Urinary Tract Infection In Cats
Written bySmall Door’s medical experts
Bacterial urinary tract infections are a fairly common condition among cats. While UTIs are usually relatively easy to diagnose and cure, they can develop into a more serious condition if left untreated. Urinary tract infections can occur in both young and old cats.
In This Article
Inflammation Of The Bladder
Commonly referred to as a urinary tract infection, this problem in cats is more properly called idiopathic cystitis in veterinary terminology. Cystitis just means inflammation of the bladder, while idiopathic means the problem arises spontaneously and without a known cause.
Inflammation is a useful aspect of the bodys immune response, serving to increase blood flow to an injured or infected area to facilitate healing. In the case of cats with urinary tract disease, however, sensory neurons trigger the inflammation of the bladder not because of infection or injury but in response to stress.
Recovery And Management Of Utis In Cats
Most cats will fully recover within 7-10 days of developing a urinary tract infection, but they may need to remain on a canned diet for longer. Your vet may check a urine sample after treatment to determine if all the bacteria are gone.
Occasionally, cats will develop repeated urinary tract infections. Cats with recurring UTIs often require more testing to determine the underlying cause.
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How To Prevent Utis In Cats
It is important to note that UTIs are less common in cats. It is often more likely that another urinary issue is affecting your cat. UTIs most often occur when something else is affecting the cats natural defenses such as an autoimmune issue, bladder stones, or diabetes mellitus. These conditions will need to be addressed along with the UTI.
To encourage urinary tract health, all cats should be offered fresh water at all times and encouraged to drink. Canned or moist food is ideal for cats because it has more water content, and for cats with recurrent urinary issues, it may be recommended to add additional water to their canned food as well.
How To Treat A Cat’s Uti
This article was co-authored by Lauren Baker, DVM, PhD. Dr. Baker is a Veterinarian and PhD candidate in Comparative Biomedical Sciences. Dr. Baker received her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Wisconsin in 2016, and went on to pursue a PhD through her work in the Comparative Orthopaedic Research Laboratory.There are 8 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 80,351 times.
UTI stands for urinary tract infection, an infection which can occur in felines as well as humans. Treating a UTI without the use of antibiotics is difficult, if not impossible. If you try to clear an infection and only partially succeed, you run the risk of suppressing the symptoms, whilst bacteria are still present. This could lead to a long-term infection that could potentially damage your cat’s health. A low grade urinary infection is a ticking time bomb, because the bacteria could travel up to the kidney and cause a more serious infection. When possible, always seek veterinary attention and an appropriate course of antibiotics.
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Diagnosing A Uti In Cats
Reaching a diagnosis is an important step that helps direct the course of treatment.
One crucial test is a urine analysisor urinalysis for short. This involves measuring urine specific gravity and pH, as well as looking for the presence of bacteria, blood, inflammatory cells, crystals, sugar, and other indicators of urinary tract health or abnormalities.
Most commonly, urine is collected at the vets office using a sterile needle and syringe. This provides the most accurate results, since it eliminates bacterial contamination from the outer genital region. Its a fast procedure that most cats tolerate well.
In some cases, such as if a cats bladder is empty at the vet visit, your vet team may request you collect a urine sample at home. This involves using a special type of non-absorbent litter and returning the sample to your vet. Youll receive specific instructions on how to collect, store, and return the urine sample.
If a UTI is suspected, your vet will also recommend a urine culture and sensitivity. This test helps guide antibiotic usageto ensure treatment is truly effective, and to decrease the risk of developing an antibiotic resistant infection.
Depending on your cats symptoms, physical exam, and medical history, a vet may recommend additional tests to look for an underlying health condition. For example, this could include bloodwork to look for a metabolic or hormonal condition, or x-rays and an ultrasound to look for bladder stones.
How Do Cats Get Utis
There are many possible causes, so here well cover the most common reasons why a kitty might develop a UTI. This includes:
Infections secondary to FLUTD or FIC. Anything that causes inflammation of the bladder could lead to a UTI.
Stress. Stress contributes to FIC, which may in turn result in UTIs.
Uroliths . Most commonly, stones occur in the bladder. But kidney stones are also possible. Cats with very concentrated urine may be at a higher risk for uroliths than cats with dilute urine. In concentrated urine, minerals can converge to form crystals and then stones.
