Treating Urinary Tract Infections In Cats
If you see warning signs of a urinary tract infection in your cat, it’s important to contact a veterinarian. The vet will do a physical exam and likely collect a urine sample for urinalysis. If a UTI is the prime suspect, your vet may prescribe antibiotics even before receiving results from your cat’s urine test.
With a vet’s diagnosis in hand, you still play a crucial part in helping treat your cat at home. If your vet has prescribed an antibiotic, you’ll need to make sure to give all the medicine for as long as recommended.
“If your cat is diagnosed with a bacterial condition, it is imperative that you give the medication exactly as instructed,” says Kathryn Primm, DVM at Applebrook Animal Hospital in Ooltewah, Tennessee. “Otherwise, you risk only killing the part of the bacteria that are most susceptible to the drug and leaving the others to reproduce.”
How long your cat is on antibiotics for a UTI is best determined by your vet. If you’re having trouble giving your cat the medicine, let the vet know. Pills or liquids are options, but an unfinished round of antibiotics may give the bacteria a chance to return, and stronger bacteria can also lead to new drug-resistant strains that harm humans and pets.
Urinary issues can be complex, and each cat is different. A trusting relationship with your veterinarian is your very best tool to manage urinary disease in cats.
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.
What Are The Symptoms Of Cat Urinary Tract Infections
There are several symptoms your cat might be experiencing if she has a urinary tract infection, like:
- Pain or discomfort while urinating
- Crying or howling while urinating
- Passing little or no urine
- Frequent urination
- Urinary blockage
- Bladder rupture
If you notice any of these symptoms, reach out to your vet right away. If an untreated UTI progresses to a kidney infection, it could be fatal.
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Cat Food/diet Related To Urinary Tract Infections
If your cat develops recurrent urinary tract infections or if he or she is also diagnosed with bladder stones or crystals, your veterinarian might recommend a diet change and increasing how much water your cat drinks.
Cat food for urinary health addresses the issue in several ways.
There are no diets that treat or prevent urinary tract infections, but your veterinarian may recommend a diet aimed at urinary health based on other findings on the urinalysis. Therapeutic urinary diets are limited in certain minerals to prevent the development of stones and crystals. These diets also address urinary tract health by adjusting your cats urinary pH to help prevent or reverse crystal and stone formation.
The right diet depends on which type of urinary tract disease your cat has.
While they can also help to prevent episodes of bladder inflammation, most diets focus on bladder stones and crystals.
The most common types of bladder stones and crystals found in cats are calcium oxalate and struvite. These crystals can be identified by their shape when viewed under a microscope. The type of bladder stones present can only be identified by sending it to a diagnostic lab after removal.
Luckily, many diets are now formulated to prevent both struvite and calcium oxalate crystals, so its much easier than it used to be to treat appropriately. If bladder stones are present, they will usually have to be removed surgically to prevent a blockage, chronic infections, or discomfort..
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.
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Summary Of Urinary Tract Infection 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.
Keeping The Litter Box Clean
Since the main cause of UTIs in cats is a dirty litter box, its crucial that you stay on top of keeping it clean to prevent the likelihood of infection.
Ideally, cat parents should be scooping their cats litter box daily and cleaning the box every two to three weeks.
If you cant always keep up with cleaning your cats litter box, a self-cleaning box might be the way to go.
We tried the Litter-Robot 3 Connect on our own cats and were instantly obsessed, so we awarded it our Paw of Approval.
Theres also PrettyLitter we also tried this ourselves and gave it our Paw of Approval which is litter that changes color based on your cats urinary health.
Basically, when your cat goes to the bathroom, her litter will turn a different color to indicate whether shes healthy, has an infection or is struggling with stones.
Now that you know what causes UTIs in cats, you can effectively prevent them and keep your BFF nice and healthy.
And if for some reason she still winds up with an infection, take your cat to the vet to get it cleared up ASAP, before it gets serious.
