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Feline Urinary Tract Infections: Symptoms Checklist

When Cats Get Urinary-Tract Infections

Feline urinary-tract infections are a factor in a common condition that goes by a few different names, including Idiopathic Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (IFLUTD), Feline Idiopathic Cystitis (FIC), or Feline Urologic Syndrome (FUS).

These conditions can occur at any age, although they most commonly affect cats between the ages of one and five years of age. It is less common in cats who are less than one year of age, and cats older than 10.

Causes of Feline Urinary Tract Infections

Feline urinary tract infections often are caused by an impaired bladder or from an obstruction in the bladder. They may also be caused by:

  • Interstitial cystitis
  • Chronic inflammatory disease
  • A mass putting pressure on the bladder
  • Overactive bladder syndrome
  • Underlying illness or infection suppressing the immune system
  • An underdeveloped bladder
  • Disruption of the nerves around the bladder

Signs and Symptoms of a Feline Urinary-Tract Infection

If your cat has a urinary tract infection, you will usually notice several telltale signs. Here is a checklist that you can use to monitor your pet so your veterinarian will have the most comprehensive information when treating her.

Check the symptoms if your cat is showing any of the following signs:

  • Urinating in inappropriate locations, like their bedding or sleeping area
  • Difficult or painful urination
  • Blood in the urine
  • Frequent attempts to urinate

Once you've completed the checklist, take it to your veterinarian so you can discuss your cat's condition.

Diagnosing a Feline Urinary Tract Infection

Your veterinarian will perform a thorough physical examination of your cat, to look for a thickened, firm, or contracted bladder wall, or physical trauma.

Blood work and a urinalysis may be ordered to rule out other potential health conditions that could be causing the problem, such as bacterial, fungal, or parasitic diseases. X-rays and/or ultrasound may also be ordered to rule out kidney stones or a mass in the bladder, and a cystoscopy may be performed to check for polyps, cysts, or stones in her urinary tract.

Treatment Options for a Cat's Urinary Tract Infection

If your veterinarian diagnoses your pet with a feline urinary tract infection, there are a range of treatment options, depending on the severity of the case.

For example, if the problem is caused by a blockage of the urethra, then she may need to be hospitalized for further diagnosis and treatment. If your cat's urethra is not blocked, then she may be treated on an outpatient basis with pain medication, proper dietary management, plenty of fresh clean water, and possibly veterinarian-prescribed antibiotics. A culture and sensitivity test of the urine may be performed to identify the type of bacteria causing infection and the correct antibiotic to be most effective.

Be sure to tell your veterinarian about any medications or supplements your cat is currently taking so your veterinarian can make the best treatment decision for your cat's unique case and help reduce the risk of a potential drug interaction.

About the Author

Dr. Evan Ware

Dr. Evan Ware is a veterinary practitioner in Phoenix, Arizona. He received both his undergraduate degree in microbiology and his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from The Ohio State University.

Dr. Ware is currently the Medical Director of University Animal Hospital (VCA) and is also the owner of two other hospitals, including Laveen Veterinary Center and Phoenix Veterinary Center. His areas of expertise include orthopedic medicine and surgery, veterinary oncology and chemotherapy, and general and advanced soft-tissue surgery.