Feline Bladder Stones
- What to Know
Make caring for your cat’s health a little easier. With PrettyLitter, you’ll be the first to know about their bladder stones and other health issues.
Don’t Let Bladder Stones Weigh Your Cat Down
What Are Bladder Stones in Cats?
They vary in size—just like real stones and rocks that you’d find in a park or beach. Your kitty may have one large stone that irritates the bladder walls, causes inflammation, and blocks the opening to the urethra.
Your cat may also have several tiny stones, like pebbles or grains of sand, which may be carried into the urethra during urination, creating an emergency blockage. Oftentimes, your kitty will have a combination of both.
How to Identify Bladder Stones in Cats
But there are two primary tell-tale signs of bladder stones in cats:
Hematuria – Otherwise known as blood in the cat's urine. Larger stones scrape against the bladder’s lining, causing bleeding.
Dysuria – Dysuria is trouble or pain when urinating. Stones obstruct the urethra’s passage, which causes discomfort during urination. In serious cases of total blockage, your kitty won’t be able to pass any urine and the pressure on their bladder can be quite painful
Other ways of identifying urinary stones include:
- Frequent urination attempts, with very little urine released.
- Excessive genital grooming.
- Cats urine spraying or urinating outside the litter box.
However, some cats with urinary stones exhibit no, or very few, observable symptoms.
What Causes Bladder Stones in Cats?
But the cause of bladder stones in cats boil down to this:
When certain natural and normal minerals—typically struvite crystal or calcium oxalate—build up in excess in your cat’s bladder, they begin to crystallize. These small structures can irritate the bladder walls, which initiates mucus production.
The struvite crystals and mucus fuse together to form hardened clusters that continue to grow. This process can take weeks, even months, to complete.
But with vigilant care and intervention, you may be able to interrupt it along the way and prevent your cat from getting urinary tract infection.
How to Prevent Bladder Stones in Cats
There are two main preventative routes that both rely on simple adjustments to your everyday pet parenting:
Feed your cat moisture-rich, balanced and healthy meals.
Drinking more water will dilute your cat’s urine and decrease the likelihood of mineral build-up. Refill water bowls regularly, use canned wet food only, or add water or bone broth to regular dry meals.
Reducing the amount of certain dietary minerals and adjusting the acidity levels will prevent urinary crystal and struvite stone formation—you can find specialized bladder stone prevention foods on the market like PrettyPlease to prevent acidic urine.
These help prevent bladder infection and urinary tract stones to build up.
Cats are sometimes able to pass the tiniest of bladder stones. Females, especially, will have greater success than male cats, because of their wider urethras. Most bladder stones in cats, however, are too big to pass naturally. They will either need to be dissolved or surgically removed.
You should not attempt to treat your cat’s bladder stones without the professional opinion of a veterinarian. Some vets may recommend a dissolution diet that can be implemented from the comfort of your home, without the stress of surgery. These specific nutritional plans only work for certain types of bladder stones—struvite, but not calcium-oxalate crystals, for example.
In the meantime, you can help by increasing your cat’s water intake, eliminating daily stressors, and monitoring their progress carefully—if your at-home treatment plan is not working, check back in with your vet.
Here are some key considerations when selecting and preparing your feline’s meals:
- Wet food is preferable to dry because it automatically adds moisture to their diet.
- Low mineral content will decrease the struvite stone formation which leads to stones.
- Moderate animal protein levels.
- Water, water, and more water.
Cats (especially females) may be able to pass very tiny stones. This can happen quickly and without your awareness. In most cases, however, struvite bladder stones will continue to grow without some sort of intervention.
A dissolution diet (at the recommendation of your veterinarian) can take weeks, or even months, to completely dissolve a large stone. Smaller stones naturally dissolve quicker but can still take several weeks. It can be a long journey, and your feline may experience significant discomfort and pain until the stones are completely gone—be patient and show them love.
Calcium-oxalate stones are found more commonly in:
- Male cats, because their kidneys excrete more oxalate than females
- Purebreds, such as Persians, Burmese, Himalayans, etc.
- Obese cats
- Older cats
Struvite stones, on the other hand, are seen most often in:
- Female cats, because their wider urethra makes them more vulnerable to bladder infections than male cats
- Kittens or senior female cats
- Obese cats
PrettyLitter Can Help
As a pet parent, you want to always keep an eye out for potential health
problems in your cat. PrettyLitter can take some of that weight off your
shoulders. Our color-changing litter technology alerts you to your
feline’s potential health issues so you can give your cat the love and
care it deserves.
Leave no stone unturned — PrettyLitter can help with that.
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