Hill’s Science Plan Feline LUTD Survey: The Facts

Over 300 cat owners recently took part in a survey run by Hill’s Pet Nutrition to uncover the real truth about the toileting habits of cats. The results will astound you…

  1. A whopping 60% of cat owners said they had experienced their cat urinating in the house outside the litter tray but almost 45% said they thought that urinary problems were not common.

The take home message is… you’re not alone! Urinary problems are the most common reason for cat owners visiting the vet (Source: Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. claims data for 2014) though the survey suggests that could just be the tip of the iceberg…

The survey identified that almost 40% of people that had noticed a problem didn’t take any action as it either went away, or repeat incidents happened only occasionally.

  1. While 77% of cat owners said they made special efforts to keep their cat’s kidneys and bladder healthy, only 67% said they actually knew what they had to do to keep their cat’s kidney and bladder healthy. Oops!
    Just for the record, simple things like always providing plenty of fresh drinking water, adopting good litter tray habits, reducing stress, encouraging activity and feeding a cat food suitable for urinary health, will all help keep a cat’s urinary system in tip-top shape.
  1. Double trouble….
    People who own more than one cat are more likely to experience them urinating in the house.
  1. It’s all about the stress….and 88% agreed that ‘stress and emotions can cause urinary or toileting problems in cats’. Taking steps to reduce stress can really help.
  1. You believe your cat’s motives are pure. Only 12% agreed that laziness could be the reason why their cat didn’t use the litter tray. But all those couch potatoes need to look out because Hill’s says that an indoor lifestyle, inactivity and overeating have all been shown to increase the likelihood of cats developing urinary problems.
  1. Two in every three people said that once cats were urinating outside their tray, they went back to the same place every time. Cat urine is really hard to clean up and get rid of the distinctive smell – in fact most cats can detect the odour even when we think it’s gone. We recommend using proprietary products that specifically aim to destroy those odours or biological washing powder followed by surgical spirit. Be sure to test first as colours and varnishes can be affected.
  1. Only male cats spray, right?
    Nope. Even though 33% of cat owners said only male cats spray, the majority (55%) said it wasn’t just a ‘guy’ issue.
  1. Are urinary problems boomerang issues?
    While 13% thought proper treatment by a vet would solve urinary problems so they didn’t come back, 33% weren’t sure if that would be the case and the rest disagreed. Some cats are predisposed and will suffer recurrent problems and cat owners should take a ‘CSI’ type approach using black UV lamps to show up urine stains. If a problem has been undetected for some time there may be older hidden urine stains that are perpetuating the problem.
  1. Cat owners clearly love their cats and put up with the odd accident but when asked to rate how upset they were by their cat’s toileting issues on a 1 to 10 scale (with 10 being most upset), 60% rated themselves at 7 or over. Over 25% rated their distress as a 10. Cat bladder problems include FLUTD and other complex conditions and should be properly investigated by a vet.
  1. The most common response to a urinary problem was to chalk it down to experience and in most cases it seems to be a very intermittent or one-off issue. But 33% of cat owners said they consulted a vet about their cat’s urinary problem while 20% tried changing the litter or working harder on litter training.
  1. Although 63% of cat owners thought that some cat foods could cause urinary problems, only 3% changed their cat’s food in an attempt to solve the issue.
  1. Although 34% of cat owners think that toileting problems are common in cats, 50% think that Feline Lower Urinary Tract Diseases (FLUTDs) are also common. According to Hill’s the truth is that while urinary problems generally are very common, urinary tract infections are much less so. The most common cause of urinary tract problems is a condition called FIC which is closely linked to stress.

The Hill’s Cat Urinary online survey was completed by 327 cat owners in July 2015.

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