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  • Urinary Tract Infections and Blockages

  • Urinary bladder infections (UTI- Urinary Tract Infections or cystitis) are common in cats, especially females. As we learn more about this disease we realize many factors are involved when a cat gets a cystitis. This page will talk about some of them and how we handle this vexing problem.

    This problem can progess, and it can become serious, especially in male cats. It this occurs it is sometimes called Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease. It is sometimes also called by its previous name, Feline Urologic Syndrome (FUS). It is a disease of the urinary tract that is sometimes related to the buildup of crystals, leading to inflammation of the lining of the urinary bladder and urethra. In many cases there is no crystal buildup, so dietary changes will be unhelpful.


    Bacteria are the cause of UTI.  A urine culture and sensitivity, obtained by cystocentesis (directly from the bladder), will let us know which bacteria are involved. By far, the most common one is E. Coli. Others include Staphylocossus and Proteus. Staph species can produce urease, which will change the pH of the urine and needs to be addressed.

    The different species of bacteria are unique in how they cause this problem. Here are some of the ways they are unique:

    • How well they adhese to the urinary bladder wall with pili or fimbriae
    • If they secrete a toxin
    • If they are already resistant to an antibiotic  from this resistance being passed on from prior generations of bacteria
    • If they are resistant to an antibiotic from a recent exposure
    • If biofilms are present in the bladder


    In some cases there are no symptoms, and the problem is found during routine diagnostic testing. Routine symptoms include:

    • Straining to urinate
    • Blood in urine
    • Urinating frequently and in small amounts
    • Crying when urinating
    • Urinating outside the litter box


    Diagnosis is done with a physical exam, blood panel, urine sample, and urine culture. In some cases a radiograph and ultrasound are also used.


    Antibiotics are routinely prescribed to treat this problem. The best way to decide which one to use is with a culture and sensitivity. Antibiotic resistance is becoming more and more common, so this culture and sensitivity report is important to pick the correct one. Some bacteria are resistant to several different antibiotics. If left untreated the infection can spread from the urinary bladder to the kidneys and cause serious problems.