Cat Bladder Stones.
Essential Facts For Cat Owners

Blockage of the bladder by cat bladder stones requires immediate veterinary treatment. The correct medical term for this condition is Feline Urolithiasis Syndrome (FUS). It's really important that you're able to recognize the signs of this, so that if it does happen to one of your cats you can act swiftly. If a blocked bladder is left untreated, it will be fatal.

Cat Bladder Stones: Cause, Signs And Treatment

1) Cause

Some cats have a build-up of tiny crystals in their urine called struvite. These accumulate in the bladder and are normally passed without problems when Kitty has a pee. However, if enough crystals accumulate in the bladder, they form a sand-like type of sludge which can irritate the bladder wall, causing it to become inflamed and infected.

In male cats, the combination of the inflammation and the crystal build-up can result in the exit to the bladder becoming completely blocked. This is one of the cat urine problems that's seldom seen in female cats, because their urethra (the tube that leads from the bladder to outside the cat's body) is much wider than a male cat's. Females still get struvite formation, and still may suffer inflammation and partial blockage, but their bladder is much less likely to get completely blocked. However, females will still need veterinary treatment for bladder stones.

2) Signs

The following signs usually occur when the bladder is partially blocked:

  • Cat spends a lot of time around litter box or other favorite toilet area
  • Straining to pee, but very little being produced (this may be mistaken for cat constipation)
  • Twitching tail
  • Feline incontinence
  • Frequently licking area around tail

The following signs occur later, if the bladder becomes completely blocked:

  • Penis may be protruded and swollen
  • Still straining to pee but none being produced
  • Tense, painful abdomen
  • May have difficulty walking
  • Becomes lethargic and listless
  • Loss of appetite, maybe cat vomiting
  • Howling in pain

3) Treatment

The obstruction must be removed by the vet so that urine can pass freely again. This is done by passing a fine tube (a catheter) through the urethra and into the bladder. A course of antibiotics is usually prescribed to deal with any urinary tract infection that may be present. Dietary changes may be advised by the vet to help reduce struvite formation.

Unfortunately, cat bladder stones have a tendency to recur. If they keep recurring in your cat, or if his condition is severe, the vet may recommend surgery. This consists of removal of the narrowest part of the urethra, which greatly reduces the risk of further blockages. For advice on health insurance for your cat, click here.

Go from cat bladder stones page to cat urine page

Go to Cat Behavior Explained home page