Written by Sam D. DVM - Sam is a practicing veterinarian on the East Coast
If your kitty is going to the litter box constantly, urinates in inappropriate places like your shoes, or vocalizes when he goes, your cat might have a urinary tract issue. These problems can range from a UTI caused by bacteria to urinary problems caused by stress -- even something as seemingly simple as you changing the cat litter for your feline friends.
Signs of a Urinary Problems in Cats
There are a variety of symptoms that your cat might show if he or she is having a urinary tract issue. Very often, the signs you can see at home are signs that he's having trouble urinating, including an increase in the number of trips he's taking to the litter box or attempting to urinate for a long time in the litter box.
Some kitties will start to avoid the litter box because it is painful for them to urinate. They might start urinating in places like your closet or the living room rug. Because of the painful sensation, they might lick their urinary opening constantly or dribble urine around the house.
In extreme circumstances, such as if your cat develops a urinary blockage, they might become lethargic or showcase symptoms like vomiting. Their abdomen will often be painful to the touch and can even become distended.
Types of Urinary Problems in Cats
There are a few different things that can cause urinary issues in cats. A major problem has been dubbed Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease or FLUTD. This issue can have a variety of causes, including stress, and features symptoms that range from increased urination to a complete urinary blockage.
Urinary tract infections themselves are caused by bacteria, but your cat can also develop bladder inflammation without having bacteria present. Debris can also accumulate in the bladder, attributed to a variety of causes including stones, crystals, or mucus in the bladder. If they lodge in the urethra, they can cause an obstruction.
Other issues within the urinary tract include tumors in the bladder or injury to the urinary tract. Problems within the spinal cord may cause urinary incontinence or an inability to urinate. Metabolic diseases can also contribute to urinary problems, including diabetes and hyperthyroidism.
What To Do for a Urinary Issue in Your Cat
If you suspect a urinary issue in your cat, it's imperative that you get them seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible. Once an infection sets in, antibiotics are usually required to clear it. Anti-inflammatory medications may also be needed to treat inflammation in the bladder. It's important that you avoid using human medications in your cat, as they are often incredibly toxic to kitties.
While a urinary tract infection can be uncomfortable to deal with for a couple of days, a urinary blockage has the potential to be fatal. If your cat keeps going to the litter box and not urinating or squatting around the house, they need to be seen immediately by a veterinarian. They may need to have a urinary catheter placed and be treated in a veterinary hospital for several days. Some cats even need to have surgery.
Ways to Prevent Urinary Problems in Cats
While not all urinary problems can be prevented, decreasing stress can decrease the chance of your kitty developing FLUTD. If your kitty gets stressed easily, try a calming supplement such as Calm Down Kitty, including calming herbs such as chamomile, valerian root, turmeric and ginger. Anti-anxiety pheromones can also be used if you know that you'll have changes occurring in your household, such as visitors coming over. Litter that uses pheromones or cat attractants can also decrease the odds of a urinary problem from developing by encouraging your cat to use the litter box regularly.
Urinary support supplements can also be used to help your cat. A great example is Kitty P. Freely. This probiotic supplement has numerous ingredients to help your kitty maintain a healthy and normally functioning urinary tract, including the kidneys and the bladder.
Kitty P. Freely contains D-mannose, which is related to glucose, a simple sugar used by the body for energy. D-mannose can help bacteria from sticking to the bladder walls, ensuring they get flushed from the body when your cat urinates. Kitty P. Freely also includes Cran-Naturelle, a cranberry powder full of antioxidants. The acidity of cranverries also helps to flush bacteria from the urinary tract. Dandelion root is also used in the product and is a diuretic and detoxifies the bladder. Kitty P. Freely also has probiotics that support a healthy system, including an immune system, kidneys, and even the liver.
If your kitty is showing signs of a urinary problem, such as urinating frequently or vocalizing when he urinates, it's important for you to get him seen by your veterinarian. There are ways to manage the chances of your kitty having urinary issues, such as Kitty P. Freely. Decreasing stress is another way to manage your kitty's urinary troubles, so talk to your veterinarian about options today.