Cat crystals and urinary infection

by valarie
(kent,wa usa)


I appreciate all the research and work you put into
your website
Looking around piqued my interest in more than the area I began with
Good on ya...I felt like you were talking when I read
some of the material, the little waif and other sweet
things you said
I was sent home from the vet with Science Diet for the rest of their lives...I will look and see if there are other non prescription choices on your website
Paikea is the only one who is on medication, antibiotic, oh boy, liquid by mouth

Thanx Again



Valarie, thank you for your questions………my answer follows:

Cat Crystals and Urinary Problems

When you say cat crystals...are you referring to crystals in his urine and/or urinary blockage which is commonly referred to as Feline Urologic Syndrome (FUS)? If so, you definitely need a diet change and need to carefully monitor what he is eating and how much he is drinking.
Even though these crystals are hard to see without a microscope, they have sharp edges which rub against the bladder walls, causing your cat's bladder to become inflamed and irritated. This inflammation causes your cat to show signs of a feline bladder infection.

Cat owners can do several things to prevent their felines from developing cat urinary problems. The first is to feed your cat a high-quality canned food. People don't realize that cats are meant to get most of their water from their food, which is why cats don't seem to drink much water.
Canned food has a moisture level that's much closer to what your cat would eat in the wild. You can also add a little water to the canned food to increase the moisture even more. Be sure your cat always has plenty of fresh, clean water available, too.

Dry foods may not initiate, but will aggravate the problem after it begins. This is because of the higher mineral content (ash) and lower water content of dry foods. Dry foods generally contain more fiber than canned and semi-moist foods, and fiber draws water as it travels through the bowel, creating more concentrated urine, especially if the cat doesn't drink enough water. However, dry foods generally have more ash per gram than moist foods, but moist foods alone cannot prevent FUS. FUS researchers have made a connection between high urinary pH levels and magnesium ...which is found in wet foods too.

The most important thing that you can do is look and compare the ingredients in the foods. Some cat food manufacturers have supplemented their dry and canned with pH-controlling acidifiers to help to keep the cat's urine pH in the normal range of between 6 and 6.5

I personally feed my cats a combination of dry and canned food. Your cat will need to be drinking a LOT of water to flush the urinary tract and maintain a proper urine pH. He will need a diet that is LOW in Ash (which has been found to contribute to FUS), and LOW in Magnesium. Always make sure to provide plenty of fresh water...sometimes refilling the bowl to freshen it up several times a day which will encourage him to drink more. It also doesn't hurt to add water to wet food that your cat may be used to eating.

You may want to give your cat one of the many natural remedies for pets that are available now. These remedies support bladder health, along with lowering the risk of him developing a feline bladder infection. You'll want to be sure to buy one that's especially formulated for pets, and that's safe enough to give your cat every day.
My advice is to just check and compare brands.

Go with a high end brand like the Wysong, Wellness, or Nature's Variety and see what he likes. If he won't eat one, then it certainly won't help him recover because he needs to both eat and drink plenty...he needs to be eating at least twice a day. You can try not offering food around the clock, but offer it just twice a day and the pick it up after 15 minutes or so, as to encourage him to eat regular meals rather than 'grazing'. This will also help you monitor just how much he is getting.

So, in a nutshell, when comparing foods, go with LOW Ash, LOW Magnesium, LOW Phosph., and a moderate amount of fiber. Many vets recommend dry food (because of fiber). However, just check the labels. Your cat may prefer a canned diet or a diet of both canned and dry. Both are totally acceptable if your cat is drinking enough. If you can't encourage him to increase his water intake, then you can certainly offer chicken broth, add water to canned food, etc.

Because a male cat has a long narrow urethra, it can easily become plugged if large numbers of feline urinary crystals are present. This is a veterinary emergency, as a cat that can't pass urine will fall victim to a fatal case of uremic poisoning within a couple of days. Since it's hard for an owner to tell if the cat is blocked or not, it's important to have your cat examined by the vet if he has a feline urinary tract infection.

If your cat has already had a feline urinary tract infection, you can't afford to be unaware about urinary crystals in cats. There are some steps to take now to protect your cat's health.

If allowed to continue, this blockage of urine flow backs up toxins in the cat's blood stream normally cleared by the urine. This accumulation of toxins can lead to a lack of appetite, vomiting, severe weakness, abnormalities with the heart rhythm, and ultimately death.
Treatment in the case of urine blockage, is aimed at restoring the flow of urine. A catheter inserted in the urethra acts to "break through" the blockade of crystals, thus allowing for evacuation of the urine. Most cats affected with crystals or stones usually have accompanying infection requiring antibiotics.

There are two main types of urinary crystals, struvite and calcium oxalate.

Struvite crystals are made up of magnesium, ammonium, and phosphate. The crystals and stones are more likely to develop in alkaline urine. The main dietary factors which appear to affect the development of struvite crystals are urine ph and water consumption. In the past, crystals and stones made of struvite were more common in cats. As a result, diets were developed to minimize the risk of forming struvite. These diets were low in magnesium and cats eating them produced an acidic (low pH) urine. As more cats were fed these diets, both for treatment and prevention of struvite, the percentage of cats with struvite stones decreased, but the incidence of calcium oxalate crystals and stones increased. Struvite is still, by far, the most common component of urethral plugs.

Bladder disease in the cat is a frequently recognized problem. It can occur in both male and females, but can be more serious of a problem in the male cat. Causes of bladder disease include simple bacterial infection, bladder stones and or crystals (minerals which merge to form bladder stones), infection within the bladder wall, and cancer or tumors in the bladder itself.

In the majority of cases, infection by itself, or accompanied by bladder crystals is seen. If crystals are present, they usually cause irritation and infection in the bladder before merging into forming bladder stones.

