Everything You Need to Know About Cat Urinary Problems From UTIs to Kidney Disease

Kitten in litter box
expert or vet photo
vet verified Dr. Joseph J. Wakshlag, DVM Associate Professor of Clinical Nutrition

Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine Ithaca, NY

There are a lot of health issues that can result in a cat being unable to go. Check here for what might be behind your kitty's blocked bladder.

Cat urinary problems can be quite common, unfortunately for both cats and their pet parents. A blockage in the urethra, an infection of the urinary tract, or some other problem can affect a cat's ability to relieve itself comfortably.

If you notice that your cat is having difficulty urinating, take a look at some of these helpful articles -- chances are your cat is confronting one of these all-too-common ailments.

8 Reasons for Cat Incontinence and Out-of-Litter Box Messes

From diabetes to old age, this article covers all the reasons that might cause a cat's bathroom troubles. Treatment will depend on the cause, so start by finding out what's causing your cat's litter box woes.

Dealing With Cystitis

Cystitis in Cats

Also known as lower urinary tract disease, this common condition is typically caused by a diet of only dry food with a lot of minerals, causing a blockage. Other causes like high stress or living only indoors may also increase the likelihood of this condition. To learn the warning signs of cystitis and how to treat it, look no further.

5 Ways to Prevent Feline Cystitis

Cystitis is a big problem, but one that can be avoided. This article outlines a few key ways to prevent the buildup of mineral deposits in your cat’s urinary tract. Follow these steps (provided your vet signs off on them) and enjoy a cystitis-free life.

The Best Cat Cystitis Treatments and Preventatives

These targeted treatments and preventative measures will help set your cat right again. If you think your cat is at risk, ask your vet about putting your cat on one of these meds to help them return to a healthy bathroom routine.

Dealing with Urinary Tract Infections

Cat and Dog UTI

Similar to cystitis, urinary tract infection is a complication that affects cats and dogs all over the world, causing them great amounts of discomfort. To better understand this condition, take a look at this series of articles.

Food to Treat Cat and Dog Urinary Tract Infections

If yours is one of the thousands of cats suffering from a UTI, there is a good chance that the cause is dietary. Here are a number of specially formulated foods designed to help resolve and prevent a urinary tract infection.

Other Feline Urinary Problems

Diets for Dog and Cat Urinary Stones

A buildup of calcified deposits in the bladder is one of the more common reasons a cat’s urinary tract may become blocked. Luckily, there are a bunch of dietary strategies for protecting your cat from this type of mineral accumulation. For instance, Hill's Prescription Diet s/d Urinary Care Cat Food is often recommended by vets to prevent the formation of bladder stones. This article has a few helpful tips on how to prevent urinary stones without jeopardizing the nutrients in your cat's diet.

Feline and Canine Kidney Disease

One of the more serious causes of urinary obstruction, kidney disease, can affect any cat, and if it does, it can be life-threatening. Written to help you better detect the symptoms of kidney failure, this series of articles is a great way to learn what kidney disease looks like.

All About Liver Disease in Dogs and Cats

Liver disease is another health issue that can cause your cat to drink and urinate much more than they do regularly. If you notice your cat is “going” more than usual, check this article for a better idea of whether the liver disease might be the culprit.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I help my cat with urinary problems?

Urinary problems are a common issue among cats and can be caused by a variety of factors, including urinary tract infections, bladder stones, or blockages. Here are some steps you can take to help your cat with urinary problems. If your cat is exhibiting signs of urinary problems, such as urinating outside of the litter box or crying while urinating, take them to the vet right away. Your vet can determine the cause of the problem and recommend the appropriate treatment. Encourage your cat to drink more water by providing fresh water in multiple locations throughout the house, using a water fountain, or adding wet food to their diet. Some cat foods are specially formulated to promote urinary health and can help prevent urinary problems from occurring. Consult with your vet to determine the best diet for your cat's needs. Provide multiple litter boxes in different locations in your home, and make sure they are cleaned regularly to encourage your cat to use them. Stress can worsen urinary problems in cats. Make sure your cat has a comfortable and quiet space to retreat to and minimize stressful stimuli in the environment.

