Crystals In Cat Urine

icon October 30, 2023

As a cat owner, it's essential to be vigilant about your feline companion's health. One common health issue that can affect cats is the formation of crystals in their urine. These crystals can lead to various urinary problems and discomfort for your pet. In this article, we will delve into the causes of cat urinary crystals, how they appear, the signs to look out for, and effective treatment options to ensure your beloved feline stays healthy and happy.

Understanding Crystals In Cat Urine

1. Types of Crystals In Cat Urine

There are several types of crystals that can form in a cat's urine, but the most common ones are:

  • Struvite Crystals: Struvite crystals are composed of magnesium, ammonium, and phosphate. They are the most frequent type found in cat urine, often as a result of diet and urinary tract infections.
  • Calcium Oxalate Crystals: These crystals are made up of calcium and oxalate and are another common type. They are more likely to form in cats with certain predisposing factors, such as a genetic disposition.
  • Urate Crystals: Urate crystals consist of uric acid and are more commonly seen in cats with liver or metabolic disorders.

2. What Causes Crystals In Cat Urine

Understanding why urinary crystals form in cats is crucial for preventing and managing this condition. The primary causes include:

  • Diet: Diet plays a significant role in crystal formation. Cats fed a diet with excessive minerals or inadequate moisture content are at a higher risk of developing urinary crystals. This can result from commercial dry cat food with high mineral content.
  • Dehydration: Cats that do not consume enough water are more prone to developing urinary crystals. Dehydration can lead to concentrated urine, making it easier for crystals to form.
  • Infections: Bacterial urinary tract infections can create an environment conducive to crystal formation. These infections can alter the urine's pH and encourage crystal development.
  • Genetics: Some cats may be genetically predisposed to develop urinary crystals, especially calcium oxalate crystals. If a cat has a family history of urinary issues, it is at a higher risk.
  • Stress: High-stress levels can negatively impact a cat's overall health, including its urinary system. Stress may contribute to the development of urinary crystals in susceptible cats.

How Do Cat Urinary Crystals Look Like?

Detecting urinary crystals in your cat's urine is not something you can easily do with the naked eye. You will need to consult a veterinarian for a proper diagnosis. When your cat has crystals, they are often microscopic and can't be seen without a microscope. However, the presence of crystals can lead to various symptoms and changes in your cat's urine, which can be indicative of a problem.

How To Tell If Cat Has Crystals In Urine: Common Signs

   a. Discolored Urine: Urine containing crystals may appear cloudy or have a pink, brown, or red tinge. This discoloration is due to the irritation caused by the crystals.

   b. Frequent Urination: Cats with urinary crystals may urinate more frequently and strain while doing so. This is a sign of discomfort and irritation in the urinary tract.

   c. Painful Urination: If your cat cries or seems in pain while urinating, it could be due to the presence of crystals, which can cause discomfort.

   d. Blood in Urine: Hematuria, or the presence of blood in the urine, is a common symptom of urinary crystals. It can make the urine appear reddish or pinkish.

   e. Urinating Outside the Litter Box: Cats with urinary issues may avoid the litter box because they associate it with pain or discomfort. They may urinate in other areas of the house.

   f. Lethargy and Behavior Changes: Cats with urinary crystals might become lethargic, more irritable, or show other behavior changes due to discomfort.

Diagnosing Urinary Crystals in Cats

If you notice any of the signs mentioned above or suspect that your cat may have urinary crystals, it is crucial to consult your veterinarian. Diagnosing urinary crystals typically involves several steps:

Physical Examination: The vet will conduct a physical examination of your cat to assess its overall health and look for any external signs of discomfort.

Urinalysis: A urinalysis is essential to confirm the presence of crystals in your cat's urine. The urine sample will be examined under a microscope to identify the type of crystals and assess other factors like pH and specific gravity.

Blood Work: In some cases, blood work may be necessary to rule out underlying health issues or assess the overall health of your cat's kidneys.

