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How Do Cats Get Urinary Infections

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Antimicrobial Treatment Of Catheter

Symptoms for UTIs in Cats and Dogs

Prophylactic antimicrobial treatment is never warranted and no evidence supports routine urine cultures after catheter removal. The 2019 ISCAID guidelines recommend bacterial cultures only in cats with ongoing clinical signs of FLUTD after the catheter has been removed.12

Cats with indwelling urinary catheters and clinical signs of UTI may be difficult to identify as many will have been catheterised for signs of FLUTD initially. Routine cytological evaluation of urine is not recommended as haematuria, pyuria and bacteriuria can occur in the absence of cystitis. Urine cultures should be performed in all cases with suspected bacterial cystitis, in the presence of fever and bacteraemia, and if a sudden change in urine character is seen.12 Because treatment is more likely to be effective if the catheter is removed prior to treatment, the catheter should be removed if possible and urine for culture should be collected by cystocentesis. If the catheter must remain in place, it should be replaced and urine for culture should be obtained through the new catheter.12

Warning Signs Of Urinary Tract Infections

Because you live with your favorite feline, you are the perfect person to notice changes in behavior. You know your cat’s normal litter box habits better than anyone. Possible signs of a UTI include:

  • More frequent visits to the litter box and/or more frequent attempts to urinate during a visit
  • Straining to urinate
  • Crying out, whining, or loud meows
  • Inappropriate urination
  • More frequent licking of the genitals
  • Especially strong urine odor

What Are Urinary Tract Infections

Sometimes, urinary tract conditions can be associated with other diseases, including chronic kidney disease and hyperthyroidism. However, in many cases, there doesnt seem to be an underlying cause at all in this case, the technical diagnosis would be feline idiopathic cystitis .

Feline lower urinary tract disease, or FLUTD, is the umbrella term for urinary tract conditions in cats. A feline urinary tract infection is typically characterized by painful and difficult urination. Urinary tract infections in cats can range from mild to fatal, so it is important that you consult a vet right away if you suspect your cat is suffering from a UTI.

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Tips For Cat Uti Prevention

It’s important to speak to your vet about the best diet and prevention plan for your cat, as age and health all play a role. Your vet may recommend a specific food, such as wet food or a renal diet, and feeding schedule for UTI prevention. Feeding your cat a high-quality diet is one of the best ways to promote overall good health, including urinary tract health.

Additional steps that may not only aid in preventing UTIs, but will also keep your cat healthy in general include:

  • Increase your cat’s water consumption. Make sure their water bowl is clean and filled with fresh water at all times. You can also encourage your cat to drink more by setting up multiple water bowls around the house, ensuring all water bowls are wide and not too narrow, adding a small amount of chicken broth to the water or purchasing a cat drinking fountain.
  • Place litter boxes in quiet areas of the house where your cat feels comfortable.
  • Keep litter boxes clean. Be sure to scoop them twice a day and change the litter at least once a week.

What Are Cat Urinary Tract Infections

How Do Cats Get Urinary Tract Infections

A cat UTIis an infection of the cats urinary tract. Infections affecting the lower portion of the urinary tract are known as feline lower urinary tract disease .

Most urinary tract infections in cats occur when the bacteria Escherichia coli enters through the cats urethra and settles into the cats bladder . If left untreated, it leads to incontinence, painful urination, and other urinary tract issues.

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Cats Can Get Urinary Tract Infections

Your cat has started to display some odd behavior lately. Your previously house-trained cat is now urinating in your bathtub or on your bed. Also, your cat strains as if constipated, just sitting there in the litter box waiting and repeatedly scratching.

Not all owners can recognize these key signs of a urinary tract infection . Having worked at a veterinary hospital, I have come across many cats that were thought by their owners to be constipated, or worse, just simply displaying behavioral issues.

Cats that pee in the bathtub or on the bed are doing so for a very specific reason: their trip to the litter box has turned unpleasant. Your cat has tried to urinate in the litter box, but it turned out to be too painful, and therefore, he has started associating the litter box with something negative. To a cat, avoidance is the best solution, so he will try any other place to see if it will, in any way, ease the discomfort.