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Can Both Male And Female Cats Get Urinary Tract Infections
Both male and female cats can get urinary tract infections, but they tend to be more common in females than in males. However, UTIs in male cats can become serious very quickly, so its important to consult your veterinarian immediately if you notice any symptoms, regardless of whether your cat is male or female.
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
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Cat Urinary Tract Infection Treatment
The vet will suggest the best course of treatment for your feline friend. Depending on the signs exhibited by your cat, the vet may perform a urinalysis. If the vet suspects a urinary tract infection in your cat, the vet will prescribe a common antibiotic to ease your kittys pain, even before getting the results of urinalysis from the lab.
If the culprit is some bacteria, the vet will prescribe the specific cat urinary tract infection antibiotics. You will have to give it to your cat as instructed by the vet. Otherwise, you will only be killing some bacteria, leaving others to grow and multiply. Only your vet could tell how long you will have to give antibiotics to your cat.
Never leave the antibiotic treatment in the middle, even if your cat seems to be perfectly finenot showing any signs of UTI. Unfinished antibiotic rounds give bacteria a chance to return with more strength, developing antibiotic resistance.
The Importance Of Urinary Tract Health In Cats
Cats may be unable to produce the same amount of urine as they once did as they age. When minerals accumulate in the urinary tract, crystals and stones can form. If you give Royal Canin Urinary SO to your cat, he or she will be able to reduce the amount of minerals in their urine and prevent stone formation.
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What Is A Urinary Tract Infection In Cats
A urinary tract infection in cats is a type of bladder infection.
A urinary tract infection in cats is when bacteria get into the normally sterile urinary bladder, Dr. Bonk told The Dodo.
UTIs in cats can quickly become dangerous if they arent taken care of right away.
If left untreated, urinary tract infections can move into the kidneys, where they can cause serious complications, Dr. Bonk said. UTIs may also lead to the formation of bladder stones, which can block the urethra and lead to rupture of the urinary bladder.
What Are The Chances Of Flutd Coming Back
Urinary tract disease is potentially a lifelong disease. Any cat that has been treated for urinary tract disease runs the risk of contracting it again. Even with the best treatment, some cats may have recurring signs or periodic episodes. Therefore, it’s important to continue your veterinarians food recommendation to manage the disease with a urinary health cat food and watch closely for recurrence of signs and symptoms.
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What Is A Urinary Tract Infection
A urinary tract infection can affect any portion of the urinary tract, including the kidneys, ureters, and bladder, though it most commonly refers to an infection in the bladder. Cats get urinary tract infections when bacteria colonize the bladder.
Bladder infections fit in the broad category feline lower urinary tract disease . Other common manifestations of FLUTD include urolithiasis , crystalluria , urethral obstruction, and feline idiopathic cystitis.
What Are The Symptoms Of Cats With A Uti
Cats may have a pretty predictable bathroom routine, but cats with a UTI might begin exhibiting unusual behavior relating to urination. They might be drinking a lot more water and trying to urinate frequently, but unable to pass more than a little bit of urine at a time. They might also loss control and urinate when theyre not supposed to. All of this can lead to confusion and anxiety that causes them fear or avoid the litter box. Cats with a UTI can also just seem sick, showing signs of lethargy or vomiting.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Interstitial Cystitis
The following are the most common symptoms of IC. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:
- Frequent urination
- Feelings of pressure, pain, and tenderness around the bladder, pelvis, and perineum
- Painful sexual intercourse
For most women, symptoms may worsen around the menstrual cycle. Stress may also intensify symptoms, but stress does not cause symptoms to occur. The symptoms of IC may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Always consult your physician for a diagnosis.
