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Urinary Tract Infection in Cats

Veterinarian cutting the cat's nailUrinary tract infection (UTI) is fairly uncommon among cats, but it’s still a dangerous and often painful condition. This occurs when bacteria ascend the urethra and bladder and infect the urinary tract.

UTI causes a potentially fatal blockage and other conditions that disrupt the urinary system’s ability to excrete waste. As a result, cats cannot empty their bladders completely, trapping urine and harmful particles inside the body. The bladder stones that develop pave the way for other health issues, like Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD).

UTI’s Connection to FLUTD

UTI can cause FLUTD, a group of diseases affecting the lower urinary tract (bladder and urethra). Young cats rarely develop FLUTD, even if they have UTI. The American Veterinary Medical Association says bladder infections cause FLUTDs less than 5% of the time among younger cats. This is because the acid content and concentration of their urine prevent infection.

It’s a different story for old cats, though. Cats over 10 years old are more prone to diseases, such as kidney disorders and diabetes, which alter the urine’s acidity and concentration. As a result, older cats have a higher risk of developing FLUTD if they have UTI.

The Likelihood of Developing UTI

Older cats are more likely to develop UTI, while young cats rarely get the disease. Female cats also have a higher risk of contracting UTI. Cases among males, however, are more dangerous. Males have narrower urethras than females. When a male cat contracts UTI, the bacteria can raise the urine’s pH levels, which, in turn, can lead to crystal formation in the urine. Crystals can easily block a male’s narrow urethra.

The Symptoms of UTI in Cats

Immediate veterinary attention is required if your cat develops urinary tract infection (UTI). The problem is that most signs are internal symptoms, and unless you observe changes in your cat’s urine and behavior, you might not detect the condition.

To find out if your cat has UTI, watch out for FLUTD symptoms such as:

  • Frequent, visibly painful and strained urination; your cat may even cry out
  • Bloody or discolored urine
  • Stronger urine odor
  • Frequent licking of the urinary opening
  • Urinating outside the litter box
  • Irritable or erratic behavior

Kittens being held by a doctorBear in mind that these symptoms do not necessarily indicate UTI. Because they’re also symptoms of FLUTD, they can also signal bladder stones, other types of blockages, or cancer.

All these symptoms make daily activities difficult for your pet. Painful urination stresses out cats and pushes them to urinate outside the litter. This behavior could also prove to be an issue for your home. In some cases, erratic behaviors could put a strain on the relationship between cats and their pet parent.

Once you see that your cat has signs of Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD), which are also behavioral and urine symptoms that suggest UTI, have your cat checked by a veterinarian immediately. Your vet will diagnose your pet and provide you with the right medical prescription.

What Can You Do?

Fortunately, UTI is a treatable condition, and your cat’s recovery would speed up if you follow your vet’s prescriptions and lifestyle recommendations.

  1. Follow Your Vet’s Prescription

Often, vets prescribe an antibiotic commonly used for UTI to relieve uncomfortable symptoms. Your vet might also ask for samples for a culture and sensitivity test, which will identify the specific bacteria that caused the infection. Once the results of the test are in, the vet may prescribe a different antibiotic.

Remember to administer your cat’s medicine according to the schedule prescribed by the vet. Do not try to add or change your cat’s dosage without the vet’s advice. Your vet may also suggest altering your pet’s lifestyle and diet to prevent UTI from developing again.

  1. Adjust Your Cat’s Diet

Providing cat food that boosts urinary health helps your cat recover and reduces the risk of repeated infection. Bear in mind that cat food with high levels of minerals, like magnesium and phosphate, can lead to bladder stone formation. Cats that have bladder stones are more prone to recurrent UTIs. 

Food that’s low on these minerals can help restore your cat’s urine concentration to healthy levels. Additionally, it helps maintain a healthy urine pH level and reduce inflammation.

Dave’s Pet Food may help with urinary tract infections. Our Naturally Healthy™ adult cat food offers a nutritious and balanced diet:

  • It’s made with fresh cranberries and blueberries that may maintain urinary tract health
  • It’s all-natural and doesn’t contain by-products
  • It doesn’t contain wheat, corn, or soy
  • It’s low on magnesium
  • It’s packed with vitamins and chelated minerals
  1. Encourage Water Consumption

If your cat doesn’t drink enough water, his or her urine concentration increases, which, in turn, increases the risk of infections.

Cats are notorious low-water drinkers. You have to be creative to get your pet to drink more. Provide fresh water every day and change it regularly; cats are sensitive to the taste of water. He or she could even be turned off by odors, so wash the water bowl regularly.

Place the water bowl next to the food dish to encourage drinking. You could also buy a water fountain because cats are fascinated by moving water. They’re more likely to drink if they can play with water. Giving your cat canned food also increases water intake because it contains more water than dry kibble.

  1. Make Lifestyle Changes

Minimize the things that stress out your cat. For instance, avoid inviting too many house guests while your cat is recovering.

Avoid conflicts if you have more than one pet at home. Provide separate food and water containers to reduce competition. If your cat shows aggression toward another pet, never let fights ensue. Cats don’t resolve an issue through fighting; it only makes it worse. Interrupt aggression and get between your pets.

A lack of places for hiding and resting can cause stress, so provide additional perches for your cat to zone out as he or she prefers. Ideally, if you run a multi-cat household, provide multiple litter boxes. You can also set up scratching posts, which are safe outlets for stress.

Your cat’s urinary problems will take time to pass, but with the right food, medicine, and lifestyle change, it is possible to mitigate the life-threatening risk of UTI and maintain your cat’s health.

Recurrence of UTI

Even if your vet says your cat’s UTI is resolved, maintain the best practices in taking care of your pet. Cats that have been previously treated for UTI can contract the condition again. In some cases, UTI can be a lifelong disease.

Ask your vet if you should change the food and adjust the feeding time once your cat stops taking medication. Schedule regular checkups to prevent or detect UTI recurrence.

More importantly, pay attention to the quality and amount of food and water you give your pet. Drinking enough water keeps your cat’s urine concentration and pH level healthy. All-natural food packed with vitamins and chelated minerals can contribute to your cat’s health.

If your pet is experiencing UTI symptoms, have them try our premium cat food today.