Felis ISSN 2398-2950


Synonym(s): Feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD, Feline urological syndrome (FUS, Kidney stone, Bladder stone, Urethra plugs

Contributor(s): Samantha Taylor, Penny Watson


  • Cause: feline urolithiasis is the second most frequent cause of 'feline lower urinary tract disease' (FLUTD) Feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD) (after feline idiopathic cystitis Idiopathic cystitis).
  • Signs: depend on location of urolith but commonly hematuria, dysuria, pollakiuria and/or urethral obstruction. Nephroloths/ureteroliths can cause acute kidney injury (AKI).
  • Diagnosis: depend on location: clinical signs, history, palpation, radiography, ultrasonography, urinalysis.
  • Treatment: depends on location: surgery, catheterization; medical dissolution poorly evaluated except for struvite uroliths.
  • Prognosis: depends on type of urolith and location.
    Print off the owner factsheet on Bladder stones and kidney stones Bladder and kidney stones to give to your client.
Follow the Management tree Feline calcium oxalate urolithiasis Feline calcium oxalate urolithiasis.Use the interactive tools from ROYAL CANIN® UK to explain cat anatomy and disease conditions to your client. Visit ROYAL CANIN Natom Explorer to find out more.



  • Supersaturation of urine with minerals, together with predisposing factors such as urinary tract infection, metabolic disorders or dietary factors.
  • Urolith formation is a complex situation involving the genetics of the cat, saturation of the urine and complex promotors and inhibitors.

Predisposing factors


  • Middle aged cats.
  • Obesity Obesity and a sedentary lifestyle are risk factors. May be due to urinary retention (as a result of 'couch potato' lifestyle); and infrequent voiding.
  • Neutering - but likely related to increased risk of obesity and inactivity.
  • Composition of diet: minerals, energy, moisture, metabolites, alkalinizing or acidifying.
  • Concentration of urine (cats may concentrate urine up to SG 1.080 if water deprived).
  • Urinary retention.


  • Urinary tract infection Cystitis: bacterial (struvite).
    This is much less important in cats than in dogs. UTI is uncommon in cats unless underlying condition, eg chronic kidney disease.


  • Less well-studied than in dogs.
  • Depends on composition of uroliths.
  • May result from single or multiple causes in an individual.

Calcium oxalate urolithiasis

  • Approximately 55% of all uroliths  Urinalysis: calcium oxalate crystal  Urinalysis: calcium oxalate urolith  Oxalate calculi  Oxalate crystals .
  • Acidic urine pH Urinalysis: pH.
  • Low magnesium, high calcium, low citrate.
  • Concentrated, low volume urine Urinalysis: specific gravity.
  • Hypercalcemia must be excluded when calcium oxalate uroliths identified.

Struvite urolithiasis

  • Magnesium ammonium phosphate Urinalysis: struvite crystal  Urinalysis: struvite stone  Struvite crystal clusters .
  • Approximately 30% of all uroliths.
  • Neutral to alkaline pH urine.
  • Sterile: dietary factors, eg mineral (high magnesium, high ammonia, high phosphate) content.
  • Concentrated, low volume urine.
  • Infection induced: infection with urease producing bacteria, eg staphylococci, plus abnormal host defenses, eg after perineal urethrostomy Urethrostomy.

Ammonium urate urolithiasis

  • Approximately 7% of all uroliths.
  • Renal tubular resorptive defect or portal vascular anomaly   →   increased urate excretion in some cases.
  • Other possible risk factors: purine precursors in diet eg liver, increased urine ammonia, concentrated urine, retention of urine, acidic urine.

Calcium phosphate urolithiasis

  • Approximately 0.5% of all uroliths.
  • Conditions causing hypercalcemia   →   hypercalciuria.
  • Other possible risk factors: alkaline urine, blood clots in urine.

Cystine urolithiasis

  • Very rare.
  • Decreased renal tubular reabsorption of cystine.

Dried solidified blood calculi

  • Newly identified type of stone which likely forms due to inflammation in the urinary tract.


  • Depends on type of urolith.


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Further Reading


Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Palm C & Westropp J (2011) Cats and calcium oxalate: strategies for managing lower and upper tract stone disease. J Fel Med Surg 13 (9), 651-660 PubMed.
  • Barteges J W & Kirk C A (2006) Nutrition and lower urinary tract disease in cats. Vet Clin North Am Small Anim Pract 36 (6), 1361-1376 PubMed.
  • Westropp J L, Ruby A L, Bailiff N L et al (2006) Dried solidified blood calculi in the urinary tract of cats. J Vet Intern Med 20 (4), 828-834 PubMed.
  • Kyles A E, Hardie E M, Wooden B G et al (2005) Management and outcome of cats with ureteral calculi: 153 cases (1984-2002). JAVMA 226 (6), 937-944 PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • Little S (2011) Urinary tract disorders. In: The cat: clinical medicine and management. pp 935.
  • BSAVA Manual of Canine and Feline Nephrology (2007) Elliott J & Grauer G (eds), 2nd edn.