UTIs In Cats: What To Look For And What You Should Do

Late last week, we had a massive scare. Thursday morning while my husband was feeding our cats,  everything seemed just fine, like a normal morning, right up until it wasn’t. Chase randomly peed on a bedroom door and was suddenly in severe distress. He’s an example of how sudden, and how serious, UTIs in cats can be.

It would seem that noticeable symptoms of UTIs in cats can appear suddenly

After he peed on the door, he tried to slink away under the bed, but my husband gently pulled him back out. Then he just lay on his side on the floor, acting like he was straining to pass something. Our first thought was a blockage so we rushed him to the vet. On the way there, he vomited, and then he lay back down and went back to straining.

This is what he looked like. I’m including this video because I feel it’s important in understanding one possible, alarming symptom with severe UTIs in cats (you might also see this with blockages. This behavior requires immediate veterinary care). Had we understood what we were looking at, he might have been correctly diagnosed sooner. **PLEASE NOTE: I TOOK THIS VIDEO AFTER WE GOT HOME FROM THE VET, BEFORE ANY MEDICINES HAD TAKEN EFFECT.**

He had some diarrhea in the carrier too, so at the time, the vet was thinking Chase was in gastro-intestinal distress. X-rays did not show either urinary or gastro-intestinal blockages, so she thought he had gastro-enteritis and gave us medicine to treat that. He seemed to improve, but about 24 hours later he relapsed, and then, all through Friday night, he seemed to get worse. I didn’t sleep at all.

Chase was very sick

By Saturday morning he didn’t want to move at all, and he was guarding his abdominal area. If I tried to touch his tummy, he’d kick at me weakly. So I rushed him back to the vet.

Once there, she wanted to do more x-rays, but changed her mind when she took a urine sample. It was so discolored she brought it in to show me. The red cells in the sample were too high to count, as were the bacteria in the sample. Chase was also running a fever (he hadn’t been on Thursday, when we first took him in), and the obvious pain he was in made the vet worry that the infection had spread to his kidneys. She gave him sub-q fluids because he was dehydrated, and brought him back to me all wrapped in a towel.

She sent the urine sample and blood samples to a lab for a full analysis, and I should hear something either today or tomorrow.

How best to treat UTIs in cats?

UTIs in cats are best treated with a broad-spectrum antibiotic, like Clavamox. The vet gave me seven days’ worth, and told me to keep giving him the medicine we’d originally gotten for gastro-enteritis because it has an anti-inflammatory effect. As soon as I got home, I gave Chase his first dose of Clavamox.

About six hours later, it appeared that Chase’s fever broke. He looked more alert and seemed to have a little bit more energy, and even wanted some water:

He also ate some dinner last night, and he ate a little breakfast and “lunch” today. And then he ate pretty much a full dinner. He’s enjoying his pill pockets, too, so giving him his meds on schedule isn’t hard.

Here’s how he’s sleeping right now – notice how he’s not guarding his abdominal area anymore:

Chase Sleeping UTIs in Cats

Chase Sleeping 1 UTIs in Cats

What are some of the symptoms of UTIs in cats?

UTIs in cats are nothing to mess with. It’s vitally important to get your cat to the vet as quickly as possible for care if you notice any of the following:

  • Straining in or out of the litter box
  • Appearing to have pain while urinating
  • Using the litter box frequently but passing very little urine
  • Blood in urine clumps in the litter box (this can be hard to see)
  • Excessive licking of the genitals
  • Urinating outside the litter box
  • Excessive thirst

Left untreated, UTIs in cats can lead to pyelonephritis, which can damage your cat’s kidneys. This is what our vet is worried about with Chase. I think we got lucky with him given how sick he was just 48 hours ago. If you suspect your cat might have a UTI, call your vet immediately.

11 Replies to “UTIs In Cats: What To Look For And What You Should Do”

  1. Pam

    I need some advice please​. I an SO stressed about this situation so if you can’t be kind scroll on. I am a cat lover, husband not really. I feed strays, volunteered at rescue groups and have fostered. ( Yes, I’m a foster failure 😁) So, I have a cat that I took in. She was fine for months. She was okay with my other cats also. I left out of state to visit my grandkids. Got home and was told Mama cat had escaped. She was gone for 4 days. I was just worried sick. Day 4 I got up at 5 a.m. and looked out back and she was just coming up on the deck!!!! So happy but….of course we then had kittens. Found good homes for them but then I noticed she started peeing everywhere. She’s crying like constantly and I saw white and pink in the litter clump. Not slot but definitely not normal. Here’s the worst part. My husband won’t let me spend $$$ to take her there a get. I’m trying to think of something I can sell quickly so I can pay for a get to see her. I am so upset with him but I don’t have access to any if our finances. Don’t wanna take her to a shelter cause I’m afraid they’ll just put her down. I know people will say if you can’t afford to care for them then DON’T have them. I’m desperate enough that I’ve thought of pawning my wedding ring. I’d rather make sure she’s not in pain than worry about a ring that cost a couple thousand almost 30 years ago. Just afraid they’ll offer me like a $100 bucks or less. I feel terrible so please don’t make me feel worse. One way or another I’ll get her help. Just thought someone might have an idea. I googled and didn’t find anything. Sorry I wrote a book. She’s just a sweet fur baby.😞🐱💜

    Reply
    • Pam

      I need some advice please​. I an SO stressed about this situation so if you can’t be kind scroll on. I am a cat lover, husband not really. I feed strays, volunteered at rescue groups and have fostered. ( Yes, I’m a foster failure 😁) So, I have a cat that I took in. She was fine for months. She was okay with my other cats also. I left out of state to visit my grandkids. Got home and was told Mama cat had escaped. She was gone for 4 days. I was just worried sick. Day 4 I got up at 5 a.m. and looked out back and she was just coming up on the deck!!!! So happy but….of course we then had kittens. Found good homes for them but then I noticed she started peeing everywhere. She’s crying like constantly and I saw white and pink in the litter clump. Not slot but definitely not normal. Here’s the worst part. My husband won’t let me spend $$$ to take her there a get. I’m trying to think of something I can sell quickly so I can pay for a get to see her. I am so upset with him but I don’t have access to any if our finances. Don’t wanna take her to a shelter cause I’m afraid they’ll just put her down. I know people will say if you can’t afford to care for them then DON’T have them. I’m desperate enough that I’ve thought of pawning my wedding ring. I’d rather make sure she’s not in pain than worry about a ring that cost a couple thousand almost 30 years ago. Just afraid they’ll offer me like a $100 bucks or less. I feel terrible so please don’t make me feel worse. One way or another I’ll get her help. Just thought someone might have an idea. I googled and didn’t find anything. Sorry I wrote a book. She’s just a sweet fur baby.😞🐱💜 Sorry, should have dble checked spelling. Keeps saying a get when it should say A VET!!!

      Reply
      • ourcatsworld Post author

        I am SO sorry, I’ve been sick for the last couple of days. Have you been able to get help with this? That could be a UTI, but could she be in heat? It could also be other problems…. Honestly, my advice is to find any way at all to get her to the vet. Even if all she is is in heat, I’d rather a vet tell me it’s just that than have her be sick with something but not receiving care. Can you do something like put the expense on a credit card and then start a gofundme to raise money to pay it back? Or is that out of the question?

        Reply

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