The male cat has a very unusual urinary system in that it naturally produces minute crystals made from salts secreted by the kidney.
The crystals also form around the cells that are sloughed from the bladder wall and can be seen with the naked eye and appear like sand in the urine.
If urine is collected from a lot of cats and urine is allowed to settle and the fluid is removed, there will be a fine rough material left in the bottom of the tray. This is the crystalline salt that all or most cats have in their urine
The material is not a problem unless the urine is allowed to sit in the bladder for an extended period of time, or the urine turns from its natural acid state to an alkaline state. Once the pH changes then these fine pieces of sand start to sediment out in such a rate that stones start to form.
Most cats will urine out the fine sand without any problem as long as the pipe from the bladder and the outside is a sufficient diameter to allow it to flow through.
The problem really starts from when we have a male cat that is overweight and lazy.
The male animal has a long thin urethra and the urethra is narrow in diameter. This means that it is easily blocked with only a small amount of sand.
The weight of the animal is important in that the animal is naturally inactive and usually is overeating and therefore making more waste products in the urine than normal.
There is also a correlation between the male animal that is on dry food and urinary problems – that is more associated with low intake of water in the food and this causes the animal to not have an excessive amount of water to excrete in the urine. The end result of this is concentrated urine that irritates the bladder wall.
We know that a cat that drinks a large amount of water every day and urinates a lot has less chance of developing urinary problems than the cat who does not take in a lot of water.
So, if you own a male cat please keep an eye on your pet and the litter tray and make sure that the animal is normal. If in doubt please contact us to discuss