Survey Results Say Cat Owners Need Urinary Track Disease Awareness

Cat at vet

A national Cat Behavior Survey conducted by Harris Interactive was done to discover if cat owners really understand the number one reason why cats are being taken to the veterinarian.

One major culprit is Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD), a serious disorder that affects the urinary bladder or urethra of cats. Although a recent study published in Veterinary Economics found FLUTD as the number one reason cats are presented to the veterinarian (outside of routine care), the Cat Behavior Survey uncovered that less than half of cat owners (46%) would take their cats to a veterinarian for urinating outside of the litter box (inappropriate elimination) — one of the warning signs of FLUTD.

Besides inappropriate elimination, additional warning signs of FLUTD — straining to urinate, urinating more frequently and/or cats crying out when urinating — can be misinterpreted as “behavioral problems,” often sending cats to shelters rather than to the veterinarian for the care they require.
Although the survey found about one out of every ten cat owners (9%) says their cat has experienced each of these symptoms, many owners don’t know what to do when they see these symptoms.

“In my practice, I see cats with FLUTD on a daily basis, proving that owners need to be educated about this condition,” said Dr. Craig Prior, a veterinarian in Nashville, Tennessee. “In fact, I encourage owners to start preventive care, such as feeding a therapeutic pet food with balanced nutrition and low salt levels to preempt any signs.”

From a press release:

The Cat Behavior Survey found a disconnect between what cat owners say they are aware of versus their actual knowledge related to FLUTD. According to the survey, about a quarter of cat owners (28%) are somewhat familiar with what FLUTD is, yet 39 percent of cat owners could not correctly identify a factor that predisposes cats to the condition. In fact, 51% of cat owners incorrectly selected diet as an influencer of FLUTD. The survey showed that although 83 percent of cat owners would take their cats to the veterinarian if their cat was experiencing trouble while urinating, about 1 in 4 cat owners who actually experienced this situation instead chose to wait and see if the behavior stopped before taking more action.

Dr. Prior explains, “Once you see the first symptoms of bladder problems, cat owners should take immediate action and call their veterinarian. This way, vets can assure owners their cats aren’t misbehaving and instead can work towards resolving the problem.”

“Educating cat owners about the behavioral warning signs of FLUTD can literally save lives. Education on this topic will raise awareness of the disease and ultimately keep cats in their homes and connected to their families rather than in a shelter.”

(Thanks Mike)

16 Responses to “Survey Results Say Cat Owners Need Urinary Track Disease Awareness”

  1. pat says:

    wait a minute, wait a minute, wait just one darn minute here. look at these two statements

    Dr. Craig Prior, a veterinarian in Nashville, Tennessee: “… I encourage owners to start preventive care, such as feeding a therapeutic pet food with balanced nutrition and low salt levels to preempt any signs.”

    The Cat Behavior Survey: 51% of cat owners incorrectly selected diet as an influencer of FLUTD.

    vet says use therapeutic food. survey says it’s incorrect for owners to say diet is related to the condition.

    can someone explain to me in what way this article makes any kind of sense? if vets tell pet owners to change an animal’s diet to prevent or ameliorate the condition, why is it incorrect for pet owners to think diet is related to it?

    or have i forgotten how to read?

  2. Roberto P. says:

    I have 2 cats with this condition. I say it’s the dry food. These cats are mildly dehydrated and their urine is very concentrated, contributing to the formation of crystals. My guys eat homecooked food with extra water and are doing great. The retraining to the litter box (they associate it with painful urination) takes longer but can be done. Both of these cats were brought to the vet to be euthanized, and both owners absolutely insisted it was behavior. I call them owners because I don’t think people who refuse a urine test, but are willing to pay for euthanasia, should be called pet parents. You’re right Pat, if diet doesn’t cause it, why does diet fix it?

  3. Dave says:

    Most cats hate water and when they eat a dry (kibble) food they basically run around de-hydrated all the time, thus the need to add salt to the food to force the cat to drink. Cats would normally eat mice and other little creatures that are moist or already contain water. A diet of dry food “is the cause” and a diet of moist (real) food “does fix it”.

  4. pat says:

    just one more thing: this survey was carried out by harris interactive on behalf of hill’s pet nutrition. so basically it’s a pr piece designed to help hills sell more product.

  5. Elaine Vigneault says:

    If so many cats get this one disease, doesn’t that suggest an environmental or diet cause? I think there’s a lot more to learn about cat care and we’re just being misled about the little that is known.

  6. Kevin says:

    Cats that eat raw or canned food get most of their water content from their food. Dry food is the worst thing to feed you pets. Below is an article regarding FUS (Feline Urological Syndrome or FLUTD…Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease).

    http://www.celestialpets.com/fus_article.shtml

  7. Cat Bathroom Etiquette | Itchmo says:

    […] cat may also have a medical problem and it may be time to see a veterinarian. Your cat may have a Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD). Also, if your cat is older, he may have a hard time accessing the […]

  8. HighNote says:

    A few years back we had male cat that was that had this trouble. When we took him to our vet he told us that this is a lot more common in the male cat then the female. He said the reason is because our male did not go outside and that he would hold his urine and not go till he just had to. He kept having the problem and his kidneys were getting damaged because of it. We finally turned him into a girl. Only one Doctor was able to do this surgery in our area. it stopped the problem. We didn’t want to do it but he was going to die without doing it. It was very expensive to do but he was worth every penny we spent.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Thanks Pat for pointing out the contradictions I’ve come to expect from the veterinary/petfood establishment.

