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Creature Comforts—Rx: Holistically Treat Your Cat's Bladder Infection
By C. Olivia Ryan
Your normally well-behaved kitty is leaving smelly surprises on your carpet, or maybe she’s having difficulty going to the bathroom altogether. It seems pretty obvious that she has a urinary tract infection, right?
If only a diagnosis were that easy. The traditional signs of a cat UTI are straining to urinate, obvious pain or discomfort when urinating, licking the genitals, frequent urination without much output, urinating in unusual places, or cloudy or bloody urine. The American Veterinary Medical Association says these symptoms are the No. 1 reason cats visit the vet. But that doesn’t necessarily mean the cat has an infection, holistic veterinarians say.
“Studies have shown that well over 90 percent of cats with these symptoms don’t have bacteria in their bladder,” says Michael Dym, VMD, of Classic Veterinary Homeopathy in Moorestown, New Jersey. But most conventional vets will treat any urinary problem as a bacterial infection and dose your cat with antibiotics.
Holistic vets don’t do that. “I have not found it necessary to use antibiotics for [cat bladder problems] for over 25 years,” writes Richard Pitcairn, DVM, PhD, in Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs & Cats (Rodale, 2005). He and Dym believe most bladder issues are caused by gritty material in the urine that can inflame the urinary tract tissues, or in acute cases, plug up the urethra. They recommend the following fixes for your feline.
Change you cat’s diet. “It is clear that much of the problem originates in feeding cats poor-quality food,” Pitcairn says. “Almost invariably, the first attack follows a history of feeding dry commercial foods.” Dym says carbohydrate-based dry cat food is alkaline, and “every time your cat nibbles dry food throughout the day, her pH goes up, which can cause crystals, plugs, and debris in her urinary tract.” Meat-based food makes the urinary tract naturally acidic and antibacterial. Feed it to your cat only twice a day, and don’t leave the food out for more than 30 minutes, Pitcairn says. “Frequent feeding alkalizes the urine, leading to formation of ‘sand’ and ‘stones.’ Cats, as carnivores, are meant to eat infrequently and fast in between.”
Heal with homeopathy and supplements. Try Belladonna for a cat with urinary pain or straining, Mercuriusvivus for licking and straining, Nuxvomicaforirritable cats, Pulsatilla for cats that become too quiet, Cantharis for cats with inflamed genitals, and Coccuscacti if the other remedies don’t work. Dosage in each case is 30¢ For subacute cases, where the cat can urinate but not very well, the dose is one or two pellets every four hours for a total of three treatments. For acute cases, where the cat’s urethra is blocked, give one pellet every 30 minutes for a total of two treatments.
Studies also show that glucosamine can help soothe the lining of the bladder, Dym says. He also recommends 250 milligrams twice daily of cranberry capsules or powdered vitamin C to l...
Author: C. Olivia Ryan
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