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Feline Urinary Tract Infections Symptoms

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Where Do You Get The Right Cat Food For Urinary Tract Health

Symptoms for UTIs in Cats and Dogs

The right diet and adequate moisture intake will help to ensure that your cat wont develop a UTI again.

Therapeutic cat food for urinary health is available with a prescription, either through your veterinarian or purchased online. If youd rather not feed a prescription food, many companies now make over-the-counter diets for urinary health. Always consult with a veterinarian before changing your cats diet.

If your cat was previously eating a plant-based or moisture-depleted diet, switching to a species-appropriate diet could be all he or she needs.

Its also possible to use homemade cat food for urinary problems.

Always work with a veterinarian or a veterinary nutritionist when feeding a homemade cat food, especially one intended to address specific health concerns like urinary tract infections and bladder stones.

Also Read: 6 Delicious Homemade Cat Food Recipes

Why Is My Cat Going To The Litter Box Every Few Minutes

Cats with urinary tract infections or other forms of urinary tract disease spend a lot of time going in and out of the litter box. It might look like your cat is constipated, but if you watch closely, youll notice that theres not a lot of moisture in the box.

Frequent trips to the litter box indicate that your cat needs relief. If your cat keeps trying to pee but only a little comes out, its a sure sign that something is wrong. Bring him or her to the veterinarian as soon as possible.

If your cat keeps going to the litter box but nothing happens at all, he or she may be dealing with a complete urethral blockage. In this case, seek emergency veterinary care immediately. Just a few hours of hesitation could be fatal.

What Causes Urinary Tract Infections In Cats

Infection can occur when bacteria enter the bladder through the urethra, which is the tube that transports urine from the bladder outside the body.

Urinary tract infections are more common in older cats, female cats, and cats with diabetes, but any cat can develop a UTI. Urinary tract infections can also cause cystitis, which is inflammation of the bladder.

Some cats that develop bladder infections also have kidney stones or bladder stones. Also called uroliths, bladder stones form from minerals in the urine. Uroliths are solid and often feel like sand or small pebbles, though some can grow to an inch or more in diameter.

Bladder stones can cause a lot of inflammation and damage to the entire urinary tract. Both bladder stones and crystals in the urine can lead to a urethral obstruction, commonly referred to as a urinary blockage.

With a partial urinary blockage, the cat may only be able to urinate small amounts. A complete urinary blockage occurs when urine cannot pass through the urethra at all. Because the urine cannot pass through the urethra, it remains in the bladder, which expands painfully. When it cannot expand any more, the kidneys can no longer process urine, leading to a buildup of toxins in the blood.

This is an extremely dangerous medical emergency. Without prompt treatment, a blocked cat could die. Male cats are at higher risk of experiencing a urinary blockage because their urethra is both longer and narrower than a female cats urethra.

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Feline Idiopathic Cystitis Natural Treatment

There is no known cure for feline idiopathic cystitis , but there are ways to manage the condition and help your cat feel more comfortable. The most important thing you can do is provide your cat with a stress-free environment. This means keeping their litter box clean, providing them with plenty of fresh water, and avoiding any potential stressors in the home . You may also want to try a natural supplement such as L-theanine, which has been shown to help reduce stress in cats.

The inflammation of the urinary bladder is the cause of feline cystitis. The disease is not known to be caused by a disease rather, it is characterized by Idiopathic symptoms. This disease is more common in cats who are fed a dry diet, have long haired coats, are overweight, and show signs of stress. A cranberry extract extract can be used to treat cats with cystitis. In cats, cat hairs are naturally caffeinated because it is an anti-inflammatory and diuretic herb. The slippery elm bark, cornsilk, and marshmallow root are other herbs that can be beneficial. Before you give any medication or herbal remedy to your pet, he or she should be evaluated by a veterinarian.