Another common sign of UTI in a cat is insistently licking the genital area. Cats tend to lick their wounds, so licking their genital area is the way they try to âhealâ the burning sensation they are feeling.

If you have happened to find some occult blood around the home, it is very likely coming from the cat. Blood may appear as normal red drops, or it may have a pinkish tint if it is mixed with the urine.

Whats The Treatment For Cat Urinary Tract Infections

Treatment for cat urinary tract infections requires antibiotics to fully clear out the bacteria in your pets bladder.

Most UTIs will respond to antibiotics, Dr. Bonk said. Your veterinarian may do a urine culture in order to determine the best antibiotic to use.

If your cat developed stones or crystals, you might need to have them removed .

Occasionally, urinary stones may need to be removed surgically, Dr. Bonk said.

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Feline Idiopathic Cystitis And Stress

Feline Idiopathic Cystitis is the final category under the FLUTD umbrella of conditions. FIC is essentially what is left behind after infection, urinary crystals, bladder stones, and tumors, have all been ruled out as causes.

FIC is also sometimes called Pandora Syndrome, because its underlying causes have been found to be multifactorial, but largely associated with environmental stressors. The stresses we may not even consider stressful ourselves. This can include interactions with other pets in the home, a home environment that is overstimulating or one that is too understimulating.

Not every cat will develop signs of FIC during times of stress. It is thought that these cats that are poorly wired to handle stress have responses different from other cats in their nervous and hormonal systems, that leads to inflammation in the bladder wall. When the bladder wall becomes leaky, urine can penetrate the tissues, causing further inflammation and pain.

Written bySmall Doorâs medical experts

Bacterial urinary tract infections are a fairly common condition among cats. While UTIs are usually relatively easy to diagnose and cure, they can develop into a more serious condition if left untreated. Urinary tract infections can occur in both young and old cats.

In This Article

Summary Of Urinary Tract Infection In Cats

How to Prevent Urinary Issues in Cats

Urinary Tract Infections in cats are a fairly common condition, but can become serious if left untreated. They can sometimes be asymptomatic, but common symptoms include frequent, difficult or painful urination, or urinating in places outside the litterbox. Usually UTIs can be easily treated with antibiotics, but if theyre caused by bladder stones, these will also need to be treated. To help prevent recurrent UTIs, keep your cat at a healthy weight, ensure they get enough water and speak to your vet about whether dietary changes could help.

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How Do Cats Get Utis

As mentioned, cats get UTIs from bacterial infections in their bladder or urethra. More rarely, UTIs can be caused by fungal infections. Other causes of cat UTIs include:

  • A suppressed immune system in cats with other concurrent illnesses, like diabetes, Cushings syndrome, or cancer
  • Loss of urethral tone, ectopic ureters, or conditions where the bladder fails to completely empty
  • Recent placement of a urinary catheter for any reason

Common Symptoms Of Bladder Infections In Cats

Cats like dogs with UTIs tend to make more frequent toilet trips. You might then notice any of the following:

  • Blood in your cats urine
  • Your cat straining to urinate or crying out in pain while urinating
  • An increase in the licking of the urinary opening

Some may eventually avoid using the litter box altogether because theyve begun to associate it with the pain caused by the UTI. They may then choose to urinate in other places around the home. Popular hotspots include bathtubs, sinks, and on clean laundry.

Cats, particularly males, may also vomit and appear more lethargic as the problem worsens. Cats will display similar symptoms whether or not the UTI is acute or chronic. Some cats with chronic UTIs, however, may show no signs of disease.

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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.

Why Is My Cat Lying In The Litter Box

Home Remedies For Cats With UTI  Innovet Pet

If your cat has been lying in the litter box a lot lately, it might point to stress or illness, but its not always a sign of urinary tract issues. In addition to lying in the litter box, cats with UTIs or other urinary problems will strain, lick at their genitals, hide, meow in the box, and look restless.

If your cat is lying in the litter box and also exhibiting these behaviors, theres a good chance that a UTI or other urinary tract issue is to blame.

Among cats with urinary tract problems, this behavior appears to result from a mix of stress and, perhaps, a need to stay in the box just in case something changes. Imagine feeling like you had to urinate for hours but couldnt get everything outwouldnt you stay near the toilet?