How do I know if my cat has a urinary problem?

Urinary problems are a common issue among cats and can be caused by a variety of factors. If your cat is experiencing urinary problems, there are several signs you can look out for. These include urinating outside of the litter box, frequent trips to the litter box, straining to urinate, crying or vocalizing while urinating, and excessive licking around the genital area. If you notice any of these signs, take your cat to the veterinarian as soon as possible for a proper diagnosis and treatment. Your veterinarian can determine the underlying cause of your cat's urinary problems and recommend appropriate treatment, such as medication or dietary changes. Prompt veterinary attention is essential because urinary problems can be serious and even life-threatening if left untreated.

What is the most common urinary problem in cats?

The most common urinary problem in cats is Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD), also known as Feline Idiopathic Cystitis (FIC). FLUTD is a general term used to describe a group of conditions that affect the lower urinary tract of cats. FIC is a specific type of FLUTD that is characterized by inflammation of the bladder with no apparent underlying cause. FLUTD can be caused by a variety of factors, including bacterial infections, bladder stones, urethral obstructions, and stress. The symptoms of FLUTD include urinating outside of the litter box, frequent urination, straining to urinate, and blood in the urine. Male cats are particularly at risk for FLUTD because their urethra is longer and narrower than female cats, making them more prone to obstructions. FLUTD can be a serious condition that requires prompt treatment to prevent complications, such as urinary tract infections, kidney damage, or even death.

Will a cat's UTI go away on its own?

It is unlikely that a cat's urinary tract infection (UTI) will go away on its own without treatment. UTIs in cats are usually caused by bacteria, and without treatment, the infection can spread to the kidneys and cause serious complications. In addition, if left untreated, a UTI can lead to bladder inflammation, urinary tract blockage, and even kidney failure. In some cases, a cat's UTI symptoms may improve on its own, but this does not mean that the infection has been fully resolved. Even if the symptoms seem to disappear, it's important to complete the full course of antibiotics prescribed by your veterinarian to ensure that the infection has been fully treated.

How do I know if my cat has a urinary blockage or a UTI?

Urinary blockages and UTIs are two common urinary problems that can affect cats, and the symptoms of these conditions can be similar. However, there are some differences that can help you determine whether your cat has a urinary blockage or a UTI. A urinary blockage occurs when there is a physical obstruction in the urinary tract that prevents urine from passing out of the body. This condition is more common in male cats than in female cats, as their urethra is longer and narrower. Symptoms of a urinary blockage may include straining to urinate or no urine output, frequent trips to the litter box without producing urine, crying or vocalizing while attempting to urinate, licking around the genital area, abdominal discomfort or bloating, vomiting, and loss of appetite. A UTI, on the other hand, is an infection in the urinary tract that can affect both male and female cats. Symptoms of a UTI in cats may include frequent urination, straining to urinate, blood in the urine, strong-smelling urine, urinating outside the litter box, lethargy, and loss of appetite. If you suspect that your cat is experiencing urinary problems, take them to the veterinarian as soon as possible for a proper diagnosis and treatment. Your veterinarian can determine the underlying cause of your cat's symptoms and recommend appropriate treatment, such as antibiotics for a UTI or catheterization to relieve a urinary blockage.

More on Cat Problems

How to Prevent Dental Health Problems in Cats
Thyroid Problems in Cats: The Likely Cause
7 Common Reasons for Cat Puking
5 Common Cat Problems and Health Issues

This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by, your veterinarian with respect to your pet. It has, however, been verified by a licensed veterinarian for accuracy.

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Kidney Disease Urinary Tract Infection Stones-Struvite, Oxalytes Urethral Blockage Urinary Incontinence

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