Like people, cats can be prone to urinary tract infections and inflammation. Urinary tract infections and inflammation can be an uncomfortable and painful experience for our feline friends, just as they are for humans.
However, did you know that urinary tract infections and inflammation can actually be life-threatening for male cats? Because male cats have narrower urethras, they are more prone to urethral blockages when presenting with urinary tract infections. This makes the experience far more painful and dangerous to your cat’s wellbeing.
Today we’ll look at some of the most common symptoms of urinary tract infections and inflammation, to give you an idea of things to look out for in your cat, and how you can help prevent and treat these feline infections.
What is a Urinary Tract Infection?
First things first – what exactly do we mean by urinary tract infection?
A urinary tract infection, or simply UTI, occurs when the usually sterile urinary tract is colonised by bacteria. Inflammations can occur with infections or without infections (see our blog post on Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease coming soon!).
Symptoms of Urinary Tract Infections and Inflammation in Cats
If you notice your cat showing any of the symptoms listed below, it’s best to have them seen by a vet as soon as possible. While it’s important to seek treatment for urinary tract infections in all cats, pay particular attention to any signs of urinary issues in male cats, as the health risks can be far more significant. Familiarise with the symptoms below to learn more:
- Straining to urinate
- Vocalising while urinating
- Multiple small urinations
- Frequent litter tray stops
- Urinating outside the litter tray
- Blood in urine
- Licking around bottom or genitals
- Discomfort when being patted around the hindquarters
How to Help Prevent Feline Urinary Tract Infections & Inflammation
There are some things cat owners can do at home to try to help prevent urinary tract infections from occurring in their pet.
- Offer wet food, even if part of a mixed diet, to increase water intake
- Ensure plenty of fresh water is always available
- Provide clean and sufficient kitty litter trays for indoor cats – always keep trays clean and have more than one available in case one is used and your cat does not like to re-use a dirty tray
- Minimise stress for your cat – provide safe housing and a good routine
Taking care of these parts of your cat’s routine will help keep them in good health, reducing the risk of illness, including urinary tract infections and infections. Urinary tract infections are seen more often in middle-aged to senior cats, as well as cats with diabetes.
Be sure to pay attention to any abnormal behaviour, particularly surrounding your cat’s toileting routine.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Urinary Tract Infections in Cats
When you take your cat to the veterinarian, they will perform a complete medical examination, including palpitating the bladder to check if it is full. They will then generally perform some diagnostic tests to test your pet’s urine. An x-ray or ultrasound may also be used to evaluate the urinary tract.
Urine analysis will look for the presence of bacteria, red blood cells, white blood cells and urinary crystals. A sample of urine will be collected by cystocentesis, which involves inserting a fine needle through the abdominal wall and into the bladder.
Sydney’s Specialist Veterinarians
Sydney’s Eastside Veterinary Emergency and Specialists is fully equipped for specialty servicessuch as urine testing, ultrasounds and x-rays.
Your cat’s blood and urine can be tested on-site, with results available within minutes of collection. Eastside Vets also utilises external veterinary laboratories to perform tests that cannot be completed in-house.
For an appointment to test your cat’s urine, contact Eastside Veterinary clinic. If your pet is in pain and preventing symptoms that require emergency care, be sure to seek professional veterinarian assistance immediately.