Imaging: In certain situations, your vet may recommend imaging studies like X-rays or ultrasounds to examine the urinary tract and look for any abnormalities or obstructions.

Cultures: If a urinary tract infection is suspected, a bacterial culture may be conducted to identify the specific bacteria and determine the appropriate treatment.

Urinary Stones vs. Urinary Crystals

Urinary stones can be thought of as an advanced stage in the progression of urinary crystals. The formation of urinary stones from urinary crystals represents a more severe condition that poses a greater risk of urinary tract obstruction and associated health complications. It's crucial for cat owners to be aware of the potential development of both crystals and stones and to seek veterinary care if any urinary issues are suspected to ensure timely diagnosis and appropriate management.

How To Treat Crystals In Cat Urine

Once your cat has been diagnosed with urinary crystals, your veterinarian will recommend a treatment plan based on the type of crystals and the underlying causes. Treatment strategies may include:

   a. Dietary Changes: Switching to a special prescription diet formulated to dissolve or prevent the formation of specific types of crystals can be an effective approach. For instance, a diet low in magnesium and phosphorus can help manage struvite crystals, while calcium oxalate crystals may require a diet that reduces oxalate intake.

   b. Increased Water Intake: Encouraging your cat to drink more water is essential for diluting the urine and preventing crystal formation. Some strategies to increase water intake include using a pet water fountain, adding water to wet food, or offering ice cubes.

   c. Medication: In some cases, your vet may prescribe medication to address the underlying causes, such as antibiotics for urinary tract infections or medications to alter urine pH.

Puainta™ Micturition Treatment-Hydrochlorothiazide Tablets

Puainta® Diuretics-Hydrochlorothiazide Tablets.

Helps With
Dysuria; urinary tract obstruction; urinary stone; urethritis; urinary urgency; frequent urination; hematuria

  d. Monitoring: Regular follow-up appointments with your veterinarian will be necessary to monitor your cat's progress and adjust the treatment plan as needed.

   e. Surgery: In severe cases or if there are obstructions in the urinary tract, surgery may be required to remove the crystals or stones.

   f. Environmental Enrichment: Reducing stress in your cat's environment can also help prevent the recurrence of urinary crystals. Providing a comfortable and stress-free environment is important.

Can Cats Pass Urinary Crystals On Their Own?

Yes, in some cases, cats can pass urinary crystals on their own, especially if they are small and not causing a blockage. However, larger crystals or stones may require veterinary intervention for removal or treatment.

Preventing Urinary Crystals in Cats

Prevention is often the best approach when it comes to urinary crystals in cats. Here are some steps you can take to minimize the risk of crystal formation:

Proper Diet: Feed your cat a high-quality, balanced diet that meets its nutritional needs. Consult with your veterinarian to choose the most appropriate diet for your cat's specific circumstances.

Hydration: Ensure your cat has access to fresh, clean water at all times. Consider providing wet food in addition to dry kibble, as it contains more moisture.

Stress Management: Minimize stress in your cat's environment by providing toys, scratching posts, and a comfortable space to relax. This can reduce the likelihood of stress-related urinary issues.

Regular Veterinary Checkups: Routine checkups with your veterinarian can help detect potential issues early, allowing for prompt intervention.

Medication Compliance: If your cat is on medication for any underlying condition, be diligent about administering it as directed by your vet.

Litter Box Maintenance: Ensure the litter box is kept clean and in a quiet, accessible location. Cats are more likely to use a clean box in a comfortable environment.


Crystals in cat urine can be a distressing issue for both you and your feline friend. However, with timely diagnosis, appropriate treatment, and preventive measures, you can help your cat lead a comfortable and healthy life. If you notice any of the signs mentioned earlier or have concerns about your cat's urinary health, don't hesitate to consult your veterinarian. Through proper care and attention, you can ensure your cat's well-being and prevent urinary crystals from becoming a recurring problem in your pet's life.

Leave A Comment
All comments are moderated before being published.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Join The Puainta

Become one of pet parents and get professional tips, immediate product info, updated promotions and discounts, and more surprises from us!