Cat Urinary Tract Infection

Causes of Cat Urinary Tract Infection:

There are many conditions that can cause a cat urinary infection.  These include bacteria, fungus, parasites and viruses. Other causes include cat urinary stones and cancer.

Cat UTI (another name for urinary tract infection) occurs in approximately 1% to 3% of cats, particularly in younger or middle age cats, with bacteria identified as the most common cause of the problem.   However, this number jumps to 10% in cats who are 10 years of age and older or in cats that have diabetes.

A urinary tract infection is a sign that the immune system is not functioning properly (since it allowed the bacteria to colonize and take hold), so look for other signs of disease.  The problem could also have a simple cause, such as the introduction of bacteria into the cats system from a dirty litter box, with the bacteria entering the cat’s urethra from outside the body.

Symptoms of Cat Urinary Tract Infection

Cats that are suffering from a a feline urinary tract, bladder or urethra (tube that carries urine from the body) problem, usually increase their frequency of urination. You may also notice your cat experiencing other problems urinating such as straining during urination (often confused with constipation) or spending more time in the litter box.  You might even see your cat urinate in other areas of the home, particularly smooth, cold surfaces such as a sink.  The cat might also lick his or her genitals.

Cat blood in urine may also appear.

Diagnosis of Cat Urinary Tract Infection

It is sometimes difficult to diagnose the exact cause of a urinary tract problem in cats.  It is important to properly take a urine sample to avoid contamination of the sample that is used for a test called a urinalysis.  Be sure that your veterinarian uses a sterile syringe to take a urine sample, which  is inserted directly into the bladder (called cystocentesis). This process is safe and has no side effects in cats that are calm.  Samples that are collected off a table, from a bowl etc. are not sterile, and therefore can introduce bacteria into the process. Other sources of error are  delays in lab testing where bacteria can double in a warm urine sample every 40 minutes.

Ask your veterinarian to check for other problems that may have allowed the bacterial infection to take hold such as diabetes and cat bladder stones. When an infection takes hold, it indicates an immune system problem that is permanent or temporary. This is why checking for other underlying causes during a veterinary exam is important.

Treatment of Cat Urinary Tract Infection

If your cat is diagnosed with a cat urinary infection, or if you suspect an infection, there are a few steps you can take to help clear up the problem.  First, if you see any disruption after even 1 day in your cats ability to urinate, consult with a veterinarian immediately.  Second, if the condition appears mild, and is typical of the types of urinary problems that clear on their own, then consider supportive measures.

Supportive approaches for cat urinary infection start with the use of a homeopathic supplement formulated to boost urinary tract and immune system health such as UTI Free. Also, be sure to provide your cat with a continuous supply of fresh water.  Even consider adding a second water dish at a location in the home that your cat likes to visit. A berry based juice in the water, such as cranberry, can also help, as berries contain natural properties which prevent bacteria from clinging to the bladder wall (the same reason cranberry juice is recommended for humans).

For cases where a cat urinary tract infection has taken hold, see a veterinarian for antibiotic therapy.  Along with the antibiotics, which are a specific therapy for the cat uti condition, use the UTI Free as a supportive approach to speed healing, and to prevent a relapse of the problem.

If a cat frequently contracts urinary infections, consider a switch to a canned food, since these foods have additional moisture content vs. dry foods. Cats prefer to get their moisture from food vs. drinking water directly. The veterinarian will also begin to look at other causes as well, including the need to change medications.   Studies show that 85% of cats that have a single episode of cat UTI do not suffer from a re-occurrence of the infection.

References:

Cornell University School of Veterinary Medicine

Pet Alive

Urinary Tract Infection – A European Perspective
Bernhard Gerber
Dr. Med. Vet., Dip. ACVIM & ECVIM-CA
Assistant Professor
Clinic for Small Animal Internal Medicine,
Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Zurich,
Zurich, Switzerland

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