Urinary tract infections can be painful, dangerous or even fatal for your cat, but what can you do to help them avoid or overcome these conditions?
Does My Cat Have a UTI?
There are several symptoms to watch for that could indicate a urinary tract infection in your feline friend. Common symptoms include…
- Frequent urination, even without passing much liquid
- Avoiding the litterbox or urinating away from the box
- Strong odor to the urine
- Bloody or cloudy urine
- Hard, swollen abdomen indicating urine buildup
- Frequent licking of the genitals
- Excessive drinking
Each of these symptoms can also indicate other disorders, however, and it is critical to have a veterinarian properly diagnose a urinary tract infection to ensure the most suitable, effective treatment. While all cats may be subject to occasional UTIs, the most common causes of these painful infections include…
- Kidney stones
- Bladder inflammation
- Urinary tract tumors or growths
- Stress or anxiety
- General incontinence
- Urinary tract injuries
With proper diagnosis, your veterinarian can determine the cause of your cat's infection and recommend the best possible treatment to relieve the condition.
Treating Your Cat's UTI
The exact treatment for a cat's urinary tract infection will depend on the severity of the infection and its precise cause. In many cases, a regimen of antibiotics or other medication will be necessary, and all the medication should be administered to your cat even if they show signs of improvement. Other possible treatment options include…
- Creating a Low-Stress Environment: Because high anxiety can use UTIs, adjusting your cat's environment for lower stress can help alleviate these infections. Allow your cat access to see out windows, crack a window for natural air flow, provide more stimulating toys and take time to bond with your cat to lower their stress and improve their health.
- Dietary Changes: A principally dry, lackluster diet can contribute to your cat's urinary tract infections. Instead, change to wet canned food and entice your cat with tastier tidbits. The healthier their diet, the more they will be able to fight infections and recover quickly. Low salt cat food formulas can also be helpful for cats prone to UTIs.
- Increase Water Intake: While cats will not naturally slake their thirst at the water bowl, keeping more water available can help improve their water intake and alleviate UTIs. Provide multiple water bowls in convenient locations, and refresh the water daily to improve its flavor and appeal for even the pickiest cats. A splash of tuna or chicken juice in the water bowl may also help encourage more drinking.
In extreme cases, a urinary tract infection may require catheterization, surgery or hospitalization. Your veterinarian will choose the most effective treatment methods to help your cat recover.
Preventing Future Infections
It can be traumatic to work through your cat's UTI, but fortunately prevention is relatively easy and can spare your cat the agony of these infections. The same steps that may be used to treat mild infections – lowering stress, changing diet, improving water intake – can help keep feline UTIs from recurring. Stay alert to your cat's urination behavior at all times, examining clumps in the litter to ensure your pet is passing enough water, and you will be able to seek veterinary guidance as soon as possible in case of an infection.