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Signs Of Urinary Problems In Cats

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Inflammation Of The Bladder

How to Prevent Urinary Issues in Cats

Commonly referred to as a urinary tract infection, this problem in cats is more properly called idiopathic cystitis in veterinary terminology. Cystitis just means inflammation of the bladder, while idiopathic means the problem arises spontaneously and without a known cause.

Inflammation is a useful aspect of the bodys immune response, serving to increase blood flow to an injured or infected area to facilitate healing. In the case of cats with urinary tract disease, however, sensory neurons trigger the inflammation of the bladder not because of infection or injury but in response to stress.

Which Cats Are The Most At Risk Of Flutd

FLUTD is thought to affect around 1-3% of cats each year, so is among the more common diseases seen. Because of the diverse nature of the underlying causes, cats of any age, breed and gender can be affected by FLUTD, but in general, the disease is more common in:

  • Middle-aged cats
  • Cats which take little exercise
  • Cats with little or no access outside
  • Cats that eat a dry diet

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.

Read Also: What Can Cause Repeated Urinary Tract Infections

What Further Tests Are Required To Diagnose The Cause Of Flutd

“When clinical signs are persistent or recurrent, a number of tests may be required to differentiate idiopathic FLUTD from the other known causes of urinary tract inflammation.”

When clinical signs are persistent or recurrent, a number of tests may be required to differentiate idiopathic FLUTD from the other known causes of urinary tract inflammation. These diagnostic tests include:

  • Laboratory analysis of a urine sample.
  • Bacterial culture of a urine sample.
  • Blood samples to look for other evidence of urinary tract disease or other systemic disease such as kidney disease.
  • Radiographs and/or ultrasound examination of the bladder and urethra.

How Vets Diagnose Utis In Cats

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Vets diagnose urinary tract infections by collecting a urine sample and examining it for the presence of bacteria. These samples must be collected through a process called cystocentesis, where urine is drawn directly from the bladder with a fine needle. This is necessary to prevent contamination of the urine sample from cups, tables, or any other surface the urine may come into contact with.

After cystocentesis, your veterinarian will run a culture-and-sensitivity test. During this test, the bacteria are isolated and studied. This helps the vet determine the best antibiotics for your cats exact infection.

Occasionally, acute infectionsespecially first-time infections that show up suddenlyare treated with a broad-spectrum antibiotic without trying to determine which bacteria are involved.

Chronic infections, however, almost always require more testing to isolate the type of bacteria causing the problem and identify the best antibiotic.

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Symptoms Of Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease

The most common symptom of FLUTD is your cat urinating outside the litter box . Inappropriate urination often occurs on clothes, bedding, and rugs. Some cats may choose one location, but others may urinate throughout the home.

Your cat may also make very frequent trips to the litter box but only pee small amounts at a time. Other symptoms include vocalizing while urinating and/or the presence of blood in the urine.

If you see your cat trying to use the litter box and producing no urine at all, or just a few small drops, bring them to the vet immediately. This may be a sign of the most severe FLUTD syndrome: urethral obstruction. This occurs more commonly in male cats but can occur in females as well.

What If My Cat Is Not Peeing But Is Acting Normal

Urinary tract issues usually come with behavioral changes, but there are exceptions to this rule. If your cat cant pee but is still eating, sleeping, and playing normally, youre one of the lucky ones. You noticed the issue before it spiraled out of control.

But even without other signs of illness, a cat who isnt peeing is at risk of serious health consequences. Bring your cat to a veterinarian as soon as you can.

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What Is Feline Urinary Tract Disease

Urinary tract disease in cats is a collective term for any inflammation or infection of the bladder and urethra.

This condition is also known as Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease . The most common form of feline lower urinary tract disease is an obstruction in the urethra or cystitis.

FLUTD can be caused by bacterial infections, but this is not always the case. Your veterinarian will need to perform tests to determine the cause of your cats urinary tract disorder depending on the cats health.

Signs That Your Cat Could Have Urinary Issues

Symptoms for UTIs in Cats and Dogs

We cat parents will do anything to make sure our kitties are healthy and happy. We also know that they tend to be predisposed to urinary issues. But sometimes, its hard to tell when theres a problem until its too late.

We at iHeartCats asked Dr. Michel Selmer, DVM, CTCVMP, to tell us about some signs of potential urinary issues in cats. Also known as The Caring Vet, Dr. Selmer is a Certified Veterinary Food Therapist who uses principles from Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine to treat his patients.

