How to Keep Your Cat’s Urinary Tract in Tip-top Shape
How to Keep Your Cat’s Urinary Tract in Tip-top Shape

UTI in Cats: Symptoms, Causes, Home Remedies & More

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What is UTI in cats?

UTI, also known as Urinary Tract Infections, are any infection in the urinary system. Such infections are not common in cats. In fact, not every cat with UTI symptoms has a urinary tract infection. According to NCBI, only one to two percent of cats suffer from urinary tract infections. However, UTIs resemble several other feline diseases; hence, it is imperative to visit a vet for further diagnosis.

Symptoms of UTI in cats

Since Urinary Tract Infections can cause severe pain and discomfort, every cat parent must learn about cat UTI symptoms. Here are a few major UTI symptoms in cats:

  • Frequent urination but in small amounts
  • Blood in the urine

  • Constant licking of the urinary opening

  • Crying out while passing urine

  • Urinating outside the litter box

How is cat UTI diagnosed?

In order to diagnose UTI in cats, veterinarians first test urine samples. This test helps them detect any bacteria in the urine. Doctors directly draw urine from the bladder with a needle to avoid contamination. Once the urine sample is tested, the vet will then isolate the bacteria to study it further. This step is called the Culture and Sensitivity test. It helps determine the right medicines based on the cat's infection.

First-time infections or acute infections are generally cured using broad-spectrum antibiotics. However, if your cat is suffering from a chronic infection, the vet might recommend additional tests to start bacteria-specific medication. 

Causes of UTI in cats

There are multiple factors that can lead to UTI in cats. Let's explore a few common causes of cat UTI:

  • Weak immune system due to medical conditions like diabetes, cancer, etc.
  • Replacement of the urinary catheter

  • Bladder stone

  • Issues with the cat's gastrointestinal tract

Cat UTI prevention

Although UTI is rare in cats, it's best to take the right measures to prevent it at all costs. Here are a few points on how to prevent UTI in cats:

  • Ensure that your cat drinks enough water. Clean the water bowl regularly and fill it with fresh water every day.
  • Do not forget to clean the litter box frequently. Scoop the litter twice daily. Moreover, make sure to replace it with a new box once every two weeks.
  • Monitor any changes in the quantity or colour of the urine while cleaning the litter box. In case you see any changes, consult a vet.
  • Learn about diseases that are most likely to further cause UTI in cats. If your cat contracts any such disease, consult a vet immediately.
  • If your cat is old or overweight, it may have a hard time reaching the backsides of its body. Hence, assist your fur baby in cleaning itself.

Can you treat cat UTI with home remedies?

There are multiple cat UTI home remedies like cranberry juice, apple cider vinegar, bone broth, etc. And most of them are believed to alleviate the symptoms of UTI. However, we do not know if these remedies heal you completely. Hence, it is best to consult a veterinary doctor for cat UTIs.  Moreover, in some cases, especially if left untreated, UTIs can be recurrent. The vet will provide the right medication to get rid of the bacteria.

Frequently asked questions

  1. How to tell if a cat has UTI?
  2. A cat with UTI will exhibit following symptoms:

    • It might urinate frequently, but in small quantities
    • It might whine while urinating
    • It might lick its urinary area excessively due to irritation
    • It might have blood in its urine

    If you see any of the above symptoms, rush your cat to the doctor.

  3. Can cat UTI go away on its own?
  4. Certain Urinary Tract Infections can heal on their own. However, to understand whether it's a mild or chronic condition, you must visit your veterinarian. In case it is a chronic case, the doctor will prescribe antibiotics.

  5. Can lack of water cause UTI in cats?
  6. Water is essential for cats. Lack of water not only causes dehydration but also Urinary Tract Infections in cats. So, make sure that your fur baby drinks sufficient water throughout the day. 

  7. How do indoor cats get UTIs?
  8. Cats contract Urinary Tract Infections when harmful bacteria enter their bladder. Does that mean cats that live indoors won’t get UTIs? No. Cats make use of a litter box to excrete every day. If you do not clean this box regularly, it can turn into a breeding ground for countless deadly bacteria. Hence, as a cat parent, you must clean the litter box at least twice daily. The bacteria around your cat's faeces can enter its urethra every time your fur baby urinates. While this is one of the major causes of UTI in indoor cats, sudden changes in their routine, stress, and poor immunity can also lead to Urinary Tract Infections.

How to Keep Your Cat’s Urinary Tract in Tip-top Shape
How to Keep Your Cat’s Urinary Tract in Tip-top Shape
  • Why Fiber Is Important For Your Cat’s Nutrition?
    Why Fiber Is Important For Your Cat’s Nutrition?
    Fiber For Cats And It's Importance

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    High fiber cat food has become a mainstay for many cats with gastrointestinal problems. But why is fiber so crucial for cats?

    Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that isn't digested by a cat's gastrointestinal tract. It is important for cat health because it provides bulk to move food through. Some types of fiber can be fermented (broken down by bacteria) in the system. This process creates short-chain fatty acids (SCFA), which are an important energy source for the cells lining the intestinal tract.

    Thus, understanding the various types of fiber and when to include fiber in a cat's nutrition plan is crucial. High-fiber cat food often contains a combination of soluble and insoluble fibers that aid gastrointestinal health and improve stool quality. Some of these fiber elements are also known as prebiotics, which are nutrients (mostly fermentable fibers) that help the good bacteria in the intestines grow. 

