How To Prevent Urinary Blockages In Cats
In some cases, your veterinarian may identify a particular risk factor that increases the chances that your cat will become blocked. For example, a cat who has a history of developing urinary crystals or stones made of struvite will often benefit from eating a food that contains low levels of magnesium and phosphorus and promotes a urinary pH that makes it less likely that crystals will form. If your cat has a history of urinary blockages, make sure to ask your veterinarian about any specific prevention strategies that he or she can recommend.
If the cause of your cats urinary blockage cant be identified or you simply want to prevent the condition from developing in the first place, dont worry, you still have good options. The following three strategies will go a long way towards lowering the risk of urinary blockages in cats:
Follow these tips and any advice from your veterinarian and you can rest assured that youve done everything possible to protect your cat from developing a urinary blockage.
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How To Prevent Cat Utis
Ensure adequate hydration
This can be done with a switch to a higher moisture diet like canned food, homemade diets, or raw diets that naturally have more moisture content than a kibble diet.
Other ways to help include getting a water fountain, adding tuna water or broth to the food, or even just adding plain water to canned or raw food diets.
Use canned cat food or a raw food diet
Changing your cat to a species-appropriate diet is essential to fixing the problem since food tends to be the root cause of the problem.
Remember high carb diets tend to cause the urine pH to raise, leading to crystal and stone formation.
Stress causes inflammation in the body long-term if its not managed.
Simple ways to reduce stress for cats are to make sure they have a quiet room to themselves away from the noise and activity of the rest of the household.
In this space, make sure they have a place to hide if needed, comfortable bedding, scratching post, water, and a litter tray if needed.
Also, make sure you have enough litter trays in the household. Ideally, you want 1 + the number of cats that you have.
For example, if you have 2 cats, youll want 3 litter trays. And make sure to clean them every day since cats can stop using them if they are not clean enough.
If your cat is prone to stress cystitis, make sure to get calming products for them.
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Are There Any Home Remedies For Cat Utis
Unfortunately, there is no good way to treat your cats UTI at home. Particularly in this instance, where medical issues can quickly lead to behavioral issues like peeing outside of the box, its important to get your cat to the veterinarian as soon as possible to determine the cause and treatment.
True infections are actually much less common than sterile inflammatory episodes, and these are treated very differently. Additionally, UTIs in male cats can sometimes lead to urinary obstruction, a life-threatening emergency. To avoid costly treatments and frustrating behaviors from developing, seeking veterinary care promptly is ideal.
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Cat Uti Vs Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease
Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease is another relatively common condition that can easily be confused with a UTI. While UTIs are caused by an infection, FLUTD describes a range of conditions or diseases affecting a cat’s bladder and urethra without infection, such as urinary stones, a blocked urethra or diabetes, to name a few. FLUTD is often brought on by stress. FLUTD and UTIs have many of the same symptoms, so it’s important to discuss any litter box concerns with your vet.
Make Life More Fun With Catios Hidey Holes & Toys
Environmental changes to lower a cats stress level are likely to benefit cats with FIC . Living in a house with humans is not a natural state of affairs for cats. The things that make humans comfortable might not make cats comfortable.
You can easily make some simple changes to lower your cats stress load and it doesnt have to cost a lot of money. A few quick ideas
- Make a FREE cat scratching station from leftover corrugated cardboard boxes. Check out this tutorial for a cool cat scratcher.
- DIY a wall perch for your cat thats inexpensive and looks great Of course! Its from Martha Stewart.
- Install an affordable window perch like the one below for hours of stress-free cat joy.
See? Environmental enrichment for cats is fun and pretty easy! The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine has a fantastic website called the Indoor Pet Initiative with suggestions on how to make your home a happier place for any cat.
Cats need a place to scratch, a place to climb and a place to hide to be happy. You dont have to buy expensive cat furniture, an empty cardboard box can provide for all three requirements.
Make sure you have multiple play structures if you have multiple cats. They like to stake out their own territory and it gives them a place for quiet time when they need it.
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How To Prevent Cat Urinary Tract Infections
There is always a chance, and sometimes a good chance, that your cats UTI or other lower urinary tract problem will recur. Some recommendations to help prevent recurrences of UTIs and other issues are relatively inexpensive. Your veterinarian may suggest some menu of options like these:
Adjust your cat’s diet. Feed small meals on a frequent basis and keep your cat to a healthy weight. With your vets recommendation, consider a change to a specialized diet for urinary conditions or a switch to canned food. Here are tips from the American Association of Feline Practitioners covering best practices for healthy feeding.
Manage the water. Keep bowls clean and fresh at all times. More water keeps the flow going!
