How do cats get urinary tract infections?
Urinary tract infections (UTI) in cats, also known as feline urinary tract disease, can be fatal if left untreated. The cat suffers from intense pain and it can be fatal. UTIs can result in a completely obstructed urinary tract. The blockage can cause permanent damage to the kidneys. A lot of factors can lead to the development of UTIs.
Bacteria and viruses in the cat’s urethra or bladder are one of the common reasons why these pets get urinary tract infection. These infectious agents can travel to the bladder through the opening from where urine flows from the body. This is one of the reasons why UTIs are more common in female cats. The shorter urethra makes it easier for bacteria and viruses to enter the bladder and infect the urine. Long haired breeds are also predisposed to UTI as the faeces tend to accumulate on the hair around the anal area.
The formation of bladder stones and crystals in the urine is another factor that leads to UTI in cats. Cats with an improper diet are mostly affected by this infection. A diet that has high magnesium and other mineral content can result to the infection of the bladder. The excessive minerals in the diet are not entirely taken up by the digestive system. The mineral deposits would form into crystals that would eventually bind together to develop into stones. Stones in the bladder cause inflammation and irritation. The mineral deposits are washed out of the cat’s system if the animal drinks ample amounts of water. Cats though are poor water drinkers. The situation is aggravated if the cat is provided with dry kibble instead of wet or canned pet foods.
Physical trauma, urinary tract tumours, congenital abnormalities in the anatomy of the bladder and urethra are other reasons why cats get UTIs. Intentional urinary retention is another cause. This situation is common in pets that are not provided with suitable places to urinate. Cats are generally very clean animals. They are known to cover their faeces and would rather not excrete or urinate if the litter box is not cleaned. UTIs occur if the bladder is not emptied regularly.
As mentioned, an untreated urinary tract infection can result in permanent urinary tract and kidney damage. These conditions can lead to the death of the cat. Once the cat is noticed crying and straining to urinate or if kitty passes bloody urine or passing malodorous urine, it is imperative to take the it to a veterinary facility for proper diagnosis and appropriate treatment. An antibiotic course is commonly prescribed for the infection. In cases of bladder stones, the cat may need to undergo a surgical procedure. A change of diet may also be necessary.
So don’t overdo the dry pellets, encourage kitty to drink, change the litter regularly and ensure your cat has a safe, accessible place to urinate.