Cats rule the world, or maybe it just feels that way to their owners. Our feline companions can be the light of our lives. Pets can turn any bad day into paw-somely purr-fect one. However, when your furry friend isn’t feeling their best, it can cause stress both for the cat and you as a pet parent.
Because February is National Cat Health Month, we would like to highlight a common feline issue: urinary tract infection (UTI). This time of year, we see more cases of UTIs, especially in males.
Recognizing a Cat Urinary Tract Infection
If you have been a lifelong cat owner, you can probably recite the signs of a UTI in your sleep. Here’s a list for any new pet parents or anyone who might be unfamiliar with how a urinary tract infection can present in cats.
Symptoms of a urinary tract infection in a cat:
- Excessive grooming or licking of the genital or abdominal areas
- Frequent attempts to urinate, including multiple trips to the litter box
- Urinating in unusual places outside of the litter box, especially on a cool surface like tile or the bathtub
- Abnormal smelling urine
- Absence of large clumps in the litter box
- Straining to urinate or crying out while urinating
- Discolored urine or blood in urine
The most common symptom is when the cat is no longer going to the bathroom in their litter box. Do not assume this is a behavior issue. Take your feline companion to the vet to rule out a urinary tract infection or other serious problem.
At Heritage Animal Hospital, we try to resolve any issue as quickly as possible and with minimal discomfort for the pet. When a patient arrives with a suspected urinary tract infection, we start with a physical exam and collect urine samples. Depending on symptoms and severity, we may also recommend blood work or x-rays.
Although some urinary tract infections can heal on their own, if needed, we will prescribe antibiotics. Following all the instructions a vet gives you is the best way to ensure that a relapse or reinfection does not occur. Reinfection could point to an underlying or more serious issue. We like to follow up with our patients with a retest after they’ve finished the antibiotic treatment.
Early diagnosis of a UTI will help minimize the discomfort and dangers for your cat. An untreated UTI can result in considerably more harmful conditions, including kidney infections or, in rare cases, acute kidney failure. So please see a vet as soon as possible to get an accurate diagnosis and treatment.
Reducing stress for your pet
Reducing stress for your pet can help prevent urinary tract infections from coming back or developing into a more serious condition.
Try these tips for reducing stress for your cat:
- Spend more time together.
- Give your feline friend access to windows or more toys.
- Regularly clean litter boxes or increase the number of available litter boxes.
Catching a urinary tract infection early can help ease the stress and discomfort for both you and your cat. If you have questions or need to schedule an appointment, please contact us.