Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD) is a broad term used for a range of conditions relating to the urinary tract in cats, including feline urinary tract infection. Feline urinary tract infection can affect the bladder and the urethra – the tube where the urine travels from the bladder to the outside of the body. Urinary tract infection in cats is a serious problem that needs to be diagnosed and treated by your vet right away.
Feline urinary tract infection can happen in any cat, but it seems to be more common in males. Symptoms of FLUTD or feline urinary tract infection can include:
- Straining to urinate either in or out of the litter box and producing little or no urine (sometimes this is mistakenly interpreted as constipation)
- Blood in the urine
- Pain while urinating (noted by howling or meowing)
- Urinating outside of the litter box or other unusual places
- Frequently licking the genital area, because of discomfort
- Decreased appetite
- Depression or lethargy
If your cat hasn’t been using the litter box regularly you may also want to do some research on how to remove cat urine so you can properly clean the affected area.
The Dangers of Feline Urinary Tract Infection
Some cats with feline urinary tract infection can develop crystals in their urine. These crystals can block the urethra and prevent the cat from urinating. Unfortunately the bladder still fills even though the cat can’t expel the urine in the bladder.
A complete urinary obstruction is very serious and can be life threatening. If you notice your cat hasn’t been able to urinate seek medical attention right away, especially if he is showing other symptoms of feline urinary tract infection. Cats with a urinary obstruction can suffer from irreversible kidney damage or even death. A matter of hours can determine whether your cats outcome will be successful or if it will involve a lengthy hospital stay or even death.
Diagnosing Feline Urinary Tract Infection
The veterinarian will need to preform a physical examination of the cat and take a urine sample for a urinalysis.
While diagnosing a cat urinary tract infection the veterinarian will likely check for crystals, bacteria, blood or white blood cells in the urine as well as bladder stones. They may also test the cat’s blood to see if the cat urinary tract infection may be a symptom of another health problem.
Treatment of Feline Urinary Tract Infection
If the cat has a blockage of the urethra he will need to be put under and have a catheter inserted to remove the blockage and drain the bladder. He will then likely be prescribed fluids and antibiotics.
If the cause of the feline urinary tract infection is thought to be from a bacterial infection antibiotics will be prescribed.
Part of the treatment of urinary tract infection in cats involves a permanent change of diet. The change in diet will include an emphasis on hydration, meaning high quality moist foods instead of dry food and plenty of fresh water.
Preventing Urinary Tract Infection in Cats
Cats that have had a feline urinary tract infection are more likely to have cat urinary problems again in the future. Preventing a urinary infection in the first place can help save you and your feline friend from the discomfort and anxiety of dealing with this unpleasant feline health problem.
Things you can do to help prevent or lessen the occurrence of feline urinary tract infections:
- Feed your cat a high quality moist diet (raw or canned food). Cats with a history of feline urinary tract infections shouldn’t be fed an exclusively dry food diet.
- Hydration is key for the health of the feline urinary tract. Make sure there is plenty of fresh water available for your cat. You may want to try putting water in different types of containers in various rooms of your house to see what helps your cat drink regularly. You might want to look into a Drinkwell Pet Fountain or other type of drinking fountain providing filtered water.
- Avoid or reduce cat stress caused by changes to the normal routine (moving, new pets or housemates for example). Also provide your feline friend with scratching posts, toys and quality time together.
- Clean the litter box daily.
A Feline urinary tract infection is a serious and often painful condition for your cat. If there are crystals obstructing the urethra it can become life-threatening. If you notice signs there may be a cat urinary tract infection take your cat to the veterinarian for diagnosis and treatment right away. A matter of hours can make a difference with this cat illness._____________________________________