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Kidney stones in cats, also known as bladder stones, are a common risk factor for the ageing feline. There are various types of stones, however, of the most prominent are struvite or calcium oxate stones. Kidney stones may or may not be painful. In addition, with small sized stones your cat may show no signs or symptoms of having them at all. Larger stones may however cause significant discomfort and pain for which proper and immediate treatment is required. A bladder stone which is lodged in a cat’s urethra may cause a complete blockage. This in turn may lead to kidney failure and could be fatal. 

Why do kidney stones develop in cats?

Kidney stones may develop in any feline of any age. Furthermore, it is not known why some cats develop kidney stones while others don’t. There are however a few risk factors for kidney stone development:

  • Genetic predisposition
  • Nutritionally unbalanced diet
  • Drinking too little water
  • Bladder infections

The most common signs and symptoms associated with kidney stone development in cats are:

  • Frequent urination
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Blood in the urine
  • Licking of genitals
  • Urinating outside of the litter box
  • Pain during movement

Specifically, it is important to note that as soon as your cat is unable to urinate, this should be treated as a veterinary emergency. 

Diagnosing kidney stones in cats

Your vet will perform the following assessments if he or she suspects your cat has kidney stones.

  • Abdominal assessment
  • Ultrasound
  • X-Ray
  • Urinalysis
  • Urine culture

What are the treatment options?

Treating your cat’s kidney stones will vary depending on the type of stone, size and location. Various treatment options are however available, which include:

  • A prescription diet to nutritionally support your cat’s bladder health
  • Increasing water intake, which could include a wet food diet 
  • Flushing procedure
  • Surgical removal


Always closely observe urinary tract health issues. Moreover, always ensure that your cat has fresh water available and is exercising and playing regularly. Finally, frequent bladder infections require close monitoring for possible kidney stone development.

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