Urinary (FLUTD)

Feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD) is a term used to describe a variety of conditions that affect the urinary bladder and/or the urethra. There is a wide variety of underlying causes meaning any cat can be affected but it is more common in:

  • Middle aged cats

  • Desexed cats

  • Overweight cats

  • Inactive cats


Clinical Signs:

The clinical signs of each condition can be very similar so further investigations are required to determine the cause and therefore the treatment. Cats usually present with one or more of the following signs:

  • Straining or difficulty to pass urine

  • Increased frequency of urination

  • Blood in the urine

  • Urination out of the litter box

  • Behavioural changes such as over-grooming, irritation or aggression

  • Straining to urinate with no urine produced – EMERGENCY, take the cat straight to the vet!


Underlying causes:

  • Urolithiasis (bladder stones)

  • Bacterial infections

  • Urethral plug – This plug can obstruct the urethra and cannot pass through (EMERGENCY)

  • Neoplasia – this is uncommon but must be considered especially in older cats

  • Idiopathic cystitis – In a lot of cases, no underlying cause can be identified and the cat is determined to have inflammation of the bladder without a specific known cause



  • Urinalysis – usually the first step in diagnosing the underlying cause. The urine sample will be analysed microscopically for the presence of bacteria, crystals and blood among other things. Most of the time this can be done in-clinic during the consult but occasionally we may recommend the urine be sent to the lab for some further testing

  • Ultrasound – this can be used to help identify bladder stones, thickening of the bladder or a variety of other disease processes

  • X-rays – This can help identify some bladder stones

  • Biopsies – in some cases it is needed to take a sample of the bladder wall under anaesthetic, especially if a tumour is suspected



The treatment of FLUTD will differ depending on the underlying cause and your vet will recommend the most suitable treatment for your cat's condition. Minimising the risk factors can help minimise the risk of FLUTD developing and aid in treatment. This includes taking actions to increase your cat's water intake, encouraging urination by providing abundant clean areas to urinate, increasing activity levels and correcting obesity.