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Signs Of A Urinary Problems In Cats

There are a variety of symptoms that your cat might show if he or she is having a urinary tract issue. Very often, the signs you can see at home are signs that he’s having trouble urinating, including an increase in the number of trips he’s taking to the litter box or attempting to urinate for a long time in the litter box.

Some kitties will start to avoid the litter box because it is painful for them to urinate. They might start urinating in places like your closet or the living room rug. Because of the painful sensation, they might lick their urinary opening constantly or dribble urine around the house.

In extreme circumstances, such as if your cat develops a urinary blockage, they might become lethargic or showcase symptoms like vomiting. Their abdomen will often be painful to the touch and can even become distended.

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

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Causes Of Urinary Tract Issues In Cats

A urinary tract infection is caused by bacteria, fungi, or viruses that have worked their way into the urethra . Most UTIs are caused by bacteria and typically affect the urethra and bladder. Left untreated, they can spread to the kidneys, causing a serious infection called pyelonephritis.

UTIs are not especially common in cats, but other urinary tract issues occur often. Your cat’s trouble urinating can have a number of possible causes, some of which can be painful. Urinary conditions can block the flow of urine or inflame parts of the urinary tract. If you’ve been on the hunt for information online, you may have heard about feline lower urinary tract disease , which is a catch-all term for a variety of possible culprits, including UTIs and the following conditions:

  • Urinary stones, which develop in the bladder from microscopic crystals
  • Urethral obstruction, possibly caused by crystalized minerals in the urine, an injury, a tumor, or an abnormality your cat has had since birth
  • Feline idiopathic cystitis , which is inflammation of a cat’s bladder with an unknown cause. This is a common diagnosis in cats less than 10 years old. A veterinarian may diagnose the condition after ruling out other conditions.

Some cats are predisposed to problems of the lower urinary tract, especially cats older than 10 years and those with kidney disease or diabetes.

Why Is It Important To Understand Flutd

Home Remedies For Cats With UTI â Innovet Pet

Inappropriate urination is the number one behavior problem in cats. Many cats are given up to shelters for urinating outside of the litter box. If not properly treated, inappropriate urination can affect the cleanliness/safety of your home and the bond you share with your cat. The good news is that often, this problem is caused by a feline lower urinary tract disease and it is a treatable medical condition.

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Urinary Tract Disease In Cats

Urinary problems can be caused by a number of diseases in a cats urinary tract. This could mean a chronic pain syndrome, a stone or some kind of physical blockage, an injury, or an infection. In fact, even healthy cats sometime have litter box problems when they are under too much stress. Common signs of a urinary problem in cats include frequent urination, straining to urinate, an inability to urinate, urinating outside the litterbox, crying when urinating, and blood in the urine. Depending on the specific problem, treatment ranges from environmental enrichment, to medication, surgery, or feeding a special diet.

Diagnosing Urinary Tract Infection In Cats

When diagnosing a UTI, your veterinarian will begin by taking a complete medical history. The vet may ask about changes in your cats water consumption, frequency of urination, amount of urination, how the urine looks, and any behavioral changes. Your vet will also perform a physical examination to assess the bladder and kidneys, as well as the genitalia and sometimes the rectum. If there is trouble with urination, a neurological exam may be conducted.

Your cats urine and blood will also be tested. Urinalysis is one of the most important and useful tests for diagnosing a UTI. It will look for the presence of certain chemicals or substances in the urine, like sugar, ketones, bilirubin, blood, and protein. A urinalysis is best conducted on a fresh urine sample to prevent inaccurate results.

Based on the findings, additional testing may need to be conducted. In particular, a urine culture may be performed to confirm the presence of an infection and to determine what type of bacteria are involved. Since it often takes 3 to 5 days to obtain final culture results, your veterinarian will likely start your cat on broad-spectrum antibiotics in the interim. The typical duration of antibiotic therapy is 7 to 14 days.

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Causes Of Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease

While anatomical changes, obesity, diet, and genetics can increase the risk of urinary tract infections and bladder stones in cats, feline idiopathic cystitis is a more complicated diagnosis.

Leading studies suggest there is a connection between FLUTD symptoms and stress or perceiving a threat in the environment. Common things that you may not see as stressors might cause a lot of stress for your cat, such as certain scents, noises, and even furniture changes. The source of stress may be more obvious, as wellstray cats outside, new babies, losing a family member, and so on. Were still not sure exactly how these stress events and situations cause physical changes in a cats bladder.

Most, if not all, cases of FIC require some form of environmental management and stress/anxiety relief to resolve the symptoms.

