Cat urinary problems begin when bacteria builds up in the bladder. The bacteria (usually e. Coli) replicates in the warm, dark conditions inside the bladder and spreads to the rest of the cat urinary tract.
Treat UTIs Promptly
If left untreated, a bladder or urinary tract infection can spread to the kidneys and cause pyelonephritis, a condition that leads to kidney impairment. An infected kidney or ureter can lead to sepsis, a bacterial infection of the blood.
Untreated urinary tract infections can also result in a urethral blockage, a potentially fatal condition that prevents urine from passing from the body. Urethral obstructions are serious and require immediate veterinary treatment.
Symptoms of Feline Urinary Tract Infections
- Straining or pain while urinating: If your cat passes very little urine, strains or cries out while urinating, suspect a UTI. When cleaning out the litter box, take note of the size and quantity of urine that your cat is passing.
- Incontinence: A UTI can cause temporary incontinence. Your cat may carry an odor of urine or lick at her genitals frequently.
- Blood in the urine: Hard to spot in the litter box, but a UTI will often add streaks of blood to your cat's urine.
- Urinating outside the litter box: A UTI may cause your cat to urinate outside her litter box, often on smooth surfaces like bathtubs and tile floors.
- Excessive thirst: Monitor your cat's water intake. Any unusual increase should be reason for concern.
Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease
Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD) is a blanket term for a collection of conditions that affect the feline urinary tract. Stress, boredom and dietary inconsistencies are associated with FLUTD in cats, as are diet, environment, weight and age.
A common cause of feline urinary tract infections is the presence of mineralized stones or crystals in the urine. Crystals are hard and irritating to the bladder, leaving your cat more vulnerable to infection. Stones are also often responsible for dangerous urinary blockage.
Preventing Bladder Stones
Special stone-dissolving foods are available by prescription through your veterinarian. Commercial foods that promote urinary tract health may offer benefits to UTI-prone cats as well.
Urinary Tract Health Tips
- Provide unlimited fresh, filtered water
- Switch to a high quality canned food. The higher moisture content reduces the concentration of the urine.
- Feed smaller amounts of food on a more frequent basis.
- Do not free feed.
- Keep litter boxes clean and accessible to encourage regular use.
- Reduce stress and increase environmental stimulation.
Feline urinary tract infections are not serious unless they are left untreated. Learn to recognize the signs of an infection and treat it immediately for the best outcome for your cat.