What Can I Do To Prevent A Uti From Occurring In The Future

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Your veterinarian will let you know if there is anything that can be done to prevent your cats UTI from coming back. There is evidence that specific diets can support lower urinary tract health. It is best to discuss UTI prevention and bladder health with your veterinarian in order to put into action an effective plan.

Contributors: Malcolm Weir, DVM, MSc, MPH Robin Downing, DVM, DAAPM, DACVSMR, CVPP, CRPP

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Cat Food For Urinary Health

There are a ton of cat foods out there specifically designed to promote urinary health. These can be useful if your cats struggling with bladder stones.

Most urinary diets for cats are formulated to prevent and treat crystals rather than urinary tract infections, Dr. Bonk said. They do this by having reduced amounts of minerals like calcium, phosphorus and magnesium. They also work to make the urine slightly acidic to help prevent crystal formation.

Cat Urinary Tract Infections: Symptoms Diagnosis Prognosis And Treatment

Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease is one of the most frustrating syndromes in veterinary medicine. At the least, cats suffer from uncomfortable urination and frequent trips to the litter box. In the worst case, the urethra can become completely obstructed, which, left untreated, results in a painful death.

Although some cats present with urinary crystals, stones, or infection, the majority of cases do not have a readily identifiable cause. Stress is thought to be a trigger in many cases, causing a painful syndrome similar to interstitial cystitis that occurs in people. Regardless of the cause, prompt veterinary care is key to a positive outcome. All cat parents should be aware of the signs of urinary tract disease so they can be evaluated quickly if these symptoms occur.

Symptoms of Urinary Tract Problems in Cats

In its milder forms, cats make frequent trips to the litter box, usually passing small amounts of urine. Cat parents may notice blood in the urine. Some cats start to relive themselves in areas outside the litter box, particularly if they begin to associate the litter box with pain.

Diagnosis of Urinary Tract Problems in Cats

Examination by a veterinarian is needed to determine whether or not a cat is suffering from lower urinary tract disease. Your vet may recommend the following tests:

Prognosis for Urinary Tract Problems in Cats

Treatment for Urinary Tract Problems in Cats

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Treatment Of Urinary Tract Infections In Cats

One important part of treating a UTI is increasing your cats water intake. For general cases of FLUTD, treatment will vary based on the cause of the infection.


Surgery is sometimes required to remove stones from the bladder. A change in diet may help dissolve certain types of bladder stones. If this is possible, your vet will prescribe a special diet that will help break up the stones and keep them from coming back.

Urethral Plugs

Urethral plugs must be removed right away, as they can cause kidney failure in as little as 2-3 days. In this case, your cat will be administered anesthetic and the vet will remove the blockage. Because your cat will have a urinary catheter after this procedure, your cat will be kept overnight or even for a few days. Your vet may prescribe painkillers and a special diet to help prevent blockages from coming back.

Bacterial Infection

This type of infection, typically clears up easily with the use of antibiotics. The vet will determine which type of drug to prescribe based on the type of bacteria present in the urine.


Unfortunately, by the time symptoms start to appear, neoplasia will likely already be at an advanced stage, making removal of the tumor impossible. Fortunately, though, this disease is quite rare in cats, and usually affects older cats. Chemotherapy treatment might help manage the tumors size. Your vet may also prescribe NSAID pain relievers, which can reduce tumor inflammation.

How Is Flutd Diagnosed

Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD)

Because FLUTD has many causes, it can be difficult to diagnose. Based on your cat’s symptoms, your veterinarian will do a physical examination and most likely will run a urinalysis assessing urine pH and concentration and presence of crystals, bleeding, inflammation and infection. If the cause is still not identified, tests such as urine culture, x-rays, blood work and additional urine tests may be recommended.

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Are Weak Legs A Cat Uti Symptom

Urinary tract infections and other forms of urinary tract disease will not paralyze or weaken your cats legs. However, some cats may take on an odd gait or hold their bodies differently due to the pain of FLUTD.

If the disease is left untreated for a day or more, your cat may feel extremely fatigued and might not be able to walk normally.

