If your cat keeps having urinary troubles, it’s time to start looking for the root of the problem. Urinary issues are the number one reason cat parents contact us, so we dove deep to find some real help.
We spoke with veterinarians, both holistic and conventional, and read a lot of research on the matter. What we found is that a humongous percentage of cats with reoccurring urinary problems all have one thing in common: Stress.
Dr. Liz Bales’ research shows that up to 70% of indoor cats with urinary issues lack sufficient environmental enrichment. She adds – “In fact, keeping our cats inside has been associated with an increased risk of an array of medical and stress-related problems.“
Makes sense. But what can we do?
Whenever possible, we always want to find and address the root cause of an issue – rather than just treating (or masking) the symptoms. When it comes to chronic urinary problems, we too often hear from frustrated cat parents that their kitty has been through rounds and rounds of antibiotics – yet the urinary infections just keep coming back. They feel desperate and helpless… and are ready to try just about anything to bring their kitty some relief. And that’s why this research is good news. Since it’s been established that stress is often the root cause, let’s discuss ways you can reduce the anxiety, thus reducing the risk of more urinary problems.
Ways to reduce stress for cats with reoccurring urinary issues
- Feed more moist food. The amount of carbohydrates in dry food creates inflammation in the body and contributes to nutritional stress. The more wet food you can feed, the better.
- Exercise your kitties daily. Exercise is a well-established natural treatment for stress (for cats and us!). Our cats want to be active (regardless of what they “tell” you) so we need to get them moving. When you’re home, try 20-30 minutes of playtime with a wand toy, ball or whatever your kitty likes to play with most.
- Take your cat outside for supervised playtime. Stimulating their senses will also help reduce stress. You can do this with a catio, stroller, leash or even an enclosed backyard (where they can’t escape). Let them explore, but keep them safe.
- Try hiding their food. Hunting feeders are an amazing way to allow your kitties to stay engaged, improve enrichment and reduce stress. Feeding an all-day-buffet is yesterday’s bad habit. Now that we know better, we can feed better. Try Doc & Phoebe’s Hunting Feeders or make your own at home!
- Confidence building sessions. Many indoor cats are bored and quickly lose their confidence. These simple 15-20 minute sessions can increase confidence and really help reduce stress in your kitty! Click here for a breakdown on confidence building sessions.
- Keep your stress low. Cats can literally smell our anxiety, so staying calm will help their stress too! If you’ve had a bad day at work, try taking a quick shower before playing with the kitties. Really – it will wash off our stress hormone (cortisol) and make for a more mutually calming experience.
- Give your cat natural calming formulas. In addition to the above suggestions, adding a simple calming formula to the wet food can really help too – in conjunction with these stress-reducing efforts. Our Pooh Bear (like me) is more prone to anxiety than our other babies, and adding a calming solution to this routine made a big difference for him.
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