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What Is A Cat Uti

A cat UTI is an infection in the urinary bladder that most often occurs when bacteria travel up the urethra and into your cats bladder, growing and reproducing to cause the infection. A UTI is one of several diseases of the lower urinary tract in cats grouped into a broader category of Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease, or FLUTD. FLUTD can be caused by other urinary conditions including uroliths , urethral obstruction, or Feline Idiopathic Cystitis.

While UTIs are painful and uncomfortable, the good news is that theyre not contagious and often easily curable with antibiotics. Lets find out how you can prevent, identify, and treat a UTI in your feline friend.

What Are Cat Uti Symptoms

UTIs happen when bacteria travels through the urethra into the bladder, where it grows and reproduces to cause an infection. Certain behaviors and signs may indicate your cat has a UTI:

  • Straining to urinate. One of the first symptoms you’ll likely notice is your cat struggling to release urine in the litter box. Not only is it painful, but it can also be dangerous because they’re not ridding themselves of toxins.
  • Frequent trips to the litter box. Since they’re not releasing much urine at once, you’ll see your cat repeatedly making trips to their litter box.
  • Painful urination and licking of genitals. The pain and struggle to urinate is sometimes so severe that your cat will lick their genital area to soothe the irritation. Unfortunately, this worsens the problem as the area becomes raw and urination becomes even more painful. When the problem gets to this point, your cat may cry out in pain.
  • Bloody, discolored or unusual smelling urine. Discolored or blood-tinged urine is an extremely common symptom of UTIs, especially in female cats. Urine with an abnormal smell can also be a sign, though you may not be able to tell depending on the type of litter in your cat’s box.
  • Relieving themselves outside the litter box. While urinating in another area doesn’t always indicate a UTI, take notice of it if your cat is showing other signs of infection.

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Warning Signs Of Feline Urinary Tract Infections

  • Straining to urinate: Feline idiopathic cystitis can lead to straining while urinating, and can eventually lead to more severe situations such as the formation of bladder stones or a urethral plug. Male cats are more at risk to develop a urethral plug this is a life-threatening condition that causes a cat to lose the ability to urinate.
  • Frequent attempts to urinate: Cats with FLUTD have a frequent urge to urinate, but can only pass a small amount each time.
  • Painful urination: If your cat cries out while urinating, this is a tell-tale sign that she may be in pain.
  • Licking the genital or abdominal areas: This is a way for cats to soothe the pain of a urinary tract disease.
  • Urinating Outside the Litter Box: Take note if your cat is urinating in places other than litter box, especially on cool surfaces like tile or a bathtub.

Reducing Other Risk Factors

How do you get a UTI (urinary tract infection)?
  • 1Choose an unscented, non-clumping litter. Litters that are scented and that clump for scooping may also increase your cats risk of developing a UTI, as your cat may be put off by them and urinate less frequently. To eliminate this risk factor, replace your cats litter with an unscented, non-clumping litter.XResearch source
  • Keep the amount of litter to only 1 inch to 2 inches . Cats that get UTIs prefer smooth surfaces, such as tile and bathtubs, so you may even want to keep a litter box with no litter in it at all to ensure that your cat will use its box.
  • Make sure to keep the litter boxes clean by scooping them daily and doing a complete litter box change every week. This will help to reduce the bacteria in the box and encourage your cat to use the box as well. During your weekly litter change, clean your litter box with mild soap and water rather than any harsh chemicals that might repel your cat.
  • 2Place multiple litter boxes in your home. Cats that are prone to UTIs may need urinate frequently, and it is important to make sure that they have plenty of options, or they might go on the floor or your furniture. You should have 1 more litter box than the total number of cats in your home.
  • For example, if you have 3 cats, then you should have 4 litter boxes in your home.
  • Place the litter boxes in quiet corners of your home to ensure that your cat will not be disturbed while it uses the box.XResearch source
  • Use ball toys to give your cat something to chase.
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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.

    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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    What Kind Of Antibiotics Can I Give My Cat For Uti

    If a cat has never had a urinary infection before, then it is acceptable to put him on a course of broad spectrum antibiotics that kill a wide range of bacteria commonly found in urine. Typically, these antibiotics are penicillins, such as amoxicillin, clavulanic acid, cephalosporins, or sulphonamides.

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