Improve your litter box hygiene. Offer enough litter boxes . Dont hide them away where theyre hard to get for your cat, Primm says. Scoop the boxes twice daily and replace all the litter at least weekly. Note your own cats preference. Primm says some cats like covered boxes, some dont, and different litter appeals to different litter box users. The American Association of Feline Practitioners has helpful tips on how to manage and prevent cat house soiling, covering everything from litter box size to the location of the box within the home
Talk to your vet about the best preventive care and UTI treatments for your cat.
What Are Cat Urinary Tract Infection Symptoms
Symptoms of urinary tract infections in cats can be similar whether they have sterile cystitis or they have a bacterial infection.
Common signs of a cat bladder infection or cystitis include:
- Frequently urinating
If youre seeing any of these signs in your cat, you need to take them to your veterinarian for an examination and additional diagnostics.
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Identifying The Signs Of Utis And Bladder Infections In Cats
Pain or difficulty urinating may be the first sign that your cat has a urinary tract infection or bladder infection. You may spot blood in her urine, or perhaps notice that shes producing just a trickle of wee. In some cases, your normally housetrained cat may wee inside your home. Always get your cat checked out by your vet if you notice any of the following symptoms:
What Is A Cat Urinary Tract Infection
A urinary tract infection is when bacteria infects the urinary system. The urinary system consists of the kidneys all the way to the genital tract. Urine flows through the system in this order:
A urinary tract infection is not the same as cystitis. Cystitis refers to inflammation of the bladder, which is a relatively common condition in cats. Urinary tract infections only occur in 1-3 percent of all cases of cystitis in cats and are considered a rare condition.
For unknown reasons, cats who are 10 years of age and older are much more likely to have a urinary tract infection than younger cats. No specific cat breeds are prone to UTIs.
Cats with a UTI often experience symptoms that make them very uncomfortable. Without appropriate treatment, infection can spread up to the kidneys. When this happens, a life-threatening condition called pyelonephritis can occur.
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Signs Of A Urinary Tract Infection In Cats
Symptoms of UTIs in cats are similar to cystitis, since both conditions cause general discomfort in the urinary system. It is important to note that not all cats show symptomsin one study of cats with a UTI, 35 percent of cats showed no signs .
Below are the symptoms you might see:
- Urination outside of the litter box
- Change in frequency of urination
- Straining to urinate
- Vocalizing while urinating
- Change in color of the urine
- Increased drinking
- Increased volume of urine
- Change in normal behaviors for example, hiding or eating less
- Licking genitalia more frequently
- Discharge from the vulva or prepuce
Bladder Stones In Cats
Bladder stones are rock-like formations of minerals that develop in the urinary bladder. All stones form because of disease or inflammation in the bladder. The most common signs of bladder stones in the cat are blood in the urine and straining to urinate. Large stones may act almost like a valve, causing an “on-off” or partial obstruction at the neck of the bladder. In males, small stones become lodged in the urethra and cause an obstruction. X-rays or ultrasound may be necessary for diagnosis. The fastest way to remove bladder stones is via a surgical procedure called a cystotomy. Special diets or passing a catheter may be successful for some bladder stones. Your veterinarian will advise you of the best course of action for your cats particular situation.
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How To Treat And Prevent Urinary Tract Infections In Cats
Urinary problems like urinary tract infections are common in cats. They are caused by microorganisms that enter the urinary tract, travel through the urethra and typically settle in the bladder.
The problem is more common in cats that are over 10 years old, female or have other medical conditions like diabetes, kidney disease or obesity. Also, cats that have had urinary tract surgery are at a higher risk.
Some symptoms of a UTI in cats include urinating outside the litter box, going to the litter box more frequently than normal, blood in the urine, signs of pain in their posture and drinking more water than usual.
Cats diagnosed with a UTI are typically treated with a broad-spectrum antibiotic. It is extremely important that you administer the antibiotic exactly as instructed by the veterinarian and for the complete duration of the treatment course.
Apart from antibiotics, some dietary and lifestyle changes can help resolve the problem and prevent future UTIs in your cat.
Here are several ways to treat and prevent urinary tract infections in cats.
Diagnosing Cystitis Bladder Infections And Utis In Cats
Your vet may recommend testing a sample of your cats urine to determine whether she has an infection, which can include cystitis, urinary tract infections or stones, or bladder infections. Depending on the cause, he or she may prescribe anti-inflammatories and/or antibiotics to clear up the infection, or recommend a special diet to help dissolve the urinary tract stones.
Pain or difficulty urinating may be the first sign that your cat has a urinary tract infection or bladder infection.
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Other Types Of Urinary Tract Problems In Cats
UTI’s aren’t the only type of urinary tract problem in cats. More commonly, cats develop inflammation or stones.
- Urine Crystals – Crystals can be problematic because they can develop into troublesome bladder stones. There are several different types of urine crystals.
- Bladder Stones – Multiple different types of bladder stones exist and sometimes bacteria contributes to their formation. Small stones can cause a cat to be obstructed and unable to urinate which is why they are life threatening.
