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Cat Urinary Tract Infections

11/28/2016 by Colleen Williams
November 28th, 2016 by Colleen Williams
        

cat urinary tract infection

As many pet parents know, cats suffer from urinary tract infections (UTIs) fairly often. In fact, it’s one of their most common ailments! What you may not know is that this illness can be quite serious and needs to be treated by a vet as soon as possible.

What is a UTI?

A UTI is an infection of your cat’s urethra, most commonly found in kitties between the ages of one and four. It is not as prevalent in cats less than one year old and cats greater than 10 years old.

What are the symptoms of UTIs in cats?

Your cat may exhibit the following:

  • Abnormal, frequent passage of urine
  • Inability to urinate or only passing a small amount of urine
  • Urinating in inappropriate locations (like the bathtub or maybe the closet) and litter box avoidance
  • Difficult or painful urination
  • Blood in the urine
  • Loss of bladder control, dribbling urine
  • Straining and/or crying out in pain when trying to pass urine
  • Prolonged squatting in litter box
  • Constant licking of genital area
  • Strong odor of ammonia in urine
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Drinking a noticeably larger amount of water

Your vet will also look for:

  • Hard, distended abdomen
  • Blockage of urine flow through the urethra to outside the body
  • Thickened, firm, contracted bladder wall, felt during physical examination

Why do cats get UTIs?

While sometimes cats simply contract bacteria in the area, there are diseases that can lead to a UTI, such as noninfectious diseases like interstitial cystitis (painful bladder syndrome) and certain viruses. Most commonly, however, cats usually get UTIs from a variety of sources:

  • Congenital abnormality
  • Stones or accumulated debris in the bladder or urethra
  • Kidney stones
  • Incontinence or weak bladder
  • Injured urinary tract or spinal cord
  • Stress
  • Endocrine diseases (hyperthyroidism and diabetes specifically) can also increase the likelihood of UTIs

Diagnosis and treatment

To diagnose your cat’s UTI, the vet will complete a physical exam, a urinalysis and urine culture, and, if necessary, further blood work, x-rays (for blockages or stones), and an ultrasound. They will be looking for bacterial, fungal, or parasitic sources, as well as any physical complications, injuries, or more serious diseases behind the UTI have caused the infection.

Once the source of the UTI has been identified, your vet can prescribe antibiotics, request dietary changes or, if it’s very serious, schedule surgery.

Want to know more information on common cat illnesses? We break down cat health, treatments and veterinary innovation in our Cost of Pet Care report, so you can be prepared to take care of your furry friend every step of the way (and yep, Healthy Paws covers UTI treatment).






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