We don’t really know why cats develop the serious condition known as Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD). We do know that if left untreated, it can result in serious illness and even death. Here’s how to recognise when something’s wrong.

Risk factors

FLUTD seems to be caused by a number of issues, including obesity, stress, too much acidity or alkalinity in the urine, not enough water or a diet high in magnesium or other minerals.  The cause is often unknown.

8 warning Signs of FLUTD

You might see a few or all of these at once. If you see any at all, see your vet immediately for a proper diagnosis.

  1. Prolonged squatting or straining in or out of the litter box (some owners may confuse this with signs of constipation).
  2. Frequent urination or straining and only producing a small amount.
  3. Meowing or howling while urinating.
  4. Urinating outside of the litter box.
  5. Blood in the urine.
  6. Frequent licking of the genital area.
  7. Vomiting.
  8. Depression.
  9. Decreased appetite.
  10. Male cats need to be seen immediately as they can have life-threatening obstructions.  

Dr Lisa says..

  • Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD) has no single known cause
  • It’s extremely serious and needs medical treatment
  • Look for frequent attempts to wee without much result, pain or blood in the urine, as well as vomiting, genital licking, depression, reduced appetite, urinating in abnormal amounts
  • Male cats may need emergency medical procedures if a life-threatening blockage is present
  • Your vet may prescribe long term changes to diet and routine

Dr Jo says..

If your cat is stressed and suffering from FLUTD, try to remove the stressors from their life or desensitize your cat to them. Stressors may include neighbourhood cats, visitors to your home, children or loud noises.



Getting help:

FLUTD is serious. Your vet will determine the right treatment for your cat. Your job is to get him to the vet as soon as possible.

Top tips:
  • Encouraging natural behaviours can help with stress. Try letting him play hide and seek games with his food to mimic hunting, or putting his kitty litter somewhere out of the way of a busy household.
  • Things that can help:
  • Using a ‘Feliway’ diffuser can help
  • Using more than 1 litter tray per cat
  • Keep litter clean at all times
  • Increase dietary water intake – you can do this by wetting food and providing multiple sources of water
  • Provide multiple sources of clean water for your cat around your home


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