Did you know bladder infections are the number one reason cats visit the veterinarian?
In fact, urinary tract infections affect over 3% of the feline population just in the U.S. alone, not including all the cases of FUTI (Feline Urinary Tract Infection) that are left untreated.
Whether your cat has experienced bladder infections in the past or not, your cat is at a constant risk. If you are a cat owner it is your responsibility as a pet owner to learn how to prevent your cat from avoiding the number one reason for vet visits…cat bladder infections.
What is a Feline Urinary Bladder Infection?
A urinary tract infection occurs when environmental bacteria enters the urinary system. Bacteria live and grow in warm, damp places, which explains why these bacteria thrive inside the hollowed organ that is the bladder.
Although commonly referred to as a bladder infection, the infection can take place inside any of the three parts that make up the urinary tract—the bladder, ureters or urethra.
Symptoms of a urinary tract infection in felines includes:
- polyuria (excessive urination)
- pain during urination
- inability to urinate
- straining to urinate
- vocalization during urination
- abdominal pain
- bloody urine
- frequent urination
- increased water intake
Cause of Cat Bladder Infections:
A cat can develop an infection of the bladder for many reason including:
Cats often develop a urinary tract infection due to feces entering the reproductive organ. Close proximity between vagina and anus in female cats can cause fecal matter to enter the urinary system while defecating.
Decreased Water Intake:
The process of urination allows the body to eliminate waste and toxic materials, but this process can only occur with the presence of water. The less water a feline drink, the greater the chance of developing an infection.
Female felines, which are allowed to mate, often develop urinary tract infections because the breeding process moves bacteria into the body.
Medical problems such as cystitis, or inflammation of the bladder, often results in secondary effects of a bladder infection.
Stress triggers hormone levels in the body to rise and cause your cat’s bladders pH level to become imbalanced. Your cat’s pH levels prevent bacteria and yeast from forming within the hollowed organ that is the bladder.
How to Prevent an FUTI:
There are several ways a cat owner can prevent a feline bladder infection. Below is a list of helpful and easy tips you can do at home to prevent a bladder infection in your cat:
1. Clean your cat’s litter box daily.
The less fecal and urinary matter your cat is exposed to, the lesser chance he or she has of contaminating themselves with bacteria.
2. Provide an appropriate number of litter boxes in the household.
The general rule for litter boxes is having a box for each cat, plus one extra. A cat will assign himself a litter box and only use that specific litter box. A litter box for each cat can also make it easier for you, the owner, to identify health problems.
For example, if one litter box is fuller than the other, you can assume that cat is using it more often and should be monitored.
3. Provide clean, fresh water every day and wash the water bowl.
As you know, the probability of a cat developing problems within the bladder is increased when he or she is not drinking enough water. A cat is more likely to drink water when it is clean and fresh.
4. Decrease stress in the home.
Stress triggers hormone levels in the body to rise and cause your cat’s bladders pH level to become imbalanced. Your cat’s pH levels prevent bacteria and yeast from forming in the bladder. If the pH becomes out of balance, your cat will develop recurrent bladder infections.
Cats over the age of 10 years and cats which are allowed to reproduce are at higher risk for developing bladder infections. Therefore, these cats may have reoccurring bladder infections that need to be addressed by a veterinarian.
In order to prevent future infections from occurring, your vet may prescribe D-Mannose.
This is not a drug, but a non-metabolizing sugar that bacteria attach to and are excreted through the cat’s urine. D-Mannose is not a drug and has been highly effective in cats with recurrent bladder infections.
If your cat has had a bladder infection in the past or you think your cat is showing the signs, always consult your veterinarian. Only an animal medical professional can diagnose your cat’s condition and make an appropriate treatment plan.
As a cat owner, it is important to learn how to prevent cat bladder infection and even more important to consult a professional right away. Together, you and your veterinarian can put a stop to your cat’s feline bladder infections.