Cats can be strange, mysterious creatures – and that’s one of the things we love about them.
But when it comes to monitoring their health, our favourite slinky companions can make things a little difficult for us.
Why? Quite simply, cats don’t like to show us that they’re not feeling well.
“This is very likely a survival instinct,” explains Dr Corey Regnerus, Scientific Services Veterinarian at premium pet nutrition brand Royal Canin.
“From an evolutionary perspective, if cats overtly displayed signs of illness or injury, they would potentially put themselves at risk of becoming a target for another prey animal. Because of this, signs that they’re not feeling well can be very subtle.”
So how do you know what’s just normal cat uniqueness, and what could be a sign of something wrong? It can sometimes take a bit of detective work to find out. But the good news is, advanced pet care products likeRoyal Canin’s
HEMATURIA DETECTION by Blucare can give you some vital clues that it’s time to see the vet.
Signs you should take your cat to the vet
Cats may be masters of disguise, but there are some subtle signs of potential cat health issues to look out for, Dr Regnerus says.
“It can be small changes in routine or behaviour, like sleeping more, sleeping less, hiding, avoiding being petted, or becoming very vocal or even aggressive,” he says.
“Changes in eating and drinking behaviour are also common signs – whether it’s no longer clearing the food bowl after every meal like they usually do, or going from being a grazer to becoming ravenous.”
Another big red flag is changes in litter box behaviour. If your cat is using the litter box more frequently, straining or meowing and yowling in the litter box, or going to the toilet in strange places, such as the sink or the bathtub, Dr Regnerus says it’s important to take note.
“All of these can be cues that something underlying is happening with your cat, and they are actually telling you a lot more than you might expect.”
So, why do you need to think about your cat’s urine?
One clear sign that you need to take your cat to the vet is blood in the urine – known as haematuria – Dr Regnerus explains.
This can be a sign of a number of different cat health problems, ranging from feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD), to kidney problems or even cancer.
“The important thing to know is that blood in the urine is not normal – it needs to be investigated by a veterinarian to determine the underlying cause,” Dr Regnerus says.
Some of these conditions can be serious and even life-threatening, so early diagnosis and treatment are important, he says.
“The earlier your veterinarian can identify a potential problem, the better chance they have to provide your cat with the best care and recovery possible.”
The easy way to monitor your cat’s urinary health at home
The trouble is blood in the urine can often be invisible to the naked eye. That’s why Royal Canin’s HEMATURIA DETECTION by Blucare litter granules will be a game-changer in monitoring for cat urinary problems at home.
“Basically, they’re small, white granules that you sprinkle into your cat’s usual kitty litter,” Dr Regnerus explains.
“When these granules come into contact with the urine, they absorb it. If there is even the smallest amount of blood present in the urine, the granules will turn from white to blue.”
The results appear within a few seconds and remain visible for up to 48 hours. If the granules do change colour, the next step is to take your cat to the vet to investigate further.
As Dr Regnerus likes to say, the simple guide is: “If it’s blue, the vet needs to see you.”
How often should you test your cat’s litter?
For proactive monitoring, Dr Regnerus suggests using Royal Canin’s HEMATURIA DETECTION by Blucare every three months to get a snapshot of your cat’s urinary health.
Another good time to test is if you notice your cat doing any of those strange toilet behaviours – like straining or meowing in the litter box, or urinating in unusual places.
As vet visits can often be stressful for cats, a quick home screening can be a convenient first step to help you decide if a trip is needed.
Keep in mind also that feline urinary conditions tend to reoccur – so if your cat has experienced any urinary problems in the past, it’s a good idea to keep monitoring regularly.
Don’t forget regular vet check-ups
Your cat might not like it, but it’s important to keep up with their routine vet visits – whether or not you’re seeing any signs of health issues.
“Around 50% of cats don’t see the vet regularly enough,” Dr Regnerus says. “Routine veterinary assessments are really important for catching any signs of health problems early and getting the best treatment.
“For adult cats, that means a yearly check-up. And for senior cats – over the age of seven – we recommend twice a year.”
Royal Canin’s HEMATURIA DETECTION by Blucare gives you peace of mind with fast, simple and reliable home monitoring of your cat’s urinary health. Learn more and discover more expert tips for giving your cat the best loving care. ROYAL CANIN® HEMATURIA DETECTION by Blucare is available at selected veterinary clinics – ask your treating veterinarian about this product today.