Is your cat urinating often? And, did you notice any blood spots in urine? Then, your kitty may need immediate veterinary attention!
Reports say that 3% of cats have urinary problems with either a urinary tract infection (UTI) or a blockage.
In medical terms, UTI is the presence of an infection in the urethra, bladder or the urinary system. This infection may also affect the kidneys and cause damage to other vital organs.
So, UTI requires accurate diagnosis and proper treatment. But as a feline owner, you have to know the preventing methods of UTI. Also, you have to always keep an eye on your cat’s urinating behavior.
This will help you to diagnose UTI in cats at the earliest possible and save him from major health issues. It is also recommended to know the causes of UTI in cats such that you will find the apt preventing methods.
What Causes UTI In Cats?
Bacterial infection is the predominant cause for UTI in felines. When bacteria grow and reproduce in the urethra and bladder, they lead to UTI.
But in some cases, this condition occurs in cats due to the formation of crystals or stones in the bladder. They lead to irritation in the lining of the urinary tract and partial or complete blockage of the urine flow.
A few bladder diseases may also cause UTI in cats.
Neoplasia – Presence of tumor in the urethra or bladder
Urethral obstruction – It is a blockage in the urethra.
Male cats are usually prone to it! So, it is quite difficult to identify the cause for UTI if your tabby doesn’t have kidney or bladder disease.
But, you can suspect the same through a few signs.
Signs of UTI In Cats
- Straining in the litter box
- Urinating outside the litter box
- Showing anxiety signs such as hiding or pacing
- Crying when urinating if it is painful
- Licking the genital area
- Strong urine odor
- Irritability in the urinary tract
When you find the above signs in your tabby, take it to the vet to confirm UTI or any other health issues.
How Do Vets Test For UTI In Cats?
The vet will confirm UTI in your cat in many ways.
The vet is able to find out the causes of UTI through physical examination. He will check for other signs including constipation, anatomical abnormalities, and physical trauma.
This procedure involves the study of a urine culture. The vet may recommend cystocentesis if he suspects any bacterial infection.
The vet will insert a needle into the cat’s bladder and collect the uncontaminated urine sample. Then, he places it in the lab for 48 hours for the growth of culture.
Later, he will study the urine culture through a microscope and detects the specific type of bacteria that cause UTI. This procedure will also reveal the presence of red blood cells, white blood cells, and crystals.
This procedure aids in identifying the stones or crystals in the cat’s urinary tract. The results of urinalysis will tell about the pH balance in urine, protein and glucose levels.
It also indicates the amount of blood present in urine. But, the vet may recommend a complete blood count to check out for any other health issues.
Ultrasound or X-rays
X-rays will help to locate the kidney or bladder stones. The vet is able to visualize the bladder tissues using an ultrasound examination.
How To Treat UTI In Cats?
Treatment for UTI depends on the causes of it. The vet may first prescribe antibacterial medications and recommend surgery in the worst cases.
It is the most commonly prescribed medication by the vets for UTI. Antibiotics provide immediate relief for UTI in cats.
But, the appropriate medication will be based on the urine culture results. And, it is vital to retake urinalysis to confirm whether there is no recurrence of infection with a course of antibiotics.
If the infection doesn’t go away, it is vital to investigate other underlying issues in cats.
In the cases of urolithiasis, surgery will remove the bladder stones. The vet may first recommend diet changes to dissolve the bladder stones.
He will prescribe a special diet to break up the stones and to prevent from the recurrence. If the stones do not dissolve with diet changes, the vet will advise for surgery.
In the case of urethral obstruction, the vet recommends for urethral plugs. He will provide anesthesia to your cat and insert the plugs into the urethra.
Plugs may be painful and make your tabby feel difficult to urinate. So, the vet may keep the cat in observation for a few days.
He will also use intravenous fluids or catheter in serious cases. The vet may also prescribe a special diet and painkillers to avoid the recurrence of blockage.
This treatment is useful in the cases of neoplasia. As the tumor goes to an advanced stage in this health condition, it is impossible to remove it.
So, the surgeons will reduce the size of the tumor through chemotherapy treatment. He may also prescribe NSAID pain relievers to reduce tumor inflammation.
Home Remedies For UTI In Cats
If you suspect UTI in your feline, you can prevent the recurrence of it with a few home remedies. They include natural herbs and are cost effective as well.
Uva Ursi Leaf
It is a natural astringent that is capable to attack pathogens that cause UTI. This lead will also reduce bladder inflammation and stop bleeding.
Apple Cider Vinegar
It helps in bacterial infection. As people use apple cider vinegar as a mild disinfectant, it helps to kill the bacteria in the urinary tract.
Raw apple cider vinegar, a prebiotic, will lead to the growth of good bacteria. Through this way, it removes the unhealthy bacteria from the urinary tract.
It also balances the alkalinity by removing the alkaline struvite crystals from the urinary tract.
It is the most effective supplement to treat UTI in felines. A natural sugar, it sticks to the E. coli bacteria and eliminates it when the cat urinates.
It is also present in cranberries. So, a way to treat UTI is to feed the cranberries.
The other effective herbs to treat UTI in cats are parsley leaves and marshmallow roots. Besides, improving the cat’s water intake is an effective way to treat UTI.
But, ensure that you provide pure water (i.e. free of fluoride and chlorine) to your tabby. Giving your cat watery food is necessary as plenty of moisture is important in tackling a UTI.
Changing the Environment
Reports also say that environmental changes reduce the recurrence rate of UTI to 80%. These changes will improve the habit of using the litter box in felines.
You can also improve the number of litter boxes at your home and ensure that they are clean. To get rid of UTI in your tabby, you must always follow the vet’s instructions.
And, the most important thing is to ensure that UTI is not recurring in your cat. If you suspect recurrence, consult your vet for advice.
Cat UTI Treatment Cost
The cost for UTI in cats depends on the treatment. It also varies with the location where you live and on the vet.