Cranberries are tasty and full of vitamins that can help keep your pets healthy. Just like how they have health benefits for dogs in small amounts, your feline furbabies also enjoy these same benefits, particularly in their urinary tract.
Cranberries are said to be effective in preventing urinary tract infections. But just how effective is this claim?
To separate fact from myth, we need to look at what Cranberries bring to the table and how UTIs develop in cats.
Benefits of Cranberries
Cranberries are fruits high in fiber, making them great for promoting healthy digestion. Cranberries are also a good source of vitamin C, an antioxidant needed for keeping the body’s cells healthy.
When it comes to preventing urinary tract infections, a 2007 study has shown that certain compounds in Cranberries can prevent UTI-causing strains of E. Coli bacteria from sticking to your pet’s urinary tract, where urine gathers and exits the body. Additionally, Cranberries can also assist in treating UTIs to a certain extent by balancing the acidity levels of your cat’s urine.
This doesn’t mean that pet parents can give Cranberries to their feline furbabies and call it a day. This fruit is not a be-all, and end-all solution after all, and UTIs can happen in different ways.
How a UTI happens and its symptoms
A UTI can happen in 2 ways: infections from bacteria and through blockages.
Infections happen when bacteria gather and stick to your cat’s urinary tract. The most common types are E. Coli strains, which account for half of the bacterial infections, according to a 2021 study. Severe cases can cause your furbaby to cry in pain while urinating, but they can also frequently urinate in small amounts.
Aside from E. Coli, there are other causes of UTI like Staph or Strep type bacteria. These other two types can cause additional symptoms like bloody urine.
Blockages stem from minerals in the urine clumping up and forming crystals or even stones in severe cases. These can irritate the urinal tract and cause bloody urine, similar to bacterial infections. It’s recommended to have your vet do tests and x-rays to diagnose these cases properly.
Prevention and management
According to Dr. Emma Bermingham of AgResearch, giving water to cats is one of the main preventive measures against UTIs. “Cats evolved from desert-dwelling animals and as such have a low desire to drink water and can concentrate their urine. For these reasons, cats are more susceptible to developing urinary stones,” she said.
While it’s true that Cranberries aid in preventing bacteria from causing infections, it’s not the only solution. The two important things pet parents need to do include:
– Giving your cats a balanced wholesome diet
– Mixing water with your furbaby’s kibble if you serve them dry food
That way, the risk of infections by blockages in the urinary tract are lessened.
Keeping your cats healthy and hydrated will always be the most effective prevention method. As much as possible, give them enough water whenever you can.
While Cranberries effectively prevent certain bacterial infections, it’s always best to feed your cat specially formulated pet food with this fruit as one of its ingredients. That way they get the fruit’s maximum benefits in just the right amounts.