Treatment Usually Involves Antibiotics And Pain Relief

Your veterinarian may use a catheter and syringe to draw urine from your cats bladder.

Treatment for a urinary tract infection in cats is generally an antibiotic and possibly anti-inflammatory medications and/or pain medications. Exactly which antibiotic is used for cat urinary tract infections depends on the type of bacteria present.

Since a urine culture and sensitivity test takes several days to run, your veterinarian may choose to start your cat on an antibiotic that is effective against the most common bacteria seen with urinary tract infections. If the urine culture shows the bacteria not sensitive to that antibiotic, your vet might switch your cats antibiotic if there has not been a good response to treatment.

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What Is Feline Urinary Tract Disease

Feline lower urinary tract disease is an umbrella term describing bladder and urethra conditions caused by urinary crystals, urethral obstructions, stones, and bacterial infections.

Urethral blockages that build up over time can cause symptoms of FLUTD. These symptoms include bloody urine, painful urination, excessive licking of the genital area, and increased thirst and dehydration.

If left untreated, FLUTD can cause kidney disease, a ruptured bladder, and complete blockage of a cats urinary tract. Sadly, nearly 2/3 of cases are idiopathic, meaning the cause is unknown. FLUTD is more common in male cats compared to female cats, and it can be life-threatening.

Traditional Diagnosis & Treatment: The Subclinical Dilemma

Urinary Tract Disease In Cats

The most common intervention for feline UTIs is a tailored antibiotic treatment plan, specific to the pathogens complicating your cats urinary tract . Additionally, pain medication may also be prescribed depending on the severity of the infection. Culture-based urinalysis has conventionally been used as a diagnostic tool to inform an appropriate antibiotic treatment plan . However, advancements in defining the feline urinary microbiome, complicated by antibiotic resistance are making it necessary for veterinarians to consider contemporary measures to identify and quantify the bacteria in your cats urine.

Particularly, treatment for subclinical feline UTIs has become more clouded as recent research suggests that antimicrobial treatment has no significant impact on health outcomes for these patients . It is worth noting that antibiotics are currently recommended for cats presenting with subclinical UTIs that have historically suffered from recurrent UTIs . Differentiating subclinical UTIs from standard urinary tract infections is consequently difficult but necessary if modern veterinary medicine aims to curb the over-prescription of antibiotics.

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What Is Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease

Feline lower urinary tract disease describes a variety of conditions that affect the bladder and urethra of cats. Cats with FLUTD most often show signs of difficulty and pain when urinating, increased frequency of urination, and blood in the urine. Cats with FLUTD also tend to lick themselves excessively and may urinate outside the litter box, often on cool, smooth surfaces like a tile floor or a bathtub.

While FLUTD can occur at any age, it is usually seen in middle-aged, overweight cats that get little exercise, use an indoor litter box, have little or no outdoor access, or eat a dry diet. Factors such as emotional or environment stress, multi-cat households, and abrupt changes in daily routine may also increase the risk that a cat will develop FLUTD.

Major signs of feline lower urinary tract disease include:

  • Straining to urinate
  • Frequent and/or prolonged attempts to urinate
  • Crying out while urinating
  • Excessive licking of the genital area
  • Urinating outside the litter box
  • Blood in the urine

Note that cats with a urethral obstruction will also show these signs but will pass little or no urine and become increasingly distressed. Urethral obstruction is seen more often in males than female cats due their longer, narrow urethra. A urethral obstruction is an emergency and requires immediate veterinary treatment.

How Long Does It Take For A Uti To Go Away In A Cat

If you suspect your cat has a UTI, schedule an appointment with your vet as soon as possible. They can help determine if your cat’s symptoms are being caused by a UTI or FLUTD. Once UTI treatment begins, symptoms usually start improving after a few days.

Cleaning litter boxes may not be the most glamorous part of cat ownership, but your knowledge of your cat’s litter box routine is a helpful tool in catching urinary tract or bladder issues early.


