The kidneys filter metabolic waste, regulate body fluids, produce hormones necessary for healthy blood pressure, produce blood cells, and process vitamin D.
The urinary system consists of the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. The kidneys form the upper tract, while the bladder forms the lower tract. Kidney stones, or calculi, can lodge themselves in the kidney or pass through the ureters and interfere with the elimination of urine. They can be incredibly painful or cause no pain at all.
In cats, kidney stones are usually formed by naturally occurring minerals, the most common being calcium oxalate. The cause of kidney stones is unknown; however, these naturally occurring minerals form crystals that accumulate and grow into stones. All cats are prone to kidney stones, but some breeds are more susceptible, including Persian, Balinese, Burmese, Siamese, and short- and long-haired domesticated cats.
Some cats with kidney stones exhibit symptoms such as those below; however, others exhibit no symptoms at all and are diagnosed during testing for another medical problem.
- increased/frequent urination
- painful urination
- burning during urination
- excessive licking of genitals
- blood in urine
Dietary changes may help prevent kidney stones, but it is imperative you speak to your veterinarian before making any changes to your cat's diet.