    As already mentioned a milliion times elsewhere on this site, vets have minimal training in nutrition and what they have is courtesy of the petfood industry. GO ELSEWHERE FOR GOOD INFORMATION. You’ll find that most “therapeutic” diets concocted by the petfood industry and sold by vets are just a different variety of petfood industry crap.
    Some starters;
    http://www.holisticat.com/uti_arch1.html
    http://www.holisticat.com/FusFaq.htm
    http://www.holisticat.com/flutd_arch1.html
    http://www.holisticvetpetcare.net/felines.htm
    http://www.felinefuture.com/nu.....o_ch8a.php
    http://www.catinfo.org/

  10. Anonymous says:

    “..Survey conducted by Harris Interactive was done to discover if cat owners really understand the number one reason why cats are being taken to the veterinarian..”

    I’d like to see results of how many pet owners understand the side effects of vaccines pushed by vets for decades. Would you trust someone with minimal nutritional training who is possibly actually damaging your animal’s health to begin with to recommend food? As Pat pointed out,
    the survey itself is a product of the petfood industry that’s been poisoning our cats for profit.
    Vets are dunces with it comes to building health. They sell pharmaceutical products (with carefully lobbied label loopholes) and little besides the standard petfood industry poop.

  11. mittens says:

    everyone should always pay attention to their cats elimination issues- going outside the box is not always behavioral and is often a sign of illness-a number of different serous illnesses including chronic renal failure.

    cats evolved in the desert. most of their water had to come from the meat they caught and ate. i know cats get addicted to dry food but it is the worst diet for your cat. they are not dogs. they are not human. they cannot convert and digest certain plant elements and vitamins and MUST get their dioetery requirments filled by meat. they are meant to eat meat. period. and it doesn’t help their teeth either- that’s a big nasty pet food industry lie.

    they have quite unique renal systems and not feeding them according to their specific hereditary requirments can cut their lives in half and saddle them with dibilitating illnesses as can apparently the crap churned out by the pet food industry.

    vaccines can cause problems, for sure, but improper diet can compromise their renal system and is far more often the cause of serious life threatening issues. as is hyperthyroid( cause unknown)- so common in cats and so easily remedied but undetected can cause serious heart disease and kideny problems.

    i have found that my cats are madly in love with the Catit fountain i bought them. it sure encourages them to drink more water and they love to play in it. it’s so very important for them to stay hydrated and their evolutionary path is such that they are not conditioned to get adequet hydration from pools of water. those water fountains are geat if you have a cat who you must get to drink more water.

  12. Amber says:

    My cat is unfortunately going to be stuck on the Hill’s diet. We tried and tried to switch him to wet food. He wouldn’t eat it. He wouldn’t eat it mixed up with the dry kibble. He had been crystal free for 5 years on the Hill’s brand and then I decided to switch him after this whole pet food mess to a healthier, moister diet. He then got semi-blocked and started urinating blood.

    My other cat is doing fine on the wet food. In the future I will start any cat I get on a more natural/raw food diet. Poor DK has decided that it’s crappy cat cereal for himself. I really wanted to get him on a better diet. I can’t seem to find a healthy alternative that has the same pH adjustment. I would love to have him off grains. And now there’s this whole Natura thing going on too. Ugh! I just feel like pulling all my hair out sometimes.

  13. Baby says:

    My 2 year old cat has just survived a near miss with a chrystal blockage. Praise God that I pay close attention to him and caught his problem early. He had surgery to relieve his blockage and empty his bladder. He suffered no kidney damage. I am now educating myself to a cat’s proper nutritional needs. I am shocked as to how unknowledable I was. We should all be sharing what we are learning with everyone we know. Many cats are needlessly suffering due to our unintentional ignorance. While web sites like this one are great, people don’t know about them until they have had a problem. Let’s spread the word of prevention…

  14. Baby says:

    My 2 year old cat just survived chrystal blockage surgery. Praise God I pay close attention to him and caught his problem early. He suffered no kidney damage. I am now educating myself to a cat’s proper nutritional needs. I am shocked as to how unknowledable I was. We should all be sharing what we are learning with everyone we know. Many cats are needlessly suffering due to our unintentional ignorance. While web sites like this one are great, but people don’t know about them until they have had a problem. Let’s spread the word of prevention…

  15. Baby says:

    My 2 year old cat just survived chrystal blockage surgery. Praise God I pay close attention to him and caught his problem early. He suffered no kidney damage. I am now educating myself to a cat’s proper nutritional needs. I am shocked as to how unknowledable I was. We should all be sharing what we are learning with everyone we know. Many cats are needlessly suffering due to our unintentional ignorance. While web sites like this one are great, but people don’t know about them until they have had a problem.

  16. Baby says:

    My cat just survived chrystal blockage surgery. Praise God I caught his problem early. I am now educating myself to a cat’s proper nutritional needs. I am shocked as to how unknowledable I was. We should all be sharing what we are learning with everyone we know. Many cats are needlessly suffering due to our unintentional ignorance. While web sites like this one are great, but people don’t know about them until they have had a problem.


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