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Symptoms Diagnosis And Treatment

Common signs of a cat with a urinary tract infection are:

  • Persistent straining in the litter box
  • More frequent trips to urinate, but urine often limited to just a few drops
  • Inappropriate urination in other areas
  • Crying while straining
  • Licking the genital area

A UTI in a female cat may seem like a minor issue, though annoying and needing treatment. But in male cats, a urinary tract problem can easily become life-threatening due to the narrowness of their urethra, which can easily become blocked. A urinary blockage can turn out to be deadly if veterinary attention is not sought immediately. A cat with a urinary blockage will produce no urine and become poisoned by a buildup of toxins.

Vomiting, nausea, lethargy, and loss of appetite in a male cat should never be ignored. A male cat urinating a few drops is slightly better off than one not producing any urine at all, but still requires immediate intervention.

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Diagnosing A Urinary Tract Infection

Feline Urinary Tract Infections

If you notice any cat urinary tract infection symptoms, its important to seek immediate veterinary care. If youve ever had a UTI yourself, you know how painful it can be.

You also dont want to allow a urinary issue to go untreated. Urinary tract infections can progress rapidly, putting your cats healthand in the case of a urinary blockage, his very lifeat risk.

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Recovery And Management Of Utis In Cats

Most cats will fully recover within 7-10 days of developing a urinary tract infection, but they may need to remain on a canned diet for longer. Your vet may check a urine sample after treatment to determine if all the bacteria are gone.

Occasionally, cats will develop repeated urinary tract infections. Cats with recurring UTIs often require more testing to determine the underlying cause.

Preventing Future Utis In Your Cat

Following your vet visit, you can make other changes to your cats life to decrease the likelihood for FLUTD to come back. Environmental recurrence has shown to reduce the recurrence rate by 80 percent, and can also help your cat use her litter box. This includes spending more time with your cat, giving her access to windows, and giving her more toys. You can also increase the number of litter boxes in your home and make sure theyre properly cleaned.

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Antimicrobial Treatment Of Subclinical Bacteriuria

Currently, the clinical relevance of subclinical bacteriuria is uncertain, and its optimal treatment requires clarification.12 In healthy women, and in women and men with comorbidities, asymptomatic bacteriuria is common.92 Several randomised clinical trials and meta-analyses with high numbers of patients have shown that antimicrobial treatment does not benefit asymptomatic individuals but is instead associated with negative effects, such as adverse drug reactions and increased antimicrobial resistance.9395 Therefore, guidelines for antimicrobial use in human medicine contain strong recommendations against screening for and treating asymptomatic bacteriuria. In one study of older cats, subclinical bacteriuria was not adversely associated with survival despite withholding antimicrobial treatment.31

Causes Of Feline Urinary Tract Disease

Urinary Tract Infections in Cats

Since there are multiple causes and contributing factors associated with FLUTD it can be a tricky condition to diagnose and treat. Crystals, stones or debris can gradually build up in your cat’s urethra – the tube connecting the bladder to the outside of your cats body – or bladder.

Other causes of lower urinary tract issues in cats include:

  • Incontinence due to excessive water consumption or weak bladder
  • Spinal cord issues
  • Urethral plug caused by the accumulation of debris from urine
  • Bladder infection, inflammation, urinary tract infection
  • Injury or tumor in the urinary tract
  • Congenital abnormalities
  • Emotional or environmental stressors

Overweight, middle-aged cats who have little to no access to outdoors, eat a dry food diet or do not get enough physical activity are more susceptible to urinary tract issues, although cats of any age can get the condition. Male cats are also more prone to urinary diseases since their narrower urethras are more likely to become blocked.

Using an indoor litter box, emotional or environmental stress, multi-cat households or sudden changes to their everyday routine can also leave cats more vulnerable to urinary tract disease.

If your kitty is diagnosed with FLUTD it is essential to determine the underlying cause. FLUTD symptoms can be caused by serious underlying health issues such as bladder stones, infections, cancer or a blockage.

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