- Urinary Tract Inflammation – Also referred to as cystitis, inflammation can be dangerous in a cat. The urethra may swell and cause a cat to be unable to urinate which can be fatal.
Symptoms Of Urinary Tract Infections In Cats
Cats are notorious for hiding their symptoms from their owners. But if you suspect your cat may have a UTI, it is imperative that you dont ignore it. If your cat is exhibiting any these symptoms, consult a vet immediately. An ignored UTI can lead to a urethral blockage, which can be fatal.
Urinating outside of the litter box
Yowling while urinating
Frequent grooming of the genitals
Excessive urinating with little or no urine
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General Cost To Treat A Cat Uti
The cost to treat urinary infections in cats varies widely depending on what other underlying issues are present. To diagnose a urinary tract infection with veterinary examination will likely cost around $200-$300.
However, other tests are typically needed to look for underlying reasons. These vary and can cost an additional $100 to $500, depending on what your cat needs.
Most veterinarians will recommend you return with your cat for a retest of the urine to ensure the infection is gone before antibiotics are over. This is a critical step, because if the infection is not gone when antibiotics are stopped the infection will immediately come back and perhaps get even worse than the first time. This re-test will likely cost an additional $200-$300.
Some cats have crystals in their urine and possibly stones in their urinary system. If this is the case, your veterinarian will recommend a prescription diet. There are no over-the-counter diets that prevent crystals and stones. The cost of these diets is approximately $75-$100 per month and would need to be given for the rest of your cats life.
What Is Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease
Feline lower urinary tract disease describes a variety of conditions that affect the bladder and urethra of cats. Cats with FLUTD most often show signs of difficulty and pain when urinating, increased frequency of urination, and blood in the urine. Cats with FLUTD also tend to lick themselves excessively and may urinate outside the litter box, often on cool, smooth surfaces like a tile floor or a bathtub.
While FLUTD can occur at any age, it is usually seen in middle-aged, overweight cats that get little exercise, use an indoor litter box, have little or no outdoor access, or eat a dry diet. Factors such as emotional or environment stress, multi-cat households, and abrupt changes in daily routine may also increase the risk that a cat will develop FLUTD.
Major signs of feline lower urinary tract disease include:
- Straining to urinate
- Frequent and/or prolonged attempts to urinate
- Crying out while urinating
- Excessive licking of the genital area
- Urinating outside the litter box
- Blood in the urine
Note that cats with a urethral obstruction will also show these signs but will pass little or no urine and become increasingly distressed. Urethral obstruction is seen more often in males than female cats due their longer, narrow urethra. A urethral obstruction is an emergency and requires immediate veterinary treatment.
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Cats Are Obligate Carnivores And Have No Physiological Requirement For Carbohydrates Which Are Kibble Diet
Your veterinarian may recommend special prescription diets to help dissolve the stones, but make sure to continue reading for other natural remedies to help your cats crystal issue if this is occurring, because many of these diets are kibble which is a root cause for your cats urine problems in the first place.
The crystals and inflammatory changes are what can lead to sludgy debris that can lead to a urinary obstruction, especially in male cats whose urethras are not as wide as a females urethra.
So if youre seeing your cat, especially male cat, go in and out of the litter box but not product any urine or very little urine, this is a symptom of a urinary tract infection and urinary blockage.
You must go to the vet right away since this is an emergency.
How Is Flutd Diagnosed
Because FLUTD has many causes, it can be difficult to diagnose. Based on your cat’s symptoms, your veterinarian will do a physical examination and most likely will run a urinalysis assessing urine pH and concentration and presence of crystals, bleeding, inflammation and infection. If the cause is still not identified, tests such as urine culture, x-rays, blood work and additional urine tests may be recommended.
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Diagnosing Urinary Tract Infection In Cats
When diagnosing a UTI, your veterinarian will begin by taking a complete medical history. The vet may ask about changes in your cats water consumption, frequency of urination, amount of urination, how the urine looks, and any behavioral changes. Your vet will also perform a physical examination to assess the bladder and kidneys, as well as the genitalia and sometimes the rectum. If there is trouble with urination, a neurological exam may be conducted.
Your cats urine and blood will also be tested. Urinalysis is one of the most important and useful tests for diagnosing a UTI. It will look for the presence of certain chemicals or substances in the urine, like sugar, ketones, bilirubin, blood, and protein. A urinalysis is best conducted on a fresh urine sample to prevent inaccurate results.
Based on the findings, additional testing may need to be conducted. In particular, a urine culture may be performed to confirm the presence of an infection and to determine what type of bacteria are involved. Since it often takes 3 to 5 days to obtain final culture results, your veterinarian will likely start your cat on broad-spectrum antibiotics in the interim. The typical duration of antibiotic therapy is 7 to 14 days.
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