Cats and UTIs (Monthly Cat Care Article)

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photo by Clarabelle Fields

Disclaimer: the staff writers here are not vets nor are they qualified to give medical advice. This article’s purpose is strictly to share stories/information and should not be used for diagnostic purposes. Please take your cat to the vet if you suspect anything might be wrong with them. Your vet will know best what to do in your specific situation.

Last month, we talked about FLUTD/FIC, which are diseases that afflict cats’ urinary tracts. This month, we are continuing to look at urinary tract issues, this time focusing on a well-known, common problem: urinary tract infections (UTIs).

UTIs can affect both male and female cats, unlike FLUTD/FIC, which is much more common in male cats. UTIs more commonly affect older cats, cats with diabetes, and cats with FLUTD/FIC, with UTIs being most common in older female cats. The cause of most UTIs is relatively straightforward. Just like in humans, feline UTIs are caused by a bacterial infection of the urethra. If left untreated, the infection can spread into the bladder and kidneys, which can be very dangerous. Fortunately, UTIs can usually be treated with antibiotics, and with prompt, early treatment, most cats make full recoveries.

UTI warning signs include:

– Struggling to urinate. The cat passes small amounts of urine or none at all.

– Frequent trips to the litter box.

– Urinating outside the litter box.

– Discomfort while urinating. The cat might hiss or yowl in the litter box.

– Licking at the genitals.

– Restlessness, listlessness, maybe a fever.

– Blood in the urine.

If you observe any or some of these signs in your cat, take them to the vet right away and have them checked out. The earlier you catch any infections, the better, and the sooner you can get them started on antibiotic treatment. During and after treatment, however, it is important that you monitor them for additional signs of distress — sometimes the inflammation caused by the UTI can lead to the development of a urinary blockage, especially in male cats, so it’s important to stay vigilant and make sure your cat is not developing additional complications.

With quick treatment and the eye of a watchful, loving pet-parent, most cats can recover from their UTIs and go back to being their playful, happy selves in a short time. When in doubt, it’s always a good idea to ask a vet to make sure your fur-baby is okay.

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