Help! My Cat Has A Urinary Tract Infection

Here’s what to do 🙀

cat urinary tract infection

If you’ve ever had a urinary tract infection (UTI), you know it’s no fun and can even become serious if left untreated.

Well, cats can develop UTIs, too, so it’s important to know how they get them so you can prevent infection in your own pet.

The Dodo spoke with Dr. Chyrle Bonk, a veterinarian working with Doggie Designer, to find out everything you need to know about urinary tract infections in cats.

What is a urinary tract infection in cats?

A urinary tract infection in cats is a type of bladder infection.

“A urinary tract infection in cats is when bacteria get into the normally sterile urinary bladder,” Dr. Bonk told The Dodo.

UTIs in cats can quickly become dangerous if they aren’t taken care of right away.

“If left untreated, urinary tract infections can move into the kidneys, where they can cause serious complications,” Dr. Bonk said. “UTIs may also lead to the formation of bladder stones, which can block the urethra and lead to rupture of the urinary bladder.”

How do cats get urinary tract infections?


Cats get urinary tract infections when bacteria winds up in their bladder, and a common source of bacteria is an unclean litter box.

“Cats normally get UTIs from a dirty litter box,” Dr. Bonk said. “Bacteria on feces can travel up the urethra when a cat squats to urinate.”

While both male and female cats can get UTIs, females are more prone to infection.

“UTIs are more common in females than males due to the size of the urethra,” Dr. Bonk said.

Certain chronic illnesses can make your cat more susceptible, too.

“Cats with diabetes and those prone to urinary crystals and stones are more likely to develop UTIs,” Dr. Bonk said.

What are the symptoms of cat urinary tract infections?

There are several symptoms your cat might be experiencing if she has a urinary tract infection, like:

  • Pain or discomfort while urinating
  • Crying or howling while urinating
  • Passing little or no urine
  • Frequent urination
  • Bladder inflammation
  • Decreased appetite
  • Bladder stones
  • Urinary blockage
  • Bladder rupture

If you notice any of these symptoms, reach out to your vet right away. If an untreated UTI progresses to a kidney infection, it could be fatal.

What’s the treatment for cat urinary tract infections?

Treatment for cat urinary tract infections requires antibiotics to fully clear out the bacteria in your pet’s bladder.

“Most UTIs will respond to antibiotics,” Dr. Bonk said. “Your veterinarian may do a urine culture in order to determine the best antibiotic to use.”

If your cat developed stones or crystals, you might need to have them removed (although this won’t clear up the actual infection — you’ll still need antibiotics for that).

“Occasionally, urinary stones may need to be removed surgically,” Dr. Bonk said.

Are there home remedies for cat urinary tract infections?

Home remedies for cat urinary tract infections do exist, but these are more for treating symptoms and irritation, not the infection itself.

“There are some home remedies to treat lower urinary tract irritation, but actual urinary tract infections typically require antibiotics,” Dr. Bonk said.

Home remedies are super helpful but should be paired with antibiotics (which your vet can prescribe), since that’s the only thing that will treat the infection.

Cat food for urinary health

There are a ton of cat foods out there specifically designed to promote urinary health. These can be useful if your cat’s struggling with bladder stones.

“Most urinary diets for cats are formulated to prevent and treat crystals rather than urinary tract infections,” Dr. Bonk said. “They do this by having reduced amounts of minerals like calcium, phosphorus and magnesium. They also work to make the urine slightly acidic to help prevent crystal formation.”

Try Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Urinary SO dry food from Chewy for $72.99

Or Hill’s Prescription Diet Multicare Urinary Care canned food from Chewy for $50.99

Hydration

Keeping your cat hydrated will make her urinate more frequently, which will help her flush out any bacteria in her urethra before it gets to her bladder.

We tested out the Catit LED Flower Fountain on our own pets, and they actually drank more water because of it, which is why we gave it our official Paw of Approval.

Get it from Amazon for $29.99

Keeping the litter box clean

Since the main cause of UTIs in cats is a dirty litter box, it’s crucial that you stay on top of keeping it clean to prevent the likelihood of infection.

Ideally, cat parents should be scooping their cat’s litter box daily and cleaning the box every two to three weeks.

If you can’t always keep up with cleaning your cat’s litter box, a self-cleaning box might be the way to go.

We tried the Litter-Robot 3 Connect on our own cats and were instantly obsessed, so we awarded it our Paw of Approval.

Get it from Litter-Robot for $549

There’s also PrettyLitter — we also tried this ourselves and gave it our Paw of Approval — which is litter that changes color based on your cat’s urinary health.

Basically, when your cat goes to the bathroom, her litter will turn a different color to indicate whether she’s healthy, has an infection or is struggling with stones.

Get it from PrettyLitter for $22 per month

Now that you know what causes UTIs in cats, you can effectively prevent them and keep your BFF nice and healthy.

And if for some reason she still winds up with an infection, take your cat to the vet to get it cleared up ASAP, before it gets serious.

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