We have recently had the scare over the cat and dog food supplied by one of the biggest supermarkets in the area allegedly causing the deaths of a number of pets.
The problem is usually caused by animals not drinking sufficient water after eating dried animal food, although in this recent incident, it was the wet food that caused the problems.
The problems experienced when cats urinating are one of the most common diseases affecting male cats. The first thing to consider is whether the animal has a real problem when urinating, or is he urinating in another place for any other reason. The former fact could be due to some infection or an accumulation of crystals in the lower urinary conducts, while the latter one would be a disorder in the behaviour of the cat.
Making a difference is not usually an easy task, because sometimes the symptoms overlap. For instance, when a cat has pain when urinating due to an infection in the lower urinary conducts, it will often search for another place to pee, instead of doing in its box.
Once the symptoms have been identified, vets can carry out some tests like urine tests (biochemical, sediments and culture), x-rays and scans of the abdomen in order to rule out other diseases such as infections, gallstones or tumours. A very common problem in male cats, especially the castrated ones, living a sedentary life and fed with commercial food, is the appearance of gallstones that obstruct the cat's urethra. This can cause extreme pain and can mean spending time in the vet hospital. This is a very common disorder that be treated with some special food that prevents the formation of these gallstones and make it possible to destroy those that have been already formed. It is important to know that the cat will have to be kept on this special food forever if we do not want relapses.
If these obstructions are repeated in spite of the medical and diet treatment, there is the possibility of surgery, although the techniques are usually aggressive and not always well accepted by the owners.
If the cause of the problem has an infectious origin (common in female cats mainly), the cat would be treated with antibiotics for 18-20 days. If there are other reasons like neurological disorders or tumours, then surgery, medicines and chemotherapy will be required.
Finally, a high percentage of these cases are due to an alteration in the cat's behaviour when urinating. We have reached this conclusion after making all kind of tests, some of them quite complex, such as endovenous x-rays with renal contrast or x-rays of the bladder and the urethra. When a cat suffers from an alteration of the behaviour when urinating, there is a great range of disorders that it could be, but we will talk about them in another article. We usually recommend castration if it is a clear problem of sexual marking, or anti-depressive medicines, or other drugs if it is a stress problem or other diseases. On the other hand we can combine these medicines with different treatments that will help to reinforce positive behaviour, and it is advisable to take the precaution of placing different cat litter trays around the house.