The general term for most urinary tract infections in cats is Idiopathic Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease, or IFLUTD for short. Additionally, a urinary tract infection in cats can be mild, but can also be quite serious, and in some cases, lead to a painful death, so it is important to get your cat treated if they have a urinary tract infection. Here we will look at the causes, symptoms, and the treatments for this unwelcome infection, so you know what to do if and when the time comes.
IFLUTD covers most of the urinary tract infections including, blood in the urine, frequently passing urine, urinating in inappropriate locations, painful urination and partial, or complete blockage of the urethra. Furthermore, other terms associated with urinary tract infections are Feline Idiopathic Cystitis, or FIC, Feline Urologic Syndrome, or FUS and Interstitial Cystitis. That being said, all of these are all associated with the urethra, a tube that runs between the bladder, and the outside of the body to aid in urination.
This can occur in both male and female cats, and although it only effects about one percent of the cats per year approximately, in both the UK and the US, it is still a concern for cat owners. There is no one cause as such, but there are theories that suggest it could be brought on by viruses, or a non infectious disease like painful bladder syndrome, or interstitial cystitis, which is an inflammation of the bladder. Although not a cause, stress is thought to play a part in the cause, or at least making the condition worse due to a lower immune system.
Moreover, other causes of a urinary tract infection can be stones, crystals in the bladder, a urethra causing a blockage, a weak bladder, incontinence from excessive drinking of water, injury to the urinary tract, or a tumor. That said, a cat with a congenital abnormality or spinal cord problems can also result in urinary tract infections too. Other diseases, or conditions like hyperthyroidism or diabetes in cats can also increase the risk of a urinary tract infection.
Keeping that in mind, your vet can diagnose this infection by taking urine samples, and giving them a thorough screening, as well as taking blood samples. These will rule out, or confirm if it is a parasitic disease, fungal or bacterial, which is causing the problem. In addition, X-rays may be taken to rule out, or confirm if it is kidney stones, and your vet may even perform a Cystocopy, which can check for polyps, cysts or stones that may be in the urinary tract. If, there is a blockage, your cat will probably be kept in for diagnosis and management.
However, if there is no blockage then treatment will probably be as an out patient, although they may require a short stay, to be monitored. For cats that have a reoccurring problem with stones or crystals, the vet will probably recommend a different diet to the one your cat has been on. The aim would be to increase urination volume, and the flushing of the bladder regularly. Moreover, your vet may recommend using a moist food as opposed to dry foods to minimize the recurrence of these crystals or stones.
In addition, your veterinarian will probably want to continue to monitor your cats urine and blood for a few weeks afterwards. He will also recommend if a special diet is necessary to aid healing, and prevent recurrence. If the vet prescribes you any type of medication, it is wise to ensure you give them at the specified time, and for the duration that the medications states, even if your cat seems better, you should always finish the prescribed medication.
Once treatment of the urinary tract infection has been completed, you will still want to be diligent. Surgery can increase the chances of infection, if your cat has had to have surgery, and there could be some trauma involved if catheters have had to be used. Having said that, you should keep stress levels down to a minimum, and keep the cat inside for a few weeks afterwards. Scarring from surgery may make the urethra narrow, leading to more difficulty in urination, so you should keep an eye out for signs of this taking place, and report anything that doesn’t seem right to your vet on the next visit. It should be noted that there are also natural pet products available, such as the one below, that provide effective relief for this condition and can be purchased from Amazon.
Furthermore, you should see signs that the urinary tract infection is getting much better between four, and seven days after treatment has finished. If, the symptoms do not improve then you will need to return to your veterinarian. With that said, It is always good to observe your cat as often as you possibly can during the treatment, and after treatment and make a note of the cats progress. A daily diary will help you enable to look back, and see your cats progress and bring up any points to the vet the next time you visit for a follow up.
In addition, some signs to look for in a cat that has started to develop a urinary tract infection are, unable to pass any urine, or very small amounts. Moreover, the more severe the infection it can also cause a bloody, or cloudy urine, which can be a sign also. Moreover, some cat’s can have a constant licking of the urinary vent, or prolonged squatting in the litter box, yet another sign to watch out for. More obvious signs are, the cat crying in pain when trying to urinate, avoidance of the litter box due to associating it with pain with the litter box when trying to urinate, therefore, this can now also lead to the cat starting to instead urinate in inappropriate places. That said, other more serious signs of this infection taking hold would be for the cat to start vomiting, becoming lethargic, and sometimes a hardened abdomen can also be warning signs.
Even though urinary tract infection in cats is quite rare, and will probably never happen to your cat, it’s always a good thing to be informed, and know about the possibility of this condition. Knowing what to look for, and seeing the signs early on can make a big difference in the treatment of this sometimes painful condition. Nevertheless, a lot can depend on what the diagnosis was in the beginning, but if it has been established that your cat’s illness was brought on by its environment, or something in the home, be prepared to make the necessary changes, to ensure their infection is caught for a speedy recover.