Urinary tract infections in cats is a surprisingly big deal. It’s tough on both your pet and all family members, as it can be quite stressful and financially burdensome. In fact, urinary tract issues are one of the most common reasons cats are given up to shelters, or worse.
Fortunately, you can get ahead of a more serious situation and seek medical solutions if you learn the signs and symptoms of urinary tract disease.
Symptoms and Solutions
- Straining – If you notice your cat has started straining to urinate, then they may be suffering from feline idiopathic cystitis, also known as bladder inflammation. Cystitis is the most common cause of lower urinary tract disease in cats. It leads to straining and can eventually turn into a more severe emergency situation if they form stones in the bladder or turn into the formation of a urethral plug, which is life-threatening. In situations where smaller stones form a urethral plug, your cat, especially male cats, will become completely unable to urinate.
- Pain – Cats who suffer from urinary tract disease often experience painful urination. This pain can become so severe at times that cats will start obsessively licking themselves in effort to alleviate the pain and self-soothe. You’ll also find that cats are much more irritable and erratic in behavior when experiencing a urinary tract infection.
- Blood in Urine – One of the most common and visibly familiar signs of a urinary tract infection is blood in the urine. Urine may be obviously blood-tinged or brownish in color, like swamp water. This symptom is more common in female cats than in males.
- Increased Bathroom Frequency – Because urinary tract infections keep your cat from producing little to no urine each time they attempt to go to the bathroom, you will notice that they will be making more frequent visits to their litter box (and possibly other places around your house). This can be very frustrating, yes, but it’s also dangerous. When a cat is unable to urinate and get rid of toxic waste through their urine, the infection only builds in severity.
- Urinating Outside the Litter Box – If your cat starts to urinate outside of their litter box, and they’ve never done this before, it is reason for concern. If this new behavior is combined with any of the other above-mentioned symptoms, then your cat may have a urinary tract infection. Sometimes they do this simply out of a desperate attempt to evacuate their bladder, other times they are actually trying to show us that something is wrong.
If your cat is exhibiting one or more of these symptoms, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as possible, especially if your male cat has stopped urinating altogether. Your veterinarian will be able to collect a urine sample and test it to determine the severity of the infection as well as be able to advise you on the best course of treatment, ranging from a single round of antibiotics to surgery. Whatever you do, don’t wait!