Common symptoms include straining to urinate, frequent attempts to urinate, spending a long time in the litter pan, producing small amounts of urine at a time, urinating outside of the litter pan, and blood in the urine.

The surgical removal of stones within the bladder is referred to as a cystotomy, meaning an opening of the bladder. With the cat under anesthesia and lying on his back, an incision is made through the abdominal wall in front of the pelvis. The bladder is exposed and lifted out through the incision. Urine is collected for culture and analysis. The bladder is then opened and the stones are removed. The bladder and urethra are flushed with sterile saline solution to wash out any small or microscopic particles. The bladder is then closed with sutures as is the abdominal wall. The patient is placed on antibiotics and usually sent home the following day. The bladder stones are sent to a laboratory for analysis to determine their chemical make-up and the remainder of the therapy will vary depending on the results.


To perform urohydropropulsion, the cat is anesthetized and a urinary catheter is placed. Through the catheter, the bladder is filled with sterile saline. The cat is then held in an upright position and, by hand, the veterinarian compresses the bladder, forcing the solution back out, and with it, the stones. Urohydropropulsion is used when the stones are very small and are sure to pass through the urethra.

Treatment and Prevention

The treatment of struvite stones may include surgical removal, urohyropropulsion (both described in more detail at the end of the article), dietary changes, or a combination of techniques.

Some work is being done using ultrasonic waves to destroy stones in these situations, but it is not readily available for all practices. This technique is common in human medicine and may eliminate surgery.

Valarie, I have tried to answer your questions in depth but if you have other problems with your cat , please feel free to ask . Cat lovers help other cat lovers.

Also click on Index...under Cat Diseases you may find Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease of interest.

Comments for Cat crystals and urinary infection

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Jun 25, 2018
Thank you & sharing experience w water by syringe
by: Banjo

I wasn't aware my cat wasn't drinking enough. I keep a big shallow bowl of fresh water and i was content with seeing both my cats drink, I thought, often enough. Turns out i was mistaken and now my baby Banjo (he's 4.5 yo) has had to go through this horrible eppisode. We ended up in hospital on friday night after i saw he was peeing with blood. He had not been himself for about a week, but it's been worse since Friday, the first time i noticed blood. He's been on medicine since friday night - a muscle relaxant and something for motion sickness that the vet said worked as painkiller - but I did not see any change at all on Saturday and Sunday, which I tried to take as a positive, because at least he wasn't hetting worse. But he was still trying to pee constantly, still peeing w blood and licking himself. Desperate, on Sunday afternoon i bought a humidifier for my apartment and a 10 mil syringe, and decided to force feed him water. The first time was Sunday afternoon, I paid attention to whether he would discharge any pee from the 20mlt i gave him, afterwards. When i saw he had, i felt relieved (because that meant he wasn't completely blocked) and repeated the 20mlt on Sunday night. On Monday morning, after waking up - Banjo, Coco (my other cat) and I sleep together and wake up at the same time - Banjo's pee wasn't red-orange anymore!!!!! I was so happy and grateful (to God) and repeated the 20mlt on Monday morning before going to work.

I cant tell with certainty whether force-feeding him 20mlt of water through a syringe is what has helped him get better -because he's been taking that muscle relaxant too, which by the way the vet did warn could be fatal in some cats - but it sure feels that way. He hates it of course but i see he's getting better and his pee looks healthier, so I will continue to do it every morning, forever. I find that using that technique you mentioned, from the side of his snout, being careful not to hurt his gums, he might be able to learn to get used to it. Anything before having to see him suffer so much - eventhough he hides it well, not a single miaow of pain.

Anyhow, thank you so much for your very thorough answer, it's given me a few tips. And let me know if you've had or heard of a similar "solution".

Sep 16, 2012
How to feed him
by: Darcy

Hi my cat had his catheter since Thursday and he doesn't want to eat since then, I tried force feeding him but it's too messy ,I put the food in the syringe so I can inject it to his mouth but he sometimes doesn't wanna open his mouth.
I feel so frustrated most of the time coz he only gets a little amount of food compared to when he is eating on his own.
My cat is a tomcat he is a bit big, but according to the doctor he's weight is okay.
But I am worried that since he doesn't wanna eat anything he might get thin.:( Tomorrow I am bringing him back to the doctor coz they have to remove the catheter.
I wonder when will he start eating, I have to force feed him even if he eats a little coz I have to give his medication, also i am having a hard time giving him his medicine :(
I need your advice how to feed him and how can I give his medication w/o having a hard time.


I almost didn't see your query because it was in the "comments" section not on the "questions" page. Force feeding a cat isn't fun. I've found the best way is to wrap the cat in a large towel so only the head is out and the paws are trapped inside where they can't damage you. You cat will look like a big burrito. Take the syringe and work it into the corner of the mouth and slowly discharge the contents. If you try to force the cat to open its mouth it will fight you but sneaking the syringe into the corner is less invasive to the cat. You will have to cradle your "cat burrito" in the crook of your arm to help prevent the head movement while you attempt to feed him. You can use this same method for the medication if it is liquid.

If the medication is in pill form then the page that describes how to administer a pill is Pilling a Cat. I hope that this info will help you and wish you luck.

Jul 24, 2012
drip to flush system
by: Anonymous

After searching for hours on the web, found the information very informative.Thank you
But I am still looking to find how long my male cat needs to be on a drip to flush out his system.The vet said that it was easy to remove the blockage of crystals .He had the blockage removed on Friday evening and has been on a drip from then till now which is Tuesday afternoon!!! and still havnt had a call from the vet to say he can come home.:(

Call your vet. Your cat should be ready to come home now unless there was a problem.

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