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Dealing with a sick cat is just like dealing with one of our kids. We can sense when something isn’t right. We don’t rest until our beloved pet is well again.

Cats often face problems with their urinary tract systems. While there can be a host of culprits, one cause to be considered is a urinary tract infection (UTI). Educate yourself about this painful yet treatable condition.

What is a UTI in Cats?

A UTI in cats is very similar to that of humans. It is an infection of the urinary tract system that occurs when bacteria are present in the bladder where they reproduce and grow in numbers.  They can change the pH of the urine which can lead to the formation of crystals, and if not treated soon enough, these crystals can form stones tgat can lead to blockage.  The stones need to be dissolved with diet or removed surgically as soon V as possible.

How are UTIs in Cats Caused?

Stress is the most common reason cats get UTI’s.  However, dirty surroundings, including soiled litter boxes, bedding, or general habitat, either inside or outside the home can also lead to a UTI.  Conditions such as advanced age, obesity or diabetes can also contribute. 

What are the Signs of UTIs in Cats?

When you first suspect that something is amiss with your favorite feline, look for these telltale signs:

  • Straining to urinate: If you notice that your cat is having trouble urinating and is under duress, pay attention. He or she may be experiencing pain and decreased flow due to inflammation.
  • Crying or mewing when urinating: Crying or excessive vocalization when urinating is an obvious sign that something is not right.
  • Increasing frequency: If your cat seems to always be in the litter box, UTI, or diabetes, are the most common causes.  Because the bladder is not emptying normally, there is a constant urge to go.
  • Leaving traces of blood in the urine: Blood is an immediate cause for alarm, as blood in the urine is a red flag for many health conditions.
  • Licking the opening of the urinary tract: A cat that is licking the genital area is trying to self-soothe irritated and burning tissue. 
  • Urinating outside the litter box: Urinating in places outside of the designated area is a cry for help. Pay attention.

How are UTIs in Cats Treated? 

If you see only a couple of signs that are listed above, you may have caught a UTI in its beginning stages which makes it easier to treat.  If your cat is showing any signs of a UTI, do not hesitate to seek medical attention. You can anticipate a veterinarian to take the following steps:

  • Collecting a urine sample: Your vet will need to gather much information from your cat’s urine.  It is always preferable to collect a sample in the office by cystocentesis, which is a quick, non-invasive way to obtain a sample using a needle and a syringe and extracting urine directly from the bladder. This way, the vet eliminates any possible contamination from the lower urinary tract when the cat urinates normally .
  • Running a urinalysis: This procedure will be done with the sample to test for bacteria, abnormal pH levels, glucose, etc. A urine culture will identify the type of bacteria so that a specific antibiotic can be prescribed.

How Can a UTI in Cats be Prevented?

If at all possible, you want to help your cat avoid this terrible experience altogether. Observe these following safety practices:

  • Reducing stress: There are several products, such as pheromones, and medicines we have at Longview Animal Hospital that can help you achieve this.
  • Keeping it clean: Make sure to clean the litter box, bedding and any lounging areas frequently. An overweight or elderly cat may not be able to keep the urethra area clean and may need to be wiped down with a clean cloth.
  • Staying hydrated: Encourage your cat to drink often by keeping a bowl of water both inside and outside, and changing and filling the water frequently.
  • Supplying urinary support pills:Pills made of natural ingredients such as horsetail, cranberry and parsley are widely available. You can also consider adding a probiotic to your cat’s diet.

You are your cat’s best ally. Stay alert, respond to anything out of the ordinary, and be proactive. All of these steps will help your cat avoid the ill-effects of UTI’s.

When you require medical attention for your pet, turn to the compassionate professionals of Longview Animal Hospital. We will partner with you to find just the right treatment for all of your cat’s needs.