Warning Signs of UTIs in Cats and Treatment

cat drinking water.

Going to the bathroom without incident is something many cat owners take for granted. Their cats simply enter their boxes, conduct important business, and hop out afterwards. While their cats may have strong opinions about the litter quality and scooping schedule, their bathroom habits are relatively uneventful. Unfortunately, not all cats experience such relief and satisfaction. Urinary issues in cats are fairly common, and the warning signs of UTIs in cats are worth recognizing and treating. 

Cat Anatomy

Urinary issues in cats affect the urinary tract, which includes the kidneys, bladder, urethra, and ureters. Infection of any of these parts of the urinary tract is common, but issues can also stem from obstruction or injury to the area. 

Responsible for filtering the body’s waste, the kidneys move toxins from the blood and waste through small tubes called ureters. Arriving in the bladder, the kidney’s waste and urine stay until it is excreted out through the urethra. 

Urinary issues in cats are sometimes separated by their location in the body. Lower UITs affect the bladder and urethra; Upper UITs concern the ureters and kidneys. 

Adjusting the Scope

Warning signs of UITs in cats include:

  • Frequent urination with little output
  • Inability to pass urine
  • Peeing outside their litter box
  • Crying or straining before or during elimination
  • Bloody urine
  • Hiding
  • Not eating or drinking 
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Disinterest in being picked up or held

There are varying degrees of causes and symptoms; however, the inability to urinate should be viewed as a pet emergency. Please do not wait to have your cat examined and tested for any urinary issues. 

What You Can Expect

A physical exam of a cat with urinary issues is critical to moving forward with other diagnostics, such as ultrasound, X-rays, urinalysis, and blood work. 

Once we determine the cause of UTIs in cats, we can create a treatment plan. Medication and/or prescription diet can reduce symptoms and prevent future issues. However, depending on the cause of urinary issues in cats, surgical treatment may be required to remove obstruction. It is necessary to monitor cats in recovery, and test them regularly for repeated problems. 

Your Best Defense

Cat owners can make simple changes to their cat’s routine that have a big impact on wellness. For starters, take a daily inventory of their eating and drinking habits. Compare these findings with their litter box habits. Be sure to keep their box clean and fresh-smelling to keep them coming back. Maintain the rule of one box per cat, plus one. 

Keep clean bowls of fresh water around the house. While cats don’t have a huge thirst drive, they do need about 4 ounces of clean water per pound of body weight. Speaking of weight, a healthy weight may stave off urinary issues in cats. Up their exercise game every day to keep them trim, reduce treats, and measure meal portions every day.

Our team at South Seminole Animal Hospital is always here to help your cat. Please give us a call at (407) 831‑5205 with any questions or concerns.