When your furry family member is sick, they might not always let you know that they’re feeling unwell. A cat, in particular, maybe sick, and you might not know. As we all know, medical conditions can pop up with little to no warning to your furry friends. If you are new to pet ownership, cats and urinary tract infections could become a common occurrence. We sat down with Trupanion veterinarian Dr. Caroline Wilde to learn more about cats and urinary tract infections and the best course of action to achieve optimum wellness for your feline friends.
The truth about cats and urinary tract infections
What is a urinary tract infection?
Unfortunately, a urinary tract infection can affect cats of all ages, shapes, and sizes. Wilde clues us in on what constitutes a urinary tract infection.
“A urinary tract infection generally refers to a bacterial infection of the urinary bladder. Also, a urinary tract infection is diagnosed by urinalysis and/or urine culture and sensitivity. For example, radiographs and an abdominal ultrasound may be performed to rule out stones and other abnormalities of the urinary bladder or urethra. Further, bloodwork may be performed to rule out predisposing factors for UTI, such as chronic kidney disease or Diabetes.”
Whether you have a kitten or an adult cat, a urinary tract infection can occur at any time. Wilde points out the common signs of a urinary tract infection in cats to look for:
Urinating outside the box
Frequent urination or frequent trips to the litter box
Blood in the urine
Pain or discomfort on urination
Owner may also notice an increase in thirst
Blocking can occur in both kittens and adult cats.
In addition, “these signs can also be indications of sterile cystitis, where there is inflammation of the bladder in the absence of infection (which most frequently occurs in young female cats). Further, urethral obstruction or ‘blocking’ is common in male cats. This can result in frequent trips to the litter box, and vocalization associated with urination, straining to urinate, and/or vomiting. Rather, in a younger male cat, urethral obstruction is more likely to be associated with crystal formation (which can be diet-related). Rather, in older male cats, it is more often associated with bladder stones,” states Wilde.
How do cats get urinary tract infections?
As a cat owner, you want to do everything you can to ensure your feline friend’s health and happiness. For instance, it may be hard to know how your pet gets sick or why. “Cats get urinary tract infections when bacteria ascend the urethra. For example, certain conditions can predispose cats to develop UTIs, such as Diabetes mellitus, chronic kidney disease, and bladder or kidney stones,” says Wilde.
A treatment plan for urinary tract infections in cats
If your cat has been diagnosed with a urinary tract infection, there are a variety of treatment options available.
Wilde weighs in on the potential treatment plans you may encounter for your furry friend:
“Antibiotics are generally indicated for the treatment of a UTI. Also, dietary modifications may be indicated for the management and prevention of UTI’s. In addition, canned food may help increase fluid intake and help flush the bladder and ease discomfort. Further, if the urinary tract infection is associated with bladder stones, surgery may be needed, and depending on the type of stones present, a prescription diet can be used to dissolve the stones and help prevent future stone formation.”
Recovery for your feline friend
Meanwhile, recovery from an illness can take time. Most importantly, consider taking the time to give your feline friend extra cuddles and snuggles. Fortunately, by checking in with your veterinarian, staying on your cat’s prescribed treatment plan, and monitoring your pet’s progress your furry friend will be on their road to recovery in no time.
is a digital content writer and editor for Trupanion. She spends her workday writing for the Trupanion blog. She loves writing about pets, being inspired by pets, and luckily gets to hang out with her rescue dogs all day long. In her free time, she enjoys exploring and traveling with her family. Her work has been featured on the DOGTV blog, KitNipBox blog, Get Your Pet blog, Fansided, among many others.