When cats are feeling under the weather, they usually behave strangely often preferring to hide away somewhere that's nice, warm and quiet. This is because when they are suffering and in pain, they feel a lot more vulnerable. If they are well hidden, a cat in the wild is hiding from any predators and this is exactly what our domestic cats do when they are sick too. If you notice that your cat is behaving strangely and have problems going to the toilet, they could be suffering from a urinary tract infection.
Urinary tract infections and diseases are serious conditions which need immediate veterinary treatment. With the advancement in veterinary medicines, there are many treatments available for cats with the condition and these together with a much better understanding of a cat's nutritional needs, has made it much easier to treat cats who show any of the symptoms of a urinary tract infection.
There are several symptoms to watch out which could be an indication that your pet is suffering from a urinary tract disease or infection which includes the following:
If you notice that your cat has to strain when they urinate, this could be due to an inflammation of their bladder which is known as feline idiopathic cystitis. This is one of the most common lower urinary tract diseases seen in cats and where the inflammation makes it hard for cats to wee. If left untreated, the condition gradually gets worse and could eventually lead to stones forming in a cat's bladder. The worst case scenario is often seen in male cats where their urethral plug becomes blocked. This is a life-threatening condition where cats are unable to urinate which means immediate veterinary treatment is a must.
You may notice that your pet keeps trying to urinate but without success and they do this frequently throughout the day and night, never actually be able to pass any urine. If a cat is unable to empty a full bladder this can be extremely dangerous because toxins will build up in their bodies via their urine which could prove fatal if the levels get too high – again emergency veterinary treatment is essential.
This is a harder symptom of a urinary tract infection to recognise but it's a sure sign there may be something wrong. If you see your pet start licking themselves in the abdominal area or around their penile or vaginal areas and they do so constantly this is their way or soothing any discomfort and pain they may be experiencing. Again, you would need to take your cat to the vet as soon as you can so they can treat the condition and relieve your pet's pain.
Cats with a urinary infection may be more irritable which is especially noticeable if they are normally very kind natured characters. If this is the case, then a quick trip to the vet would be in order so their condition can be diagnosed.
If there is a urinary tract disease going on, then more often than not you will notice your pet has some blood in their urine which gives it the appearance of being darker and discoloured. However, it is more usual for a female cat to have blood in their urine if they have any sort of urinary tract infection because male cats don't tend to although some do.
Very often a cat with a urinary tract infection will refuse to use their litter trays. You would need to have their condition diagnosed by a vet to establish whether this is the reason or not. A cat will associate any pain they feel when they urinate with their litter trays and as such not want to use it.
When cats show one or a combination of any of the above symptoms, or if you suspect that things aren't quite right with your pet, you should make an appointment with your vet as soon as you can. This is especially important if you own a male cat who cannot urinate because of blocked urethra which is a life threatening condition.
The vet can then establish what is wrong by taking some urine samples. They may also want to do some blood tests as well as take a few X-rays to establish just what is going on. Sometimes vets will also recommend performing an abdominal ultrasound on a cat so they can correctly diagnose the cause of your pet's urinary tract disease before advising on an effective treatment or they may decide surgery is needed to remove a blockage.
The after-care a cat is given is very important and helps speed up their recovery. Occasionally, cats will experience some bleeding and swelling after they have had surgery which has to be kept an eye on just in case there's an infection taking hold. If you are worried, a quick trip to the vet would be in order to make sure nothing untoward is going on.
You should use either pelleted or paper litter in your pet's tray for few days after they have undergone any surgery. Your pet may be fitted with a urinary catheter for several days and they might have to wear an Elizabethan collar for a couple of weeks to prevent them from licking their wound. You would need to keep an eye on the stitches and if they are non-soluble, your cat would need to go back to the vet to have them removed which is normally done by a veterinary nurse.
It is really important for cats who have suffered a urinary tract infection and had surgery to be reexamined on a regular basis which is usually one month after their treatment and then again every three months to make sure all the symptoms have cleared up and have not flared up again.