Feline Diseases that Cause Cat Bladder Control Problems

There are various feline diseases that cause bladder control problems. Incontinence is a urinary condition, in which the cat is unable to control urination. The causes for incontinence in cats may include physical dysfunctions in the bladder or urethra, urinary tract infections or neurological conditions that control urinary function.

Description of the Bladder

The bladder is a muscular reservoir that stores urine produced by the kidneys. Incontinent cats may leak urine because they lack muscle tone in the muscle that routinely expels urine. The urethral sphincter is the muscle that normally allows urine to pass through the urethra. An irritation or inflammation of the bladder muscle that expels urine can cause incontinence in cats.

Symptoms of Bladder Control Problems

An incontinent cat may leave a residual amount of urine where it has been resting, or the cat may constantly dribble urine while walking around the house.

Congenital Conditions and Bladder Control Problems

Ureters normally empty urine into the bladder. A malformed urinary system, such as ectopic ureters, may empty urine somewhere other than the bladder. The urine may be emptied into the uterus. Cats may be born with an abnormally developed bladder, which can also cause urinary problems.

Diagnosis of Bladder Control Problems

Your veterinarian can diagnose urinary disorders by using the following tests and procedures:

  • Medical history
  • Physical examination
  • Blood and urine tests
  • Contrast x-rays of the urinary tract
  • Ultrasonography
  • Biopsies
  • Cystoscopy (This is a procedure in which a tube with a small camera is inserted into the urethra for diagnostic purposes.)

Bladder Infection

Bacterial cystitis is an infection of the bladder caused by bacteria, and it may cause the following symptoms:

  • Frequent urination
  • Urinating in inappropriate places
  • Painful urination
  • Possible blood in the urine

A bacterial culture of the urine and routine urinalysis are tests that are used to diagnose cystitis. The veterinarian can prescribe antibiotics for the infection.

Feline Idiopathic Cystitis

Feline idiopathic cystitis is an inflammation of the cat's bladder, but the cause is unknown. Some predisposing factors for this condition include:

  • Diet
  • Stress
  • Genetics
  • Viral infection

Symptoms may include frequent urination, distress when urinating and urination in inappropriate places. It is important for cats with this condition to routinely have access to fresh clean water.

Kidney Infection (Pyelonephritis)

Pyelonephritis is a bacterial infection of the kidneys, which may cause the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Decreased appetite
  • Excessive thirst
  • Pain around the kidney area
  • Excessive urination

Tests that may be used to diagnosis pyelonephritis include:

  • Bacterial culture of the urine
  • Urinalysis
  • Possible contrast x-rays
  • Ultrasonagraphy

The veterinarian may prescribe antibiotics to treat the infection.

Neurological Conditions

Neurological diseases or injuries associated with the brain or spine may affect the major nerve that connects to the bladder, which can cause bladder control problems. The bladders of cats with neurological problems may become too full and stretch out, and the cats may eventually develop incontinence. Bladder control problems may be caused by a condition in cats called dysautonomia, in which the nervous system does not function properly, and the cat can experience incontinence. Hormonal imbalances may also cause bladder control problems. Diabetes in cats may cause increased urination, which can make a problem with incontinence worse.

Treatment for Bladder Control Problems

Your veterinarian can prescribe medications to help treat bladder control problems. Specific medications can be ordered to target certain nerves or weakened bladder muscles.