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U.S. Water Supplies Linked to Feline Urinary Problems

A pet insurance company sees more problems in male cats where hard-water ratings are highest.

Jackie Brown  |  Nov 9th 2016


Editor’s note: Have you seen the new Catster print magazine in stores? Or in the waiting area of your vet’s office? This article appeared in our September/October 2016 issue. Click here to subscribe to Catster and get the bimonthly magazine delivered to your home.

Could there be a link between your area’s water supply and your cat’s urinary problems? Pet-insurance provider Trupanion recently analyzed data from its claims to test a hypothesis that drinking water could be a factor for common urinary issues, including urinary tract infections, cystitis (inflammation of the bladder), urinary obstruction, and crystalluria (crystals in the urine).

Using data and reports on drinking water quality, Trupanion compared its claims data for urinary health conditions to U.S. regions identified by the Environmental Protection Agency as having higher hard-water ratings.

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According to a report posted in Trupanion’s blog, “Male cats specifically, living in areas given an ‘extremely hard water’ rating by the EPA, had a much higher incidence of urinary health issues — especially crystalluria — and were three times more likely to have urinary complications compared with male cats living in areas with ‘slightly hard, ‘hard’ or ‘very hard’ water.”

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Photo by Gina Cioli / Lumina Media

Although Trupanion’s analysis of its claims data has not been published in a peer-reviewed journal, it’s worth consideration and does seem to suggest at least a link between hard water and urinary problems in male cats.