Everything you need to know about UTI in cats

BY | December 05 | COMMENTS PUBLISHED BY

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Cat parents may be surprised to know that many health conditions that we suffer can be experienced by cats too. Anxiety disorders, hip dysplasia, UTIs โ€“ you name it. What makes this worse is that pets cannot vocalize their pain. It is important to monitor their behavior for signs that they may be suffering from an urinary or bladder problem.

What is an UTI?

An UTI or Urinary Tract Infection is an infection that affects the urethra, urinary system or bladder. It can also spread to damage vital organs like kidneys. It may also lead to cell damage due to bacterial invasion.

Symptoms of Cat UTI

These are the primary signs that may indicate that your cat be suffering from an UTI โ€“

  • Having difficulty passing urine
  • Crying out in pain while urinating
  • Blood in the urine
  • Frequent urination
  • Urinating in odd locations and not in their litter box
  • Blockage in the urethra or urine flow
  • Licking genitalia
  • Stronger than usual urine odor
  • A thick, hard and contracted bladder wall which the vet can feel during a physical

Even if the results come back negative for an UTI infection, there is still possibly reason to worry.

Causes of UTI in cats

When a bacteria moves up the urethra and into the bladder, it grows and multiplies there resulting in an UTI. Cats usually experience urinary tract disorders more often than urinary tract infections.

How does a vet diagnose UTI in cats?

A vet runs an urinalysis to diagnose a positive or negative UTI. An urinalysis is an in-depth examination of the properties of urine and is significant for determining the presence of any bacterial infection. E.coli is the most common culprit behind UTIs but not the only one which can be held responsible for the infection. The vet needs to identify the agent of the disease properly in order to treat it effectively. A blood count may also be asked for, to check if the symptoms displayed can be a result of more serious health complications.

Treatment

Antibiotics are prescribed by vets in order to treat the infection. Follow up appointments are usually advised to ensure that the infection has been taken care of and wonโ€™t risk other parts of the body.

Older female cats and diabetic cats stand a high risk of developing UTIs. Cats which have bladder stones are also at risk of developing UTIs. Take your cat for regular vet visits and perform urine tests on them from time to time to prevent your cat from contracting an UTI. Maintain his/her cleanliness and hygiene and you shouldnโ€™t have to worry about your cat coming down with an UTI.

Signs Your Cat May Be Suffering From Feline Lower Urinary Tract Diseases (FLUTD)

Feline Lower Urinary Tract Diseases or FLUTD are one of the most common diseases among cats. It refers to a bunch of diseases that attack the lower urinary tracts, which are the bladder and the urethra, making it difficult and painful to urinate. There are various causes like bladder stones, infection or inflammation, diabetes or crystalline blockage to name a few.If left untreated, this condition can be dangerous and can even lead to life-threatening consequences. For vocal cats, it may be easier to recognize when they are in pain. If you have a quiet cat that hides signs of discomfort, it is of utmost importance that you know your cat well to identify any symptoms that could point to this.So if you notice any of these signs, it is recommended that you take your cat to the vet as soon as possible.

Is the stomach bloated?

If your cat has a bloated or tightened stomach, and cries out in pain when pressure is applied, it is likely that he has difficulty urinating. But make sure to get diagnosis from a vet, as bloating is a common symptom for many other illnesses too.

Is the litter box empty frequently?

If the litter box is unusually empty, it means that your cat does not urinate as frequently as he is supposed to. If you suspect your cat is suffering from FLUTD, make sure to check his litter box regularly to keep track of his urination. He may be experiencing a condition called โ€œdysuriaโ€, which simply means a painful passing of urine. He will feel the need to urinate, but may strain or cry out in pain as it will be difficult.

Does your cat pass out bloody urine?

โ€œHaematuriaโ€ or a condition where your cat passes out bloody urine is another indicator that he is suffering from FLUTD. If you see that your catโ€™s urine is red in colour, you need to take him to the vet immediately. Sometimes, the blood may not be so visible and obvious. The blood content may be microscopic, which means it can only be seen through tests by your vet.

Does your cat lick itself excessively?

Sometimes cats who find it difficult to urinate lick their urinary areas excessively, often in an attempt to soothe the pain. This is mostly due to the pain, irritation or infection in the urethra and bladder. This excessive licking or over-grooming can lead to loss of hair if it is severe enough.

Does your cat urinate in odd places?

โ€œPeriuriaโ€ is a condition where your cat keeps urinating in other places except where he is trained to โ€“ his litter box. If you find that your cat passes urine in odd or inappropriate places like his bed, on the couch or on the floor, it means that he cannot get to his litter box in time due to urethral or bladder irritations. 

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