Underlying health conditions. Any health issue that affects the urinary tract may put a kitty at higher UTI risk. Examples include kidney disease, hyperthyroidism , immuno-compromising diseases, and diabetes mellitus .
Weight and grooming issues. Cats who are overweight, or who have a condition such as arthritis, may have more difficulty grooming themselves. This could lead to contamination with fecal bacteria into the urethra.
Anatomical defects of the urinary tract, injuries to the bladder or spinal cord, and cancers. While less common, these conditions lead to persistent urinary problems in some cats.
Age. When cat urinary tract infections do occur, they are more common in older cats. Often, this is related to underlying health conditions.
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Causes Of Utis In Cats
UTIs are caused by bacteria in the bladder. Typically, bacteria enter the bladder through the cats urethra, which is the path urine takes from the bladder to exit the body. There is most often something amiss that prohibits the bodys natural defenses from being able to avoid and eliminate the bacteria. This may be stress, another illness, certain medications, abnormalities in their urinary tract anatomy or function, or an immune system disorder.
Once in the bladder, if the bacteria evade the cats natural defenses, they grow and reproduce to create more bacteria. This overgrowth of bacteria and the toxins they release affect the bladder wall, as well as the urethra, and results in pain and inflammation.
Can A Cat Get An Uti Without Antibiotics
UTI stands for urinary tract infection, an infection which can occur in felines as well as humans. Treating a UTI without the use of antibiotics is difficult, if not impossible. If you try to clear an infection and only partially succeed, you run the risk of suppressing the symptoms, whilst bacteria are still present.
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How To Treat A Cat Uti At Home
A cat UTI is more common in female cats than male cats.
However, male cats can have serious complications from UTIs as well.
Cats diagnosed with idiopathic cystitis can also have crystal formation. Male cats may experience blockage in their narrow urethras, which can become deadly.
Urinary tract infections occur when bacteria grows in the bladder.
UTIs and bladder infections usually cause physical discomfort, although some show no signs at all.
Cats with UTIs typically exhibit:
If your cat exhibits any of these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian immediately.
What Is Feline Cystitis
When cats have cystitis it means that their bladders are inflamed. Feline idiopathic cystitis describes cystitis which has an unexplained medical cause. It is a really common condition and is not normally a serious health concern, but can be very uncomfortable for your cat.
FIC is more common in younger felines and episodes tend to reduce with age. FIC is different from a bladder infection, bladder stones or more serious urinary tract conditions, but can often present the same symptoms.
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What Are The Treatments For Lower Urinary Tract Problems
When you bring your cat to the vet, they will examine your pet for any injuries or physical problems that might be contributing to the urinary problems.
The treatment will differ depending on the diagnosis.
Antibiotics Can Treat Cat UTIs
Your vet will prescribe the right medication for your pet. They can advise you on diet changes that might prevent future UTIs.
Clearing Obstructions in the Urethra
The vet will insert a tube into the urinary opening and flush the area with sterile fluid to clear the obstruction. Follow-up care may be required as well.
In other cases, a special diet can dissolve stones in your cat’s bladder. Your vet may suggest special food to prevent more stones from forming in the future.
Treatments for Other Health Problems
If your cat has diabetes, thyroid disease, or cancer, talk to your vet about treatment options.
Cat urinary tract issues are serious and you should not ignore the symptoms. Call your vet if you think your cat has a UTI or other urinary tract problem.
Apple Cider Vinegar For Uti
The ACV is a natural treatment for feline ailments, including urinary tract infections. As apple cider is highly acidic, it wouldnt allow urinary tract germs to develop further. However, it can be dangerous in high dosages, so restrict the dosage to a bare minimum. ACV can aid in reducing and eliminating any UTIs your cat is currently experiencing.
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What Is The Best Treatment For Cat Uti
Depending on your cats prognosis, one of the following may be recommended: Antibiotics or other medications. Dietary changes. Increase in water intake. Urinary acidifiers. Expelling of small stones through urethra. Surgery to either remove bladder stones or tumor, or to correct congenital abnormality.
What is the best urinary tract medicine for cats?
Anti-inflammatory and pain medications including Amitriptyline, Buprenex, and even Prednisone may be helpful in treating urinary tract inflammation in cats. Agents that soothe the urinary bladder such as Cosequin also may be useful in cats.
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.
To learn more about CBD, .
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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.
What Are Urinary Tract Infections In Cats
Urinary tract infections are not common in cats. Only 1-3% of cats with signs of urinary tract disease will have a urinary tract infection.
