When your cat has urinary tract problems, the bladder and urethra become infected or blocked. This will prevent your cat from urinating normally.
Some of the most common symptoms are:
- Frequent urination (but in small amounts)
- Urinating outside the litter box
- Bloody urine
- Straining to urinate
- Cries of pain or wincing when urinating
- Increased grooming of the urinary opening (licking)
If you notice any of these symptoms in your cat, you should see a veterinarian immediately. The sooner the problem is identified, the sooner it can be corrected.
What is a UTI?
A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection of the urinary system and is one of the most common urinary problems in cats. It can affect the urethra, kidneys or bladder. Urine does not normally contain bacteria. Normally, urine should be able to flow through the urinary system without contamination and remain sterile. However, bacteria from outside the body may enter the urinary tract, causing infection and inflammation.
In addition to urinary tract infections, cats can develop other urinary tract problems such as uroliths, urethral obstruction, and feline idiopathic cystitis.
What are the causes of urinary tract problems in cats?
Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)
Apart from the above causes, urinary tract infections can also be caused by age, lack of hygiene in the genital area or abnormal pH levels in the cat's diet. Older female cats and cats with diabetes mellitus (diabetes) are known to develop UTIs more often than the general cat population. However, urinary tract infections can also be caused by more serious conditions such as bladder stones, injuries, tumours, or Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV). FIV is a viral infection that attacks the immune system, making the cat susceptible to many other infections.
Uroliths, also known as urinary stones, are tiny crystals or large stones that form in the cat's bladder. These stones and crystals are formed from minerals found in urine. However, they can irritate the lining of the bladder or urethra and cause bloody urine and pain during urination.
In some cases, these stones can cause complete obstruction of the cat's urethra. This can also be caused by a buildup of minerals and tissue (urethral plug). If you notice that your cat is unable to pass urine for a day, seek medical attention immediately.