Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (flutd)

Cats sometimes act strange, but what if it's more than just a quirk? Our article dives deep into a common yet mysterious ailment in our feline friends: Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD).

We'll explore the symptoms, causes, and ways to prevent it possibly. This might be needed information if your cat is struggling or behaving differently.

Keep reading to find out what every cat owner should know.

What is FLUTD?

Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD) is the name given to a complex of urologic medical conditions in cats, including Cystitis (inflammation of the urinary bladder), urinary stones, and urinary obstruction.

It is sometimes referred to as FUS (Feline Urologic Syndrome).

Close up an adorable young cat's face who using sand cat litter.Feline Lower urinary tract diseases (FLUTD) and Dysuria in a cat concept

A full blockage of the urinary tract is a life-threatening condition. The cat can go into a coma and die within 24-72 hours!

Therefore, if your cat stops urinating, you should get it to a veterinarian ASAP. It is a medical emergency that can result in agonizing death.

Who's at Risk?

It is estimated that FLUTD occurs in 1 percent of all cats, affecting both males and females. Due to their narrow urethra, males are more susceptible to urinary tract blockage.

Why some cats develop FLUTD and others do not is still unknown, although there are indications that certain types of cat food may trigger the formation of crystals and stones in some cats.

A low intake of water may also be a cause of FLUTD.

After the first time a cat has FLUTD, he or she is more likely to experience it again in the future.

Symptoms of FLUTD

Cat pees in a pot with a wooden filling for cats

Symptoms of FLUTD include pain during urination, often signaled by crying during urination.

One of the first signs of FLUTD may be urination outside the litter box. Dribbles of urine can be found around the home as the cat tries to avoid the pain associated with the litter box.

Therefore, any cat that urinates outside the litter box must be checked by a vet to rule out FLUTD. Only then can the problem can be addressed as a behavioral problem.


Other symptoms may include excessive licking of the genitals, frequent visits to the litter box with little or no result, squatting and straining during urination, and blood in the urine.

Some cats develop a form of FLUTD called Feline Idiopathic Cystitis (FIC) and suffer from recurrent flare-ups.

If you think your cat has FIC, read more here -
Feline Idiopathic Cystitis How To Improve Your Cats Life Quality

Treatment of FLUTD

Adult cat with kidney failure, very dehydrated, receiving iv treatment

As FLUTD can quickly develop into an emergency, especially in male cats, you should immediately get your cat to the vet.

The vet will treat the problem according to the specific medical condition. If there is a blockage, a catheter will likely release the obstruction.

Treatment depends on the cause of FLUTD. Your vet will perform a urinalysis to check for the presence of bacteria.

An ultrasound or x-ray may also be performed to check for bladder stones or tumors.

In case of bacterial infection, your vet will prescribe a course of antibiotics. Otherwise, changing diet and addressing stress are key features of treatment.

Prevention of FLUTD

A scoop with a big clumping tofu cat litter in the sandbox

It is hard to prevent FLUTD as no one knows what causes it. A good rule is to keep the litter box clean and always provide your cat with fresh water.

Some kinds of recurrent episodes can be avoided by following a specially prescribed diet, which controls acidity in the cat's urine.

Although these diets are expensive, following them for as long as your vet prescribes them is important. They are usually adapted to the crystals forming in the cat's urinary tract.

Many veterinarians believe a wet diet is preferable to ensure your cat's water intake is high enough and helps dilute the urine even further.

Consult with your vet on the best course of treatment and prevention that is preferable in your case.


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4 comments on “Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (flutd)

my buddies March 3, 2016
I've had my male cat Alex on the C/D Hill's Prescription and the Royal Canin SO diet for about a year after he recovered from a serious bout of FLUTD.  I add water to his canned food.  His appetite & peeing have been great.  Lately, though, he's been licking his feet a lot more than usual and often burps and swallows after eating.  He just threw up after a nap.  I don't know if I should be concerned yet.    I have some Hounds & Gatos canned cat food.  I don't know if it's too acid for him.  Does anyone know if cats on a FLUTD diet can safely eat Hounds & Gatos food?
lunariris February 6, 2014
Our one indoor-only spayed female started having problems after she started getting older. After having her since just a few weeks old, at around 6-7 years old she began to pee out of the box and dig the floor before she would go and make circles. She would also meow when being picked up, something she'd never done before. She had problems with bladder stones and has had FLUTD problems on and off since. She's also been partially blind since she was a kitten and lost more sight with age, so sometimes it's hard to tell if she misses the box because of her vision or urinary problems. That's when we usually look at the color of her urine and I do the "pick-her-up-and-if-she-meows" test, and if it seems uncomfortable for her to be picked up, we know we have to run to the vets. She's now almost 12 years old, but since we got 2 water fountains for our cats in addition to leaving some regular water dishes out, and putting her on a C/D chicken canned diet via our vet, she's been doing much better, and drinking much more water with the fountains. With her sight, I also think the noise from the fountains running also helps her find her way around a little easier, and reminds her to drink more, and staying hydrated helps keep urinary issues at bay too.
AbbysMom October 19, 2013
Hello! I've also sent you a PM. Please consider starting a thread in the Health area of our forums: http://www.thecatsite.com/f/4/cat-health Many more of our members will see it. I hope you and your cat can get the answers you need.
nonie2v October 18, 2013
I have a 13 year old male kitty names, Zeke. Three weeks ago he could not pee, he had licked his penis so much it was irritated,  and wasn't eating or drinking any water. I took him to the E.R. vet and they wanted an outlandish amount to help him so I took him to our normal vet. She said he probably has blockage, which after 3 weeks they have yet to figure out the problem. Next week he's going to have an ultrasound, and he will not eat, drink or pee without being hydrated. Does anyone have any ideas what's wrong with him? I would appreciate any help.

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