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Bladder Stones in Cats

Bladder stones are rock-like deposits of minerals, crystals and organic material that are found in a cat's bladder. They can remain small in size or grow to be several millimeters in diameter, and may rub against the bladder walls, causing inflammation. Bladder stones can also lead to blockage of the urethra and can interfere with a cat's ability to urinate. There are several types of minerals that form stones under different conditions in a cat's urinary tract. The two most common are struvite and calcium oxalate stones.

How Can I Tell If My Cat Has Bladder Stones

Common signs that may indicate bladder stones are:

  • Blood in the urine (hematuria)
  • Painful urination
  • Straining to urinate
  • Frequent urination
  • Genital licking
  • Chronic urinary tract infections
  • Urinary tract obstruction (especially in males)
  • Urine spraying
  • Passing urine in unusual places

Please note, sometimes cats with bladder stones exhibit no clinical signs.

What Causes Cats to Have Bladder Stones?

Different conditions contribute to the formation of different types of stones. Some of these may include:

  • Nutritionally imbalanced diet
  • Decreased water intake
  • Urinary tract infection
  • High concentration of magnesium, ammonium and phosphate minerals in the urine
  • Urine pH favorable to the formation of various crystals
  • Certain drugs and dietary supplements
  • Congenital liver shunt
  • Breed predisposition

At What Age Do Cats Develop Bladder Stones?

Cats can develop bladder stones at any age. Some types of stones are more likely to form at different lifestages. The risk of developing calcium oxalate stones, for example, increases as your cat ages.

Which Cats Have a Greater Risk of Getting Bladder Stones?

It is believed that neutered male Burmese, Persian and Himalayan cats may be genetically predisposed to developing calcium oxalate stones.