A Guide to Feline Bladder Infection

One of the most uncomfortable health conditions for cats is a feline bladder infection. You can tell if your pet suffers from a bladder infection if it often attempts to urinate, but little or no actual urine is released. Other signs of a bladder infection in your cat are excessive licking of the genital area, blood in the urine, or attempts to urinate outside the litter box, often on smooth, cool surfaces such as a linoleum floor.

Idiopathic Lower Urinary Tract Disease

Cats with bladder infections often display almost exactly the same symptoms as cats with other lower urinary tract diseases. Because of this, it is very difficult for veterinarians to diagnose exactly what is causing the disease, even with extensive testing. Over half of all cats taken to the vet for urinary tract problems are diagnosed with Idiopathic Lower Urinary Tract Disease, which is a term for a problem with the lower urinary tract, the cause of which cannot be determined. If you have a cat with Idiopathic Lower Urinary Tract Disease, there are special diets for the cat that will lower the probability of further blockage, but these do not lower the probability of contracting the condition itself.

It has been speculated that, like interstitial cystitis in humans, some Idiopathic Lower Urinary Tract Disease cases can be linked to psychological stress. Cats are more likely to develop Idiopathic Lower Urinary Tract Disease if they have recently been through stressful events, such as a move to a new house, or severe weather. Most cases of Idiopathic Lower Urinary Tract Disease resolve themselves within a short time even if left untreated, but if the problem is truly due to a bladder infection, rather than psychological stress, it will take much longer to heal without treatment.

Causes of Bladder Infections

A bladder infection is when a parasitic or otherwise harmful species of bacteria infests the bladder. These usually hurt the bladder by creating an imbalance in the types of minerals present, which can lead to microscopic crystals that can irritate or tear tissue, or clump together to make a urinary stone or urethral plug. These are clumps of excess minerals, cells, and other material that did not get flushed out of the body in time before they became solid. Urinary stones and urethral plugs can then cause blockage in the urethra, which, if the blockage is complete, can be life threatening. Bacterial bladder infections can also cause urethral blockage by infesting the bladder right where it connects to the urethra, which leads to an autoimmune response that swells the area. If you suspect that your cat's urethra is blocked, seek veterinary help immediately.

It is difficult to treat bladder infections in cats, so the best treatment is to take precautions to prevent future infections. A healthy atmosphere and natural food can reinforce the cat's immune system. Get cat food with a low ash content. Make sure to regularly clean your cat's litter box to promote a hygienic atmosphere.