Urinary Tract infection in Cats……….Does my cat have one?
The last thing you need is to worry that your beloved cat has a UTI, however it is less common than you think. Cats can get some weird things, and they are probably the most misunderstood animal that we have as pets. They give limited feedback to us cat owners out there, and its usually in the form of a missed litter box visit that happened to be a favorite pillow.
There are several reasons for a cat to miss their litter box other than a Urinary Tract Infection, but before rushing down to your local pet store and trying to find a holistic approach to kitty kidney stones, lets figure out what exactly it means for a cat to have a Urinary tract infection (UTI).
One of the first signs that something is wrong, is your cat’s behavior inside your home, are they lethargic?
Get them to the vet today!
Are they avoiding eating, or crying when they urinate? Also, take them in today!
Cats can only tell us so much with their vocalization methods, mostly that they are hungry and you’re still sleeping.
What is a UTI…. And how do I know if My cat has one
A Urinary Tract infection in your cat occurs in the lower tract (below the kidneys). It can be a scary thing to think about, however, cats are Extremely susceptible to getting a UTI, However most of the time, the problem is usually something less serious. According to a petMD, 3% of cats seen by a veterinarian have a UTI, and is a common occurrence among a list of other problems. Meaning that your cat probably has a UTI, but in conjunction with other health problems that were not caught early on.
The most common symptoms are:
- bloody urination,
- licking the infected area,
- Crying when urinating, (probably the most obvious sign that your cat needs to go to the vet)
- Hardened abdomen
- smelly urine
- trouble holding it in (eliminating on your carpet unexpectedly)
A Urinary Tract infection in a cat is pretty much the same thing as it is in a human, bacteria build up in the urinary tract has caused an infection. The two most common types of bacteria found are E.coli, and enterococcus faecalis, or E. Faecalis (commonly found in the bowel area’s of mammals).
It’s probably nothing, my cat is only 3 years old.
Older female cats are most at risk according to a study Published in 2009 In the Veterinary Microbiology Journal. This doesn’t mean that older kitties are going to get it, but it does mean that if you have an older female cat, you should pay more attention to them.
This information is conflicting with other reports that male cats are at a higher risk, but since this is a peer reviewed journal, it seems like a much more reliable source.
If you suspect your cat has a UTI, you need to take them into your Vet, so that they can determine what the cause of their discomfort is. Think about it for a second, this is a living creature, and if children can get sick, so can your cat.
Age is a factor in a relationship to the older they get the more prone to disease cats are, this is just a correlation with age, not a cause. Cats can get sick at any age, although for a UTI, petmd puts the most common age around 4 years old.
Could it be something else?
Most likely it is something else, For instance male cats may have a blockage instead of an infection, sometimes it could even be a behavioral issue. Some cats have severe chronic lower urinary tract infections. Kidney disease in cats is also slightly more common and can be an early indicator that your cat may have some issues.
Kidney disease has similar symptoms such as:
- Litter box avoidance
- Bloody urine
- Weight loss
- Mouth Ulcers
And some other more common symptoms seen in cats. You want to take your cat to the veterinarian at any sign of trouble. Stumbling around like they are drunk, would most likely be an emergency, as toxins have probably entered the blood stream.
Not to fret, according to WebMD, Kidney disease shows up over time, it’s a slow process and can be caught early on. If caught early enough most cats will be fine, a few diet changes, and they are on their way.
Cats could develop several issues over time, or even early on in their feline lives. Feline diabetes, mouth ulcers, tooth decay, kidney disease , cancer, leukemia (so sad), and other more serious diseases. Sometimes the UTI is just the one that sends you to the vet because of their symptoms.
Putting it all together……….It’s probably not that bad.
Cats are very independent creatures and are seldom vocal about their needs, (a little sarcasm there). We must pay attention to the little things to determine if there is a problem or a need to make a change. Cats that have a higher urine Ph, may be more susceptible to certain types of urinary infections. It is also hypothesized that cats with lower Urine specific Gravity (concentration of urine), have lower counts of Leukocyte and protein.
Whatever the case if there is any change in behavior from your cat, you need to take them to the veterinarian.
Sometimes, a simple change in diet is all they need before winding up with an actual UTI, or kidney disease. You could also try one of the alternative litters that will help detect problems early on. They basically either change colors or will provide a test kit for you to test out your cat’s urine and determine what the cause is. It is not a full urinalysis such as what a veterinarian would do if they thought your cat had a UTI, but it gives a starting point with your vet (and could even save you some worry).
Litster, A., Moss, S., Platell, J., & Trott, D. J. (2009). Occult bacterial lower urinary tract infections in cats—Urinalysis and culture findings. Veterinary Microbiology, 136(1-2), 130-134. doi:10.1016/j.vetmic.2008.10.019
We can do a lot just by paying attention more to their behaviors, what is your cat telling you?