What Every Cat-Owner Should Know About Cat Urine Crystals
Cat urine crystals can be totally harmless
or indicative of potential issues in your
furry friend. Learn the in's and out's of
these crystals with PrettyLitter
Keep Your Kitty
in Good Health
What Are Cat Urine Crystals?
Cat urine (struvite) crystals are microscopic minerals made of ammonium, phosphate, and magnesium. On their own, these three substances are harmless and completely normal to find in your pet’s urine. In high concentrations, however, they’ll bind together to form struvite crystals.
Still, in small amounts, these crystals are nothing to worry about. The real issues arise when they fuse with mucus from the bladder to create a urinary blockage, or merge as larger and larger crystals that become bladder stones—this is where your careful care and attention becomes vital to your pet’s health and safety.
How to Identify
Cat Urine Crystals?
You know the meaning of your cat's every gesture and every look. But when it comes to telling you that something's wrong, cats may struggle to get the message across. That's why keeping an eye out for your signs and symptoms of cat urine crystals can help you listen to your cat's needs.
Signs of excessive cat urine crystals include:
The symptoms of cat urine crystals overlap significantly with signs of lower urinary tract disease. Without more in-depth veterinary testing, it can be difficult, if not impossible, to differentiate between struvite crystals and other urinary issues—bring your kitty to a doctor as soon as they exhibit these signs.
What Causes Urine
Crystals in a Cat?
Senior cats and kittens alike can develop struvite crystals—unfortunately, it has no age limit.
Any pH-altering medical condition can cause crystals, such as cat kidney disease or a urinary tract infection.The infectious bacteria of a UTI produces urease, which alters the pH balance of their urine and can contribute to the formation of struvite crystals.
Additionally, dietary and metabolic factors can cause these tiny crystalline structures, including:
How to Prevent
Urine Crystals in Cats?
Proper hydration is key to preventing cat urine crystals. Diluted urine is less likely to accumulate the dangerous minerals that eventually form crystals—regardless of the urine's pH balance. Although you can't force your cat to drink, there are a few ways you can lead them to the water (so to speak):
- Maintain a Full, Clean Water Bowl
- Purchase a Pet Water Fountain
- Feed Your Feline a Balanced Diet of Wet Canned
- Cat food that Creates Properly pH-Balanced Urine
Check your cat's litter regularly for signs of alkaline urine. Need an even clearer sign of alkaline urine? PrettyLitter turns blue when your cat's urine pH is alkaline.
Diet plays a big role in struvite crystal treatment. Feed your cat a balanced, healthy diet of canned or homemade food—wet canned food is preferable to dry because of its high water content. You can find specific dissolution diets—both wet and dry—on the market, or you can formulate your own wet, low-mineral meals.
Struvite dissolution diets only work when they're your cat's only source of pet nutrition—no supplementary food, no foraging for critters, and no bonus treats (sorry, kitty!).
- Encourage ample hydration with a pet fountain or by placing several water bowls throughout the house.
- Feed them a struvite dissolution diet of wet canned meals that encourage diluted, urine pH-balanced.
- Provide a quiet, stress-free area for your cat to urinate comfortably in.
If it takes much longer than that, you should check back in with your vet. It could be that the cat urinary crystals are made of calcium oxalate rather than struvite stone, or that your feline is sneaking meals without your knowledge, which can ruin the efforts of their strict prescription diet.
- Cats around one or two years old, or middle-aged
- Female cats, because their wider urethra leaves them more prone to infections
- Exclusively indoor cats because of their inactivity and increased weight
- Cats with inadequate water intake, or a dry cat food only diet
- Cats who eat a plant-based diet, which leads to higher alkalinity