ideal for most cats. Your vet may recommend supplements or diet changes to balance the pH if needed.