- Medical Editor: Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
Reviewed on 3/29/2021
Bladder inflammation: Inflammation of the urinary bladder. Also called cystitis. Can be due to infection from bacteria that ascend the urethra to the bladder or for unknown reasons, such as with interstitial cystitis. Symptoms include a frequent need to urinate, often accompanied by a burning sensation. As bladder inflammation progresses, blood may be observed in the urine and the patient may suffer cramps after urination. In young children, attempts to avoid the pain of cystitis can be a cause for daytime wetting . Treatment includes avoiding irritants, such as perfumed soaps, near the urethral opening increased fluid intake and, for infectious cystitis, antibiotics. Untreated bladder inflammation can lead to scarring and the formation of stones when urine is retained for long periods of time to avoid painful urination.
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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Questions To Ask Your Doctor
- How do my symptoms indicate interstitial cystitis, instead of another condition, such as an infection or urinary incontinence?
- Do I need any tests to confirm a diagnosis of interstitial cystitis?
- Will I need to see a specialist?
- What are my treatment options? Which treatment is best for me?
- How can I help manage my symptoms? Will diet changes, bladder training, or physical therapy help?
What Causes Urinary Tract Disease
FLUTD is a multifactor disease. There is no single cause of feline urinary tract disease. Veterinarians do recognize that there are components that may contribute to the prevalence of the disease. For more detailed information, always contact your veterinarian. Risk factors include the following:
- Cats more than 1 year of age are most susceptible.
- Overweight cats, lack of exercise.
- History of chronic kidney disease or urinary tract procedures.
- Both male and females cats get the disease with equal frequency, but neutered male cats have a greater risk of life-threatening urethral obstruction from the crystals or stones.
Nutritional Risks: You already know that the food you feed your cat is extremely important to her overall health. But feeding the wrong food can contribute to the development of a urinary tract disease . With FLUTD, crystals or stones form within the urinary tract and cause irritation, pain and possibly blockage. In severe cases, this can lead to kidney damage or may even be fatal if not properly treated.
- An abundance of certain minerals such as calcium, phosphorus and magnesium — often found in grocery store brand cat food — can cause crystals to form in the urine, which sometimes leads to urinary stones.
- Food influences the pH, or acidity, of urine. Urine should be moderately acidic for a healthy urinary tract because its harder for struvite crystals to grow in an acidic environment
Overweight Cats Appear To Be At Greater Risk
Is your cat overweight? If so, being overweight appears to increase the risk of cats developing a urinary tract infection. Anecdotally, this seems to stem from the fact that overweight cats may have more trouble grooming the perineal region , which can allow dirt, dried poop, litter, and other bacterial-laden items to accumulatewhich can cause an infection in the urinary tract.
When monitoring your cat at home, watch for constant attempts to groom back there even if they cant reach itas this can indicate the pain and discomfort associated with a UTI.
The good news is you can help to prevent UTIs from home, especially if your cat is on the larger size. And its simple! Using unscented, pet-safe baby wipes, try to clean the area daily with some gentle washing and wiping. If your cat if long-haired, consider keeping the hair in that area trimmed a bit shorter, to make it less likely for debris to stick to the haircoat in that region.
Urinary Tract Infection And Bladder Pain
Generally, your urinary tract is sterile. However, there are some times when bacteria will slip in through your urethra, which is the connection of your bladder to the outside of your body.
An infection located in the urinary tract can have an effect on any part of the urinary tract, from the kidneys, bladder, urethra, or ureters.
However, a urinary tract infection site is most often found in the bladder- which is known as cystitis. Again, women are at a much greater risk than men to develop the condition of a bladder infection.
Some of the most common symptoms of a bladder infection include the following:
Your physician will collect a urine sample and test it to find out whether or not you are suffering from a bladder infection. These are fairly easy to treat.
Use Advanced And Quality Litter Box
The best way to avoid urinary tract diseases and infections is to have your cat use a quality litter box like Genius Cat Litter.
A litter box should be large enough for your cat to comfortably turn around in and easy for them to access.
The litter should also be scooped out on a daily basis so that waste doesnt get absorbed into the bottom of the pan.
Clean the litter tray with soap and water weekly to reduce any odors or dirt and maintain a cleaner living space.