Cat Urinary Tract Infections

Written by Kathleen Gagne
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If a cat's litter box behavior changes radically over the course of a couple of days, it could mean that the pet is suffering from a cat urinary tract infection. A cat with an infection might spend an inordinate amount of time in the litter box with very little urine expelled. She might even urinate in unusual places such as on a bed or carpet. In male cats, there can be very painful blockage of urine flow. Both male and female cats may exhibit bloody spots in their urine as well.

Diagnosis and Treatment

In the past, FLUT (Feline Lower Urinary Tract) infections were simply called FUS (Feline Urologic Syndrome) and were generally called bladder infections. There are, however, many different causes for FLUT, and up to 50 percent of the time, the cause is not determined. Some of the causes include bladder stones, a urethral blockage, and a true infection. In older cats, the cause is usually a urinary tract infection.

If an older cat exhibits symptoms of a UTI, your vet may want to do blood tests and a urinalysis. Some cats with UTIs may also be dealing with kidney failure, and it is important to know that up front. In many cases, vets do minimal testing on younger cats since it is so difficult to determine a specific cause. Common treatment plans include increasing the availability of water. Cats who eat a significant amount of canned food tend not to have as many urinary issues. Since stress can be a factor in urinary tract infections, anti-anxiety medication is sometimes an option. Anti-spasmodics can help reduce urethral spasms and can dilate the urethra. Antibiotics are also prescribed fairly often.

Check with Your Vet

If you suspect that your pet is experiencing any urinary problems, it's important to contact your vet as soon as possible. Untreated urinary infections or problems can lead to serious kidney and bladder illness. Your vet will be able to tell by touch if your cat's bladder is full, and she may run tests to confirm or rule out infection. She will also create a treatment plan with which you will most likely include some of the actions noted above. Again, it is very important to catch any urinary infections or problems quickly.

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