Urinary tract infections (UTI) are just as bothersome for cats as they are for humans. They don’t just cause painful urination, but may even lead to serious kidney problems.
Cats develop lower urinary tract infections―commonly referred to as the feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD) by vets―rather frequently. The cat’s bladder and/or urethra are commonly affected by such infections. It is seen that urinary tract infections in cats are not as common as they are in dogs; nevertheless, they do exist and can make life difficult for them.
The most common cat urinary tract infection is urolithiasis, a condition in which stones are formed in the urinary tract by accumulation of crystals. It is a serious issue as it can block the urinary tract, thus preventing the passage of urine, which, in turn, puts pressure on the bladder and kidneys.
The condition can be attributed to a number of causes, including –
- Bacterial infection
- Viral infection
- Kidney problems
- Crystal formation
The exact cause will be determined by the vet after proper diagnosis.
Cats are very tolerant to pain and will show no sign of discomfort to their owners. They will play, cuddle, and purr as they normally do, in spite of underlying discomfort or pain. It is upon the owner to look out for the symptoms and subject the cat to prompt medical treatment. The following symptoms will help you determine if your pet cat has developed an infection –
- The cat will urinate outside the litter box; on the tile floor, bathtub sink, or around the corners.
- While the cat is urinating, it may yowl or cry due to pain.
- It will strain a lot while urinating.
- The cat will pass blood with urine.
- The urine will have a strong smell.
- The cat will be very thirsty most of the time.
- The bladder might turn red in color.
- The cat may lick the bladder area excessively and remain inactive most of the time.
Once the vet confirms a urinary tract infection, he will prescribe antibiotics to prevent its spread to surrounding regions. The dosage will be determined after taking into consideration the severity of the infection. If the condition is very severe, a surgery may be the only way out. As for home remedies, cranberry juice extract can be of some help, as it is known to stop the bacteria from adhering to the surface of the bladder.
Additionally, the vet may advise you to alter your cat’s diet. Foods with chemical preservatives and artificial colors are best avoided. Instead, you can opt for home-cooked meals that will help increase their immunity. Other than healthy food, your cat will also require plenty of fluids. It is important that your cat empties the bladder frequently to flush out the bacteria. If you find it difficult to make the cat drink water, then you can opt for chicken broth. You should keep clean water available at all times for the cat to drink.
If the cats diagnostic test shows the presence of crystals, then you will have to follow a special diet for it. The 6-week diet is primarily carried out to change the pH value of its urine. This will help dissolve the crystals.
You should not take the condition lightly as it may lead to serious complications. Always consult an expert, if you have slightest doubt about the same. It is better to target and curb the disease before it goes out of hand. Proper pet care will make sure your pet remains a healthy and happy.