Because they can resemble so many other conditions, UTIs need to be distinguished from other conditions, such as crystals in the urine. Fortunately, by running some simple tests, your veterinarian will be able to tell the difference.
In most cases, UTIs in cats are usually caused by bacteria. Bacterial urinary tract infections in cats are generally relatively easy to treat and respond well to medications. Chronic infections, or those that do not respond to regular medication, can require more testing to figure out why your cat is at higher risk for urinary tract infections.
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Causes Of Urinary Tract Issues In Cats
A urinary tract infection is caused by bacteria, fungi, or viruses that have worked their way into the urethra . Most UTIs are caused by bacteria and typically affect the urethra and bladder. Left untreated, they can spread to the kidneys, causing a serious infection called pyelonephritis.
UTIs are not especially common in cats, but other urinary tract issues occur often. Your cat’s trouble urinating can have a number of possible causes, some of which can be painful. Urinary conditions can block the flow of urine or inflame parts of the urinary tract. If you’ve been on the hunt for information online, you may have heard about feline lower urinary tract disease , which is a catch-all term for a variety of possible culprits, including UTIs and the following conditions:
- Urinary stones, which develop in the bladder from microscopic crystals
- Urethral obstruction, possibly caused by crystalized minerals in the urine, an injury, a tumor, or an abnormality your cat has had since birth
- Feline idiopathic cystitis , which is inflammation of a cat’s bladder with an unknown cause. This is a common diagnosis in cats less than 10 years old. A veterinarian may diagnose the condition after ruling out other conditions.
Some cats are predisposed to problems of the lower urinary tract, especially cats older than 10 years and those with kidney disease or diabetes.
How Do You Know If Your Cat Has A Bladder Infection
You might notice some of the following symptoms when your cat has a UTI or other urinary tract problem:Frequent urination, but only passing a small amount of urine.Urinating outside the litter box.Blood in the urine.Straining to urinate.Crying out in pain while urinating.Increased licking of urinary opening.
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Causes Of Urinary Tract Infections In Cats
Both sudden and chronic urinary tract infections are caused by bacterial infections. The bacteria involved in UTIs usually come from either the gastrointestinal tract or lower down the urinary/reproductive tract. If your cat is older or has other medical conditions, they are more likely to develop bacterial urinary tract problems.
How To Recognize And Treat A Cat Urinary Tract Infection
posted on February 27, 2020 by Heritage Animal Hospital
Cats rule the world, or maybe it just feels that way to their owners. Our feline companions can be the light of our lives. Pets can turn any bad day into paw-somely purr-fect one. However, when your furry friend isnt feeling their best, it can cause stress both for the cat and you as a pet parent.
Because February is National Cat Health Month, we would like to highlight a common feline issue: urinary tract infection . This time of year, we see more cases of UTIs, especially in males.
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Start Cat Uti Treatment With Home Remedies
In the event that you do not have access to a vet and need to treat your cats UTI at home, there are several options.
One option is colloidal silver. This is an antimicrobial agent that can be added to the cats drinking water or applied topically. It works by destroying bacteria, so it is especially useful for UTIs that are caused by E. coli . In addition, one study showed that it has a positive effect on cats with chronic UTIs.
Symptoms Of A Urinary Tract Infection In A Cat:
- Excessive grooming or licking of the genital or abdominal areas
- Frequent attempts to urinate, including multiple trips to the litter box
- Urinating in unusual places outside of the litter box, especially on a cool surface like tile or the bathtub
- Absence of large clumps in the litter box
- Straining to urinate or crying out while urinating
- Discolored urine or blood in urine
The most common symptom is when the cat is no longer going to the bathroom in their litter box. Do not assume this is a behavior issue. Take your feline companion to the vet to rule out a urinary tract infection or other serious problem.
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Is My Cat At Risk Of A Urinary Blockage
Male cats suffering from feline idiopathic cystitis, or any type of cystitis, are at risk of developing a urinary blockage, which is a serious medical emergency. It is therefore crucial that you are certain that your cat is able to urinate. If he isnt able to, or if you are unsure, you should take your cat to the vet immediately. A bladder blockage can cause dangerous toxins to build up in the system which can kill a cat if left untreated, so any delay can be fatal.
Other symptoms to look out for include:
Male cats can also suffer a urinary blockage without having cystitis and the signs are the same.