Diet plays a role in cat health
LAST week I wrote about urinary tract inflammation and blockages in male cats, a common and life-threatening condition.
Female cats also get this disease at a similar incidence but due to a very different plumbing design, rarely obstruct. For them it's just an uncomfortable nuisance.
The exact cause of this condition is unknown despite being the subject of much investigation and research.
Currently research is focussed on the function of the protective barrier in the bladder lining and specific proteins which are deficient in affected animals.
The net result is that the bladder lining becomes inflamed and pelvic pain results.
We do know that both stress and diet can play a role in the onset of this condition and management of these factors forms a major part of a successful prevention strategy.
Diet can play a role, because what your cat eats and drinks has an influence on the composition of its urine.
In fact there are prescription diets available which will dissolve different types of bladder stones depending on their mineral composition.
Without going into detail about specific conditions and diets, perhaps the single most important factor is the moisture content of food.
This reduces the tendency for crystals to form and also decreases the concentration of urine constituents which might irritate a compromised bladder lining.
What this means is less dry cat food, and preferably none if your cat has had this condition before.
If it is a super fussy eater, a slow transition to more moist food will be necessary. Your vet can go into more detail and discuss prescription and fresh food diets.
Stress is another factor which can be easily addressed.
Most pet owners respond with surprise when I mention that their pooch or moggie might be stressed, often remarking "I don't see how Sooty could be stressed, he has a pretty easy life"!
However, remember they are not small hairy humans!