Symptoms Of Kidney Disease In Cats

Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD)

Clinical signs are often related to the severity of the kidney disease and underlying cause. Most cats will exhibit symptoms including:

  • Increased thirst and urination

  • Urinary accidents, incontinence, or inability to urinate

  • Lower back pain

Some cats may show muscle-wasting and signs attributed to high blood pressure, such as vision loss and weakness.

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Heres What Will Happen When You Visit The Vet

If a urinary tract infection is suspected in your cat, the veterinarian will perform a physical examination and will also collect a urine sample to perform a urinalysis .

Most commonly, your veterinarian will insert a sterile needle through the skin and into the bladder to collect urine . This is the best way to get a sample without risking outside bacterial contamination that could complicate interpretation of the results of the urinalysis.

For cats that will not tolerate this, another option is to put your cat into a cage with a clean litter box filled with a special non-absorptive litter and wait for him to urinate.

Depending on your cats symptoms, the vet might instead insert a sterile urinary catheter through the urethra to collect urine. Unsurprisingly, this requires heavy sedation and is usually only done if your cat is being sedated for another reason.

Once the urine is collected, the vet will run tests on it, including viewing it under a microscope to look for bacteria and/or crystals. Alternatively, the veterinarian may send the urine sample off to a laboratory for testing.

A culture and sensitivity test can reveal if bacteria is present and also tell the vet exactly what type of bacteria it is and which antibiotic is most likely to be successful in treating it. This is important because different bacteria respond to different antibiotics.

How Can I Help My Cat With Urinary Problems

If your cat is experiencing urinary problems, the best thing you can do is take them to the vet. Cat urinary problems dont typically resolve on their own, and your cat may need a prescription medication or surgery to get better.

The good news is, there are ways to prevent urinary problems in cats. Making sure your cat gets plenty of water helps prevent urinary problems, and you can also ask your vet about making dietary changes. Preventing urinary problems is especially important as your cat gets older.

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What Are The Causes Of Flutd


One possible cause of FLUTD is the formation of urinary stones, also called uroliths, in the bladder and/or urethra. These are collections of minerals that form in the urinary tract of cats. X-rays or ultrasound are usually needed to diagnose urinary stones. The most commonly seen uroliths are calcium oxalate and struvite . While a special, stone-dissolving diet can be prescribed to dissolve struvite stones, calcium oxalate stones need to be removed surgically. If the diet fails, or if the stones form again, then surgery may also be necessary for struvite stones. In female cats, it may also be possible for a veterinarian to help a cat pass stones by flushing its bladder with sterile fluids or remove small stones directly from the bladder using a cystoscope when the cat is under anesthesia. A veterinarian may then recommend medication or dietary changes after surgery to help prevent recurrence.

Urinary infection

Infection of your cats urinary tract with bacteria, fungi, parasites or possibly even viruses can cause signs of FLUTD. Although bacterial infections are more common than fungal, parasitic or viral infections, they are still relatively uncommon in cats. If an infection is found, your veterinarian will probably look for another disease or problem that may have put your cat at risk of infection. For example, uroliths and diabetes can increase the risk of urinary tract infection.

Urethral obstruction

Feline idiopathic cystitis

Other causes

How Can Genius Cat Litter Help With Urinary Cat Health

Kidney Disease in Older Cats

Did you know that cats that use traditional clay litter have a higher risk of developing urinary tract infections or other health issues?

Imagine if you could give your cat a better alternative than traditional clay litter.

With Genius Litter, you can provide that to your kitty. This new product is here to make life easier for you and your feline friend. What do you think?

Genius Litter is made up of silica gel crystals that change color based on the health of your cats urine, detecting blood, alkaline levels, albumin, and abnormal pH levels.

Another top advantage of Genius Litter is that it is non-clumping which means less scooping. And once-a-month refills mean one bag lasts weeks longer than traditional smelly clay litter.

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What Are Common Symptoms Of Feline Urinary Tract Disease

If you suspect your cat has FLUTD, watch for common symptoms, such as:

  • Inability to urinate
  • Urinating more than usual or in inappropriate settings
  • Avoidance or fear of litter box
  • Strong ammonia odor in urine
  • Hard or distended abdomen
  • Drinking more water than usual
  • Excessive licking of genital area

Its critical that any bladder or urinary issue be treated right away. If left untreated, urinary issues can cause the urethra to become partially or completely obstructed, which can keep your furry friend from urinating.

This is a medical emergency that can quickly lead to kidney failure or rupture of the bladder. It may also be fatal if the obstruction is not eliminated immediately.

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