Due to their nutritional qualities cranberries and cranberry juice are marketed as so-called “super-fruits”.
They are extremely rich in vitamins and minerals, but the quality cranberries are often sought after for is their effectiveness in reducing the occurrence of urinary tract infections and bladder infections.
Cats also suffer from urinary tract infections, which are most likely to occur after psychologically stressful events. Chances are that your cat has a urinary tract infection (UTI) if they suffer while urinating, urinate outside their usual places, and have frequent, abnormal urination.
In times where veterinarian care is not always an option people may turn to traditional home remedies such as cranberry juice to treat a simple urinary tract infection.
Can I Give My Cat Cranberry Juice? Answer: Only Unsweetened.
Cranberry juice is an affordable home remedy, but should be discussed with a veterinarian beforehand. The problem with providing your cat with the cranberry juice home treatment is that there are so many urinary problems that have the same symptoms you risk misdiagnosing. Urinary problems can become serious health issues, so it is best to see a veterinarian as soon as possible. Early treatment may save you bills in the long run.
If you are certain that your cat is suffering from a UTI, then pure, sweetened, unmixed cranberry juice might be the key to helping them overcome it. Cranberry juice contains a component that prevents bacteria from attaching to the bladder and urethra to start infections. It also ensures less crystal build up on the walls of the bladder and urethra.
Urinary tract infections
A cat will not receive any nutritional benefit from cranberry juice, other than its bladder and urethra cleansing effects. As pure carnivores they rely on their prey for all their nutritional needs and would not consume cranberries in the wild. Therefore, it is important to check if your cat does indeed have a urinary tract infection, otherwise there is no benefit in offering them cranberry juice.
If your furry friend has a urinary tract infection you may witness insistent grooming of that area accompanied by meowing. The first signal is usually the discomfort they feel during urination and this often leads them to urinate in inappropriate places, like the carpet or your bed. Blood in the urine, identifiable by traces of red or pink in the kitty litter, is usually an indicator of a full-fledged urinary tract infection.
Most Cranberry Juice Contains Sugar
The main problem is that most cranberry juice contains a lot of sugar and very little actual cranberries. Many popular brands mix it with large quantities of grape or apple juice and add a lot of sugar to smoothen the taste. Sugar is not a part of the feline diet and compromises their immune system. Unfortunately cats usually dislike the taste of unsweetened cranberry juice so you will have a harder time getting them to drink it.
How to Use
If you discuss the treatment with your veterinarian he or she can suggest a method that best fits your cat. A good tip is mix the pure cranberry juice into their food so the taste is disguised by tasty cat food.
Can I give my cat Cranberry Pills?
Cranberry pills can be given to cats, although it should ideally be discussed with a veterinarian beforehand. The advantage of the pills is that do not contain as much sugar as the readily available commercial cranberry juices and they definitely contain cranberries. Pills can be crushed and fed with their meals. They work best as preventative measure for cats that have frequent urinary tract infections. Cranberry extract is also available in a powder form that is easy to mix into cat food. Both the pills and the powder extract are available in most drugstores and pharmacies.
Felines and humans experiencing a urinary tract infection are encouraged to drink lots of water. Consuming more water reduces the concentration of the toxins and irritants produced by the bacteria. The water provided should also be clean because dirty water may increase the concentration of bacteria in the bladder. Increased hydration is very important to help combat urinary tract infections. If your cat suffers from urinary tract infections frequently it may be useful to buy a pet fountain. Cats love to drink running water and the fountain may encourage them to drink more. Feeding your clawed companion some wet food will also help increase his fluid intake.
Cranberries for UTI
The components of cranberries certainly help against urinary tract infections by preventing crystallization and the adhesion of bacteria to the bladder and urethra walls, but should not be seen as a substitute for veterinary care. A veterinarian should be consulted in any case where your cat has urinary problems since the causes can be so varied and some of them can be very serious. In the case that is is diagnosed as a urinary tract infection, cranberry products will help with the treatment, but remember that water is just as important in combating the infection.