How to Prevent Urinary Tract Infections in Cats

Cats and urinary tract infections are a combination no pet parent ever wants to have to worry about. 

Fortunately, there are measures we can take to reduce the chances of our felines being struck down by this nasty condition.  

What is a urinary tract infection?

A urinary tract infection in cats is a type of bacterial infection that affects the bladder and/or the urethra. 

UTIs in cats are not actually all that common, but when they do occur they can cause considerable pain and discomfort. 

Urine is formed and stored in the bladder until it flows from a cat’s body through their urethra.

If either of these body parts become infected, your cat will struggle to urinate normally.

These types of infections rarely emerge without an underlying cause already affecting the urinary tract (i.e. diabetes, bladder stones).

It is vitally important you contact your vet as soon as you notice UTI symptoms.

With proper treatment, the condition will usually resolve itself within a week.

Left untreated, a UTI in cats can lead to serious illness.

What are the signs that your cat has one?

  • Urination difficulty. One of the biggest indicators your cat may have a urinary tract infection is if they are struggling to urinate. Do they look in pain while using their litter box? Are they producing little to no urine? You may even hear them crying out while trying to urinate. This is not normal behaviour, and you should look to consult a vet immediately if it continues.
  • Increased frequency of urination. Having to clean up small puddles around the home may be frustrating for pet parents, but it’s equally as frustrating for a feline. Frequent urination, usually in small amounts, is a common symptom of UTIs. This constant urge to go comes because they are unable to completely empty their bladder.
  • Excessive cleaning around their genitals. If you’ve noticed your cat licking their genital area repeatedly, this could be a sign they are struggling with a UTI. Cats will use their tongue to try and soothe the irritation. However, all they are doing is potentially making it much worse for themselves. Constant rubbing will cause the area to redden, leading to even more pain when they urinate.
  • Drinking more water. Are you filling up your cat’s water bowl more than usual? Clean, fresh water is vital to a cat’s health, but when they’re lapping it up at a rapid rate they could be giving  you a clue that something isn’t quite right with their body. Never withhold water from a cat. Instead, make a note of how much they are drinking and show this to your vet.
  • Lethargy. Cats don’t always appear the most active of pets. However, if you’ve noticed their energy levels dropping to below what you would consider normal, there could well be an underlying health reason. Cats suffering with a UTI are known to sometimes begin exhibiting signs of lethargy, so it is worth bearing this in mind while looking out for other symptoms. 
  • Blood in the urine. A cat urinating blood could be down to several reasons. Stress, bladder stones, injury, or a UTI. While the sight of blood anywhere near your cat can obviously be quite alarming, if there are no other symptoms present it may just be a mild ailment. Speaking to a vet straight away will quickly put your mind at rest. 

What can you do to prevent a urinary tract infection for your cat?

Prevention is better than cure.

While there are plenty of treatments available for UCIs, there are also plenty of things pet parents can do to prevent one occurring in their cats.

First of all, always ensure they have access to fresh, clean water, and wash their bowl out regularly.

Hydration levels can also be topped up by feeding your cat wet food, that is if you don’t already as part of a complete and well-balanced diet.

Keep on top of cleaning out their litter box. This should be a place they feel relaxed using, so do all you can to make it that way. Placing two or three around the house should increase comfort.  

Minimise stress, too. Anxiety can lead to urinary problems in cats, so be aware of anything that might make them agitated. This could be a new pet in the home, a baby, disruption to their routine, even a change in diet

Food plays a huge role in keeping our felines fit and healthy. Feeding them meals that contain natural goodness – protein, fats, fibre vitamins and minerals – will strengthen their immune system, which serves as a protective barrier to infection and illness. 

No matter how hard we try to protect our cats though, sometimes they will just fall ill.

Seeking medical advice is then the best course of action. 

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