Facts About Urinary Tract Infections in Cats

cat urinary tract infectionsIt is common for cats to suffer from UTIs, or urinary tract infections, on a regular basis; in fact, it is one of the most common ailments that cats tend to experience. It should not be taken lightly, however, since it can get quite serious if it is not check out by a professional. If your cat seems to be suffering from a UTI, or any ailment, take them to see a vet right away.

What is a UTI?

A UTI in cats infects the urethra and is common in kittens between 1 to 4 years old. It is not as common in newborn kittens under one year old, and in more senior cats that are over 10 years old.

What are the symptoms of a UTI?

There are a number of symptoms your cat may display, including: unusual yet frequent urination, difficulty urinating or urinating only in small amounts, urinating in other, inappropriate locations such as the bathtub or closet, instead of the litter box, and even avoiding the litter box altogether. Other factors to keep an eye out for are pain and visible strain when urinating, blood present in urine, loss of bladder control, prolonged time in the litter box, and a strong ammonia stench in the urine.
Some common behaviors a cat shows when suffering from a UTI will include regular licking of the genital area, lethargy or lack of energy, vomiting, and consuming a noticeably larger amount of water.

What does the vet look for during their examination?

The vet will perform a physical examination on your cat. They commonly look for a hard, distended abdomen, thickened and contracted bladder wall, and blockage of the urine flow.

 

Why did my cat contract a UTI?

While your cat may have just contracted bacteria, some diseases (including interstitial cystitis, or painful bladder syndrome) can also lead to UTIs. In general, though, cats can get UTIs from various sources including a congenital abnormality, debris build-up or stones in the bladder or urethra, having a weak bladder, a damaged urinary tract or spinal cord, and stress. Furthermore, endocrine diseases such as hyperthyroidism and diabetes are known to increase the likelihood of contracting a UTI.

Diagnosis and treatment

After your vet does a physical exam, they will analyze the cultures in your cat’s urine in order to find bacterial, fungal, or parasitic sources. If the vet deems it necessary, he will prescribe bloodwork, x rays, and ultrasounds. Once the cause of the UTI is determined, antibiotics, changes in diet, or surgery may be recommended.