CattyCorner: Urinary Tract Infections Are A Pain In The Tail

Written by: Kelli Brinegar
For more than five years, Kelli Brinegar has been using her ability to write and her passion for research to tell the tale of what cats are thinking and why. She has provided care to more than 30 cats in her lifetime.Read more
| Published on March 2, 2021

Greetings, my pawsome human minions and cat cohorts.

Forrest here, coming to you with a tale of discomfort and humiliation surrounding my urinary tract.

Not so long ago, I awoke from a nap to a tingling in the bladder region. I figured I must have overslept, and it was beyond time for a trip to the litter pan. When I got there and began to relieve myself, hot pain seared to life. It was as though someone had taken sharp claws to my urethra.

As for the results of my squat, barely a dribble of urine wet the litter. Well, I left the box and started meowing about the painful experience. This went on for the remainder of the day and into the next morning. At breakfast, dad remarked about how much I’d been meowing.

“More than his usual chatter,” I believe was the exact quote.

At the mention of my melodious voice, I realized it was time for another painful pee. I stalked to the litter pan in my feverish state, but I just couldn’t get in that litter. Logically, I knew the litter wasn’t hurting me, but I needed something to change with this nether-region pain!

I Peed On The Floor!

I can’t believe I’m admitting this out loud, but I felt so rough, I peed on the floor next to my litter box. Between my crying after using the litter pan and my floor puddle, mom realized something was up.

As she daubed up the puddle, she asked, “Forrest cat, do you have a UTI?”

I meowed an affirmative, and to the phone she went. The next thing I know, I was in my crate, headed to the doctor.

Now, I am almost always charming, even to the vet staff, but there are moments that test my patience. The invasion which occurred at the hands of my favorite LVT was one of those moments as she collected what she, in a sing-song manner, called a specimen for a urinalysis.

I won’t lie; I hissed at her when she performed the cystocentesis. I learned the word because she also sang it at me as she was wielding her needle. But she got what she wanted, and even I watched as the syringe attached to the needle filled with my cloudy urine.

Yes, she even cooed about my cloudy pee. I love her, but some days that chipperness should be swatted out of her!

We quickly made up when she started doling out the treats.

Diagnosis: This Cat Has a UTI

The vet told my mom she did great for bringing me in right when she noticed the issues, explaining untreated urinary tract infections can lead to blockages or bladder and kidney infections. He also said because I’m a male cat, my urethra is more narrow, and it can make going with a UTI even more painful. But luckily, my issue was a simple bacterial infection, which sometimes happens, and I would clear up fine with a little medicine.

Now I’m on an antibiotic, which mom squirts into my mouth two times a day. I allow it as the meds taste vaguely of chicken. Last time I had to take this stuff, it tasted like bubble gum. This cat does not like bubble gum and I was glad to see my mother remembered this fact.

For my kitty friends who are troubled with bladder issues, here are some tips to get your human to notice you aren’t feeling your best:

  • Make a big show of going. It hurts to pee, so you’re already going to be acting a bit differently, so run with that and really make a showing of your squatting.
  • Accompany litter box visits with mournful singing.
  • Visit the pan often. Try to go, even if it’s only a little. Humans tend to notice when you hit the litter more often.
  • If you really want to grab your minion’s attention in a hurry, and I only recommend this in the direst of circumstances, pee on the floor.
  • Lay around like the biggest of loafs. Yes, cats are lazy, but the lazier you act, the more humans notice.
  • Throwing in a vomit here and there can also help. I find my parents sure notice when I throw up more than usual.

To the humans, here are the symptoms of a urinary tract infection in cats:

  • Frequent trips to the litter pan with little result
  • Straining while using the litter box
  • Meowing and other vocalizations during or after urinating
  • Accidents outside the litter pan
  • Frequent cleaning of the genitals in hopes to groom away the pain
  • Cloudy or bloody urine
  • Increased water intake
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy

Let me also add, that while your kitty’s appetite may be diminished if they aren’t feeling well, still, always remember…

Don’t forget to feed the cat.

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