    Soluble fiber for cats, such as gums and pectins, are the best at absorbing water. These fibers are typically highly fermentable and provide the required energy source. Adding such soluble fibers to your cat’s diet can help it maintain a healthy colonic mucosa and boost immune function in the lower intestine.

    Insoluble fibers, such as lignin or cellulose, have a variety of therapeutic properties and can be utilised in your cat’s meal to promote its gastrointestinal health.


    What's Good For You May Not Be Good For Your Cat

    Today, people are more aware of fiber and its role in their diet. Studies showing the beneficial effects of higher fiber levels in humans influence the way many people think about their own food and that of their pets. Some manufacturers now apply the recommendations of human nutritionists and make high-fiber diets for cats, but cats have a much shorter digestive tract than we do. And unlike humans, cats are carnivorous, so their nutritional needs are better satisfied with meat rather than plant matter. Therefore, cats have different dietary needs than humans. For more than 60 years, companion animal nutritionists at IAMS™ have been studying diets to meet the special nutritional needs of cats.


    What Is Microbiome In Cats?

    • A microbiome is the microbial population (fungi, bacteria, viruses, and other microscopic organisms) that resides in the digestive systems of cats. This biological habitat is necessary for proper digestion. The bacteria in cat intestines aid in the digestion of indigestible materials and the production of useful substances such as vitamins.


    How Does The Gut Microbiome React With Fibrous Food?

    • Some high-fiber cat foods aid in the nourishing of good bacteria and the maintenance of a healthy microbiome.

    Furthermore, fiber-rich cat food benefit cats suffering from GI illnesses of the large intestine. Fiberous food can assist in preserving their GI motility and water balance. This is turn helps prevent constipation and diarrhea in cats.


    Fiber Levels And Fermentability

    IAMS Company research shows the optimal crude fiber level for healthy cat’s ranges from 1.4% to 3.5%. At these levels, nutrient breakdown is maximized. In unique situations, such as hairballs, higher fiber levels may be beneficial.

    An important characteristic of fiber is its fermentability, or how well it can be broken down by bacteria in the intestine. This breakdown produces short-chain fatty acids, which provide energy to the intestines. Fiber varies in fermentability. Fiber sources used in pet foods include cellulose, which is poorly fermentable; beet pulp, which is moderately fermentable; and gums and pectin, which can be highly fermentable. Research has shown that moderate levels of moderately fermentable fiber, such as beet pulp, provide the benefits of energy for the intestinal lining and bulk, without the negative effects of excessive stool or gas and, therefore, are beneficial in cat diets.


    Some Advantages Of High Fibrous Food

    High moisture, protein, and minimum carbohydrate matter are all key ingredients in high fiber cat diets. Here are some benefits of high-fibrous food for your cat:

    • Improves gastric activities in the gut - Food containing soluble fiber for a cat helps in breaking down water and gastric juices in the gut.
    • Keeps your cat satiated - Some soluble fibers dissolves in water and forms a gel that helps in storing water and makes your feline friend feel full.
    • Promotes bowel consistency - Insoluble fibers helps with stool consistency and gives more volume to your cat’s ingested meal.


    How Does High-Fibrous Help Cats With Diabetes Or Other Medical Conditions?

    Cats with medical issues can also greatly benefit from high-fiber foods. For instance, high-fiber wet cat food might help overweight cats in reducing overeating and lowering their risk of obesity. What’s more is, adding fibrous food to your cat’s meal will also help your pet eliminate more nitrogen through their stool, thus sparing the kidneys. In fact, many dietary fibers inhibit nutrient absorption qualities, which help to lessen the rate at which the GI tract assimilates glucose, thereby keeping the blood sugar levels stable.


    High Fiber And Weight Loss

    High levels of poorly fermentable fiber are used in some weight-reduction pet foods to dilute the calories in a serving. IAMS Company research shows that high fiber levels can make it harder to digest other nutrients in the food and, in turn, reduce the nutritional quality of a cat's diet. Your cat making more trips to the litter box can be a result.


    When Should You Give Low Fibrous Food To Your Cat?

    Low fibrous food contains nutrients such as electrolytes and B-vitamins that aid recuperation in cats. This type of food is usually recommended by veterinarians for cats who are prone to having a quick onset of GI disturbance. Therefore, when choosing a meal for your cat, always visit a veterinarian. If your cat is on a high-fiber diet, their veterinarian should keep an eye on them to ensure that their fiber-responsive symptoms are under control.


    Fiber And IAMS Cat Foods

    When choosing a pet food, fiber is an important consideration, but remember that the needs of cats are not the same as those of humans. A moderate level of moderately fermentable fiber, such as beet pulp, provides proven nutritional benefits for cats. Cat diets containing high levels of poorly fermentable fiber dilute calories and deprive cats of the nutrients they need.

    All IAMS products are made with levels of moderately fermentable fiber needed to promote intestinal health. And all IAMS foods, such as IAMS ProActive Health™ Adult Original with Chicken, contain the moderately fermentable fiber system, which is the exclusive property of IAMS Company and is protected by U.S. Patent No. 5,616,569 for Pet Food Products Containing Fermentable Fibers and Process for Treating Gastrointestinal Disorders.