As pet owners, we often worry about the health of our pets and how well we’re keeping on top of it. Cats are very good at hiding illness or injuries and will often carry on as if nothing bothers them until they suddenly go downhill fast. Urinary issues are common in cats,1 with certain conditions more commonly affecting cats that live indoors and use a litter box.
Because of that, a company called Pretty Litter produced a silica-based cat litter that changes color depending on the contents and properties of your cat’s urine. Here are the seven colors of the (urine) rainbow that Pretty Litter can show you and what they mean for your cat’s health.
The Pretty Litter Colors To Monitor
1. Dark Yellow
If your cat’s Pretty Litter is a dark yellow, it’s likely just normal urine. Cat urine is usually more concentrated than ours and is yellow to dark green rather than light yellow or clear. This is because cats naturally concentrate their urine more than dogs, which is part of why they can suffer from urinary problems!
So, a dark yellow color on Pretty Litter is likely nothing to worry about. In fact, a cat with clear or very light pee could be having problems concentrating its urine, which is often the result of kidney problems.
2. Olive Green
Like the dark yellow hue, an olive or light green Pretty Litter color is likely normal. Cat urine is darker than a canine’s or human’s urine because of how a cat’s kidneys filter out waste and concentrate the urine, but very dark green or cloudy urine is usually a sign of a problem such as an infection.
If you’re concerned about how dark your cat’s urine is, take it to see your vet. Of course, you can always take a picture of it in the Pretty Litter, too, so they can see the color for themselves.
3. Dark Green
Dark green in the Pretty Litter litter box is a color that signals something’s up with your cat’s kidneys or bladder. Pretty Litter will change color to dark green if it detects a higher than normal pH in their urine, which could be the start of a urinary tract infection or the formation of struvite stones (uroliths) in the bladder,2 kidneys, or ureters. If your cat has a dark green Pretty Litter result, take it to the vet’s office for an examination.
A blue result from your cat’s Pretty Litter could also mean it has a high pH. A cat’s urine pH is determined by several factors, including diet and bacteria in the bladder, and it can even change while urine is still being stored inside it. A high pH means a cat’s urine is much more alkaline than it should be and can indicate problems such as thyroid disorder and the issues discussed above.
5. Bright Yellow
Bright yellow in the Pretty Litter could indicate that your cat’s urine is more acidic than it should be, meaning its pH is low. A low pH level could be caused by problems with your cat’s kidneys, such as kidney disease or kidney tubular acidosis. A low pH can also be an early indicator of diabetes, particularly if the diabetes is uncontrolled. Ketoacids can build up in the body and urine due to the effects of diabetes and lower the pH.
Orange in the Pretty Litter can also indicate a low pH, meaning your cat’s urine is more acidic than it should be. Cats are usually better off having a slightly lower pH than normal (around 6.0 to 6.4) to help prevent the formation of struvite stones in the bladder.
However, a low pH can also encourage the formation of calcium oxalate stones. Urine pH is a delicate balance! If you see bright yellow or orange colors in your cat’s Pretty Litter, they should be seen by a vet to rule out possible bladder stones or diabetes.
A red color in the Pretty Litter means that blood is present. This might not mean that your cat’s urine is red, as the litter will also detect blood in the urine that can’t be seen by the naked eye. Blood in the urine can be caused by many factors, including a urinary tract infection, irritation or inflammation of the bladder, blood originating in the kidneys, and bladder cancer.
Any irritation to the bladder or kidneys could potentially cause blood to appear. If you see red in your cat’s Pretty Litter, the best thing to do is take it in to see your vet.
Does Seeing a Color in Pretty Litter Mean My Cat Is Sick?
Because Pretty Litter is made from silica gel (and a secret formula) that absorbs your cat’s urine, it will always display a color after the cat urinates. According to the Pretty Litter website, if your cat’s Pretty Litter is darker yellow or olive green, their pee is not flagging anything problematic, and your cat’s urine is likely okay.
If you do find your cat’s Pretty Litter changes to a more worrisome color, that doesn’t necessarily mean something is wrong. Certain foods can affect a cat’s urine and cause changes to the pH level. It’s always a good idea to get your cat checked out at the vet if you notice a different color than usual in the Pretty Litter, but it doesn’t automatically mean your cat is sick.
Can Pretty Litter Tell Me What’s Wrong With My Cat?
The creators of Pretty Litter state that while knowing what’s going on with your cat’s urine is beneficial, the litter is not a diagnostic tool. They say that Pretty Litter was designed to give you an insight into your cat’s urinary health but that only a vet can diagnose a medical problem with your cat.
And that is true; Pretty Litter could be very useful in picking up any potential problems early and getting your cat checked out by the vet or even monitoring an ongoing health problem. However, the litter can’t tell you what is wrong with our cat, just that it may be time to take it to the vet for a check-up.
How Does Pretty Litter Work?
Pretty Liter combines silica-based litter and a secret formula that allows it to absorb and test your cat’s urine for abnormalities. For example, it can test for pH levels and the presence of blood in your cat’s pee. The litter works with automatic litter cleaners and is available through a monthly subscription.
Pretty Litter is a company that aims to inform owners about their cat’s urinary health. The clever system uses secret testing technology that changes the color of the litter when it absorbs a cat’s urine. There are several colors the litter can change to, and it can detect a change in pH levels and the presence of blood in the pee.
While monitoring your cat’s urinary health is helpful, Pretty Litter is not a diagnostic tool and can only alert you that your cat needs a trip to the vet to investigate.
Featured Image Credit: Pretty Litter