This April we were shocked and scared as we rushed our cat to the emergency vet as it was Friday night and our vet was now closed. Xavier was in and out of the litter box and was increasingly growing more and more uncomfortable. I had seen this happen to him before and it was bladder crystals. I was so worried about it happening again. We thought he was doing good, as it had been 3 1/2 years since it happened before. I was praying it wasn't the same thing. Unfortunately, it was. They took him from me as soon as we walked in the door. I heard them over the speaker announcing they had an urgent patient and whisked him away.
The doctor explained that he needed emergency surgery as his bladder was completely blocked. He needed a catheter for a few days and would have to stay the weekend. It cost us a lot of money and my poor cat was in a lot of pain. We had gotten comfortable after the first time that it wouldn't happened again, then it did. This time we are going to be more proactive about our cat's health, so we don't have to go through this again!!
I began researching struvite crystals and FLUTD (feline lower urinary tract disease). One thing I found out is that male cats get it more than female cats. One of our female cats, Tabby had had bladder crystals in the past, but did not need surgery for it. That is because a male cat's urethra is short which causes the full blockage and female's is not. I am still cautious of her, as I don't want her to go through that again either.
Minerals form in the bladder and over time the minerals unite and form crystals which build up and then block the stream of urine from exiting the body. There are several things that cause these crystals to form; diet, stress, lack of water.
Let's talk diet
Dry food is a major culprit in the creation of these bladder crystals. We started Xavier off with only wet food the first time around and slowly started to reintroduce the dry food. In the months leading up to his second flare up we had started giving a lot more dry food. He would get extra snacks and treats of dry food. I believe this was a huge reason for the second bout of crystals. We have since completely eliminated dry food. Crystals form in an acidic environment and dry food is highly acidic.
We serve high quality canned food, 3 times a day. Because Xavier loves the crunchiness of the dry food and misses that, we do put some freeze dried chicken on top. This was approved by the vet. It has no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. It is just freeze dried chicken and nothing else. The canned food we give is by the brand Weruva. The food is processed in a human grade processing plant, so there are no bi-products. The food contains high quality meat to promote proper PH levels in the body and has added moisture. They are preservative, grain, artificial colors and flavors and carageenan free!
We have also started a natural supplement that both Xavier and Tabby take, called Dasuiquin. This contains Glucosomine and reduces inflammation in the body and the bladder. When there is less inflammation, the body is in an alkaline state rather than acidic. The crystals can't form in the bladder in that state. The best part is the product is natural and we are not keeping him on a medication for the rest of his life.
is another important way of preventing FLUDT flare ups and increase the health and comfort of your cat. Xavier is very anxious and a high strung cat. He suffers from separation anxiety from me. I purchased a Feliway diffuser for our house. Feliway is a pheromone that releases happy endorphins for the cat. I have noticed that since getting it, he seems much calmer. Hopefully, we can keep his stress levels down!
Lastly, increased water intake is important to flush toxins and mineral build up away! Getting a water fountain or mixing water in with the wet food are both great options. We just got a water pitcher that filters the water to make it Alkaline. I am using that to mix with their food to help the PH levels in their bodies.
Many people do not think about the what they are feeding their animals and what is healthy for them. Check the ingredients list on what you are giving your pet and see if it could be cleaned up some. Offer them filtered water and reduce the stress in their lives. Pets are family too and we all want them to be with us as long as possible!!!