Whenever a kitty’s litter box habits change, it is necessary to first rule out a medical reason for the problem. Bladder infections are one of the most common causes of litter box issues.
Symptoms of a Bladder Infection in Cats
Here are 10 common signs of a feline bladder infection:
- Urinating outside of the litter box, often on piles of clothes.
- Dribbling urine.
- Using the litter box frequently.
- Straining to urinate.
- Crying when using the litter box.
- Passing blood in the urine.
- Passing cloudy urine.
- Excessively grooming the genitals.
- Drinking more water than normal.
- Exhibiting signs of depression.
Call the Vet
Never reprimand your kitty for litter box issues. Instead, make an appointment with your vet to diagnose the cause of the problems. Medical issues are often easily treated with medication. If the condition turns out to be behavioral, your vet can also recommend ways to modify your cat’s behavior effectively.
I had a kitten who was urinating on piles of clothes. It turned out he had a serious bladder infection. The infection was easily resolved with a course of antibiotics. However, if I had not taken him to the vet, the situation could have become life threatening very quickly.
Warning: Medical Emergency
If your cat is not urinating at all, call the vet immediately. This is an emergency. The cat may have a blockage in the urinary tract that must be removed or the cat could die. These blockages are often caused by crystals that form in the urine.
Your vet will most likely order a urinalysis. The vet will collect a urine sample from your kitty for analysis, often using a simple procedure called a cystocentesis. The vet will insert a thin needle into the cat’s bladder through the abdomen to remove a small amount of urine. The urine will then be tested for the presence of white blood cells and bacteria, which will indicate whether your cat is suffering from an infection.
If test results confirm that your kitty is suffering from a bladder infection, bacteria that has entered the urinary tract and bladder via the urethra is often the cause. Your vet will prescribe a course of antibiotics for your kitty based on the type of bacteria present in your cat’s bladder.
Note: Be sure to give your kitty the full round of medication prescribed by your vet even if your kitty’s symptoms disappear before you have given him or her all of the medicine. If you quit the medication too soon, the infection has a greater likelihood of returning.
To prevent recurrence of the bladder infection, you might also consider implementing the following strategies:
- Switch your cat from a dry food to a canned food diet. The moisture content is higher and can help your kitty urinate more frequently, thus flushing out the bladder often.
- Give your cat filtered water to drink, which will eliminate chemicals that might cause infections.
- Give your kitty herbal supplements that can help prevent bladder infections. Check with your vet and with a reputable homeopathic supplier.