Urinary tract infection is common amongst feline pets. In fact, veterinarians name it as one of the top conditions amongst felines brought into their clinics. When a cat develops UTI, the condition tends to flare up every so often. When it does, it is never a pleasant experience for you and your cat. What can you do to help your feline friend be free of it?
In this article, we will talk about the causes of feline urinary tract infections and the signs of the disease. We will also discuss UTI treatment options and preventive measures. Getting a good grasp of all these aspects can help ensure that your cat will be less affected by UTI in future.
Cat UTI Causes
Feline urinary tract infection is caused by bacteria in the urinary tract. It may also be due to higher urine pH levels (influenced by diet) and crystals in the tract.
Constantly holding in urine for lengthy periods can also lead to the development of UTI. Cats may do this at times when they are unable to go out to potty due to bad weather. Some feline pets may also hold in their urine because they find their litter tray dirty. It can also be that they do not like the new type of litter used or that the tray is not positioned favourably.
Further, cats with diabetes are likely to develop UTI. This is because their urine’s composition makes it viable for bacterial growth. Overweight cats are also likely to develop UTI, as shown in one study. This is probably because of changes in pH levels or the development of extra skinfolds that make bacterial growth more likely.
Symptoms of UTI in Cats
Here are the symptoms of a urinary tract infection in a cat:
- Frequent urination
On some attempts, the cat cannot pee at all. Despite this, he will still try to do so throughout the day, even at night.
- Vocalisation or strain whilst urinating
Urinating is painful for feline pets with UTI due to an inflamed bladder. As such, the cat will likely meow or cry more than the usual when attempting to urinate. He is also likely to hunch up whilst urinating.
- Accidental urination outside the litter tray or potty area
This may be due to a difficulty in controlling urinary functions as the feline tract is impaired by the bacterial infection.
- Small amounts of urine are produced with each attempt
- Presence of blood in urine
The urine has a darker hue and is discoloured.
- More frequent water drinking
This may be triggered by their need to pee often.
- Irritable demeanour and other unusual behaviours
The pain and discomfort caused by the infection can trigger increased irritability in your pet. He may also lick his genitals more often to soothe himself. Your feline friend may also likely hide more than usual and dislike being touched.
Can your cat die from a urinary tract infection? If the condition is not treated, it will advance and affect other organs. It can develop into a kidney infection and even a urinary tract blockage, which can be fatal.
Treatment for Cat UTI
If you suspect that your cat is affected by UTI, a veterinarian’s diagnosis will confirm it. Vets usually treat the condition with antibiotics. The treatment may likely span 10–14 days for cats that caught the urinary tract infection for the first time. For feline pets with a recurring UTI, the antibiotic treatment may go on for 3–4 weeks.
Aside from the cat UTI medication, the feline will be put on a special diet to promote better recovery. A predominantly wet diet, for example, will help boost water consumption in the cat. Canned meat or raw food are some examples. This can lessen the saturation of the cat’s urine. Encouraging the affected pet to drink more water also helps.
Further, giving ascorbic acid or cranberry capsules can increase urine acidity, which can prevent the build-up of crystals. However, the acid intake should be monitored carefully as too much can also be detrimental.
Preventing Cat UTI
It is easy to prevent UTI in cats.
- A key factor to it is providing plenty of drinking water to your feline friend. This will help keep the urine from becoming too saturated and developing crystals. It will also help to continually flush out bacteria and keep them from building up to dangerous levels.
- Also, keeping your pet’s litter tray clean and easy to access will prevent him from holding his urine in. If you have more than one cat, you should provide additional litter trays.
- Adding D-mannose powder to your cat’s diet can help prevent urinary tract infection. It is safe for your pet to consume and will not affect pH and blood sugar levels. It attracts the bacteria from the bladder wall and draws them out when your pet urinates. Add D-mannose to your cat’s food for a week each month as a preventive measure. If your pet had a recurring UTI episode, add D-mannose every day.
Early detection is key to successfully treating UTI. Observe any changes in your cat’s routine and behaviour so you can address the signs before they become worse.
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