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.