UTIs in Cats: When should I look for an emergency vet near meBy Sam Weeks | June 28, 2021
Often confused as the same issue, UTIs (Urinary Tract Infections) and UTDs (Urinary Tract Disorders) are two different things. But when your cat has suddenly started peeing outside of its litter box, is visibly in pain when trying to urinate, or is bleeding while urinating, your first instinct is to search “emergency vet near me” on Google, not whether your cat has a UTI or a UTD.
But after things have settled down a little and your cat is out of immediate danger, it can be worthwhile to know a little more about the diseases and how to identify them.
What is a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI):
A Urinary Tract Infection or UTI is an infection that is caused when bacteria enters the urethra and builds a colony inside it. Urine in the urethra is usually sterile, but when bacteria have found their way into the urethra and multiplied, they can cause UTIs. On the other hand, Urinary Tract Disorders, also commonly known as Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disorders (FLUTD), can be caused by a number of different problems, such as kidney stones, inflammation of the bladder, bladder or urinary tract injury, urethral obstruction or other abnormalities in the urinary tract.
At-risk cat groups:
While FLUTDs are fairly common in cats of all ages, UTIs are much less prevalent. UTIs are most frequently seen in cats over 10 years old, and particularly in female cats. In male cats, UTIs can sometimes cause urethral obstructions, which can be fatal if not treated in time. This is because male cats have longer, thinner urethras than female cats, which can get blocked more easily. Some cats with conditions like diabetes mellitus, bladder stones or that are undergoing stress may be predisposed to problems of the lower urinary tract.
Symptoms of UTIs:
The most common symptoms of UTIs include:
- Multiple trips to the litter box
- Difficulty in urinating; whining or wincing in pain when trying to urinate
- Urinating outside the litter box or spraying on walls
- Excessive grooming of the genital area
- Blood-tinged urine
- Discomfort when petted at the back or around the lower part of the body
- Irritability; if your normally docile cat is hissing at you or wants nothing to do with you, it might be a sign that he or she is in pain
- Abnormal smelling urine
It is imperative to see a veterinarian if you suspect that your cat has developed a UTI. If you spot any of the above signs, contact us at 1300 101 434 immediately to get in touch with a licensed emergency vet who will visit your cat at home to minimise stress and discomfort to your cat.
The treatment of UTIs differs from cat to cat, depending upon both its lifestyle and the cause of the UTI. A vet will typically take a urine sample to test the pH, urine concentration, inflammatory cells and the specific kind of bacteria. In case of a bacterial infection, our vet will likely prescribe a course of a common antibiotic. This medication must be given to the cat exactly as instructed or you risk killing only part of the bacterial culture and leaving the rest to reproduce again. The vet may also prescribe some anti-inflammatory medication to give your cat some relief from the pain.
But while waiting for your cat’s test results to come back from the lab, there are a few steps you can take to ease your feline friend’s pain. Increase their water intake and make sure they always have fresh water available. Switch to wet food, or with your vet’s recommendation, consider switching to a specialised diet for urinary conditions. Keep their litter box clean by scooping at least twice daily and changing the litter at least weekly. Ideally, you should have a separate litter box for each cat you have to prevent more bacterial infections.
Stress can also affect your cat’s immune systems and make them vulnerable to UTIs. Keep change at a minimum and look for reasons your cat might be stressed and strive to eliminate them.
We love our beloved furry friends, and seeing them in pain hurts us too. And when a cat is already in pain, taking it outside of its comfort zone to take it to a vet can stress it out even further, making matters complicated. Look for “vets near me” to find mobile vet services like us to make vet visits easier on your and your pets by bringing the vet to you so your pets can get treated in the comfort of their own home.
If your cat is showing signs of a UTI or UTD, particularly an older or male cat, don’t wait and call us immediately at 1300 101 434 and get instant access to an emergency vet in multiple locations in and around Melbourne.