Your cat has started to display some odd behavior lately. A previously well house trained cat, now your cat has been found urinating in your bath tub or on your bed. Also, your cat has been found straining as if constipated, just sitting there in the litter box waiting and repeatedly scratching.
Not all owners are able to recognize these key signs of a urinary tract infection. Having worked at a veterinary hospital, I have came across many cats that were thought by their owners to be constipated or worse just simply displaying behavioral issues.
Cats that are peeing in the bath tub or on the bed are doing so for a very specific reason. Their trip to the litter box has turned unpleasant. Your cat has tried to urinate in the litter box but it turned out being too painful and therefore, has started associating it with something negative. As a cat, therefore, avoidance is the best solution, so a bath tub or a bed will be tried to see if it will in any way ease the discomfort.
Another common sign of a cat affected by a U.T.I is licking insistently the genital area. Cats tend to lick their wounds so licking their genital area is the way they try to “heal” the burning sensation they are feeling.
If you have happened to find some occult blood around the home it is very likely coming from the cat. Blood may appear as normal red drops or it may have a pinkish tint if it is mixed within the urine.
Symptoms of UTI in Cats
Common signs, therefore, of a cat with a urinary tract infection are:
-Persistent straining in the litter box
-Increased urination often limited to just a few drops
-Inappropriate urination in other areas
-Crying while straining
-Licking genital area
A urinary tract infection may seem like a minor issue but if your cat happens to be male it could be a urinary blockage that can turn out to be quickly deadly if veterinary attention is not seen immediately. A cat with a urinary blockage will produce no urine and become poisoned by a buildup of toxins. Vomiting, nausea, lethargy and loss of appetite in a male cat should never be ignored. A cat urinating a few drops is slightly better than one not producing any urine at all.
Diagnosis of a U.T.I is usually confirmed by a urinalysis. Collecting urine from a cat may be challenging. Owners can try to replace the normal litter with lentil beans or Styrofoam packaging peanuts which will not absorb the urine making it easier to collect. In some cases the vet may need to perform a cystocentesis. This consists of inserting a needle directly into the bladder to collect some urine.
Treatment is based upon findings. Bladder stones or the presence of crystals may mimic a U.T.I. If this is the cases surgery or a diet change may do. If a U.T.I is confirmed, a round of antibiotics will help fight the infection. When a urinary blockage is present a catheter may be inserted in the male cat’s urethra and flushed to unblock. Special diets may be prescribed if necessary.
So next time you think your cat is not behaving well by urinating in odd places have him checked to rule out this dangerous condition. Many times it just turns out to be a moment of stress or a dirty litter box, however, the saying better safe than sorry becomes a savvy one when dealing with your feline companion’s health.
For further Reading: The Dangers of Urinary Blockages in Male Cats