Urinary tract infections (UTIs) in cats
Urinary tract infections are a common cause of discomfort for our feline friends. In fact, it’s likely that you’re already wondering, how can I treat my cat’s UTI at home?
Sometimes a secondary symptom of conditions such as diabetes or obesity, a cat may also develop a UTI out of the blue. With most instances presenting as mild cases to start, the good news is that cats’ caregivers can often treat feline UTIs by themselves.
From bone broth to glucosamine and chondroitin, find out how these and several other at-home remedies could help.
Read on, and you’ll also learn why you must take feline UTIs seriously and if—or when—you should take your cat to a veterinarian for professional help.
Symptoms of a UTI in cats
So, you suspect that your beloved feline may be suffering from discomfort as a result of a urinary tract infection? Thankfully, it’s easy to spot the signs of a UTI in a cat.
Five of the most common symptoms include frequent trips to the litter box, peeing outside the litter box, drinking more than usual, excessive licking, and blood in the urine.
Frequent trips to the litter box
Much like in other species—humans included!—an urge to urinate is a leading indicator of a possible urinary tract infection. If your cat is visiting their litter box more than usual, he or she may be suffering from a UTI.
This will be particularly clear if they’re making repeated visits but often failing to produce any waste. Similarly, producing only a minimal amount of urine each time may also be an indicator of a UTI.
Peeing outside the litter box
Urinary tract infections can be painful, especially if left untreated. Cats experiencing pain or discomfort may begin to look for places to pee outside of their litter box.
If you’re finding spots of urine around the house, this could be a sign that your cat is experiencing a UTI.
Whether it’s frequent trips to the litter box or peeing outside of it, it’s essential to find a solution. Accordingly, we’ll delve into how you can treat your cat’s UTI at home in a moment.
Drinking more than usual
Urinary tract infections can cause an urge to urinate and a desire to ease discomfort by passing water. Cats experiencing a urinary tract infection may begin to drink more than usual.
How long can cats go without water? While cats can often go without food for short periods, a lack of access to water can pose a serious risk to health in as little as a few hours. As such, and for this and their general well-being, it’s important always to have fresh water on offer.
Excessive licking is another common urinary tract infection symptom in cats. This is most often a result of your cat trying to minimize the discomfort they’re feeling around their urethral opening.
Blood in the urine
Any sign of blood is understandably alarming, particularly when it appears in urine or feces. While blood in your cat’s urine can be a sign of something more serious such as a cyst or tumor, it may also present as a symptom of a urinary tract infection.
Generally, an indicator of a more serious UTI, blood in the urine may call for a veterinarian trip. This is especially true if you’ve already attempted to treat your cat’s UTI at home without success.
When should I take my cat to the vet?
Besides the presence of blood in the urine, there are several other serious urinary tract infection indicators. All of these mean you may need to take your cat to the veterinarian.
If they’re particularly vocal or unusually lethargic while simultaneously experiencing other symptoms, a vet visit may be in order.
Severe cases of infection can lead to more serious complaints, including blockages of the urethra as a result of, for example, inflammatory material or urinary stones. Left untreated, a complete blockage can cause the bladder to rupture – a potentially fatal condition. If you suspect a blockage, contact your veterinarian immediately.
Meanwhile, if you suspect a urinary tract infection but have been unable to treat the problem at home, you should also make an appointment.
On which note, and without further ado, what follows are seven tried-and-tested at-home remedies for a cat UTI.
At-home remedies for a cat UTI
Preventative measures to urinary tract infections and acting quickly on any possible early UTI symptoms can often avoid a veterinarian visit.
A holistic approach can typically be employed to great success. The same is true of probiotics and supplements such as glucosamine and chondroitin.
If a UTI has already taken hold, please seek veterinary help as soon as possible. Cats can get critically ill if their UTI isn’t treated quickly.
A major focus when tackling a urinary tract infection and its symptoms should be to improve your cat’s hydration – something that’s also great for their health in general. This helps to flush their bladder clean of infection-causing bacteria.
Bone broth is ideal for this and boasts the added benefit of being highly nutritious. Packed with vitamins and minerals, it’s an excellent anti-inflammatory, too. This means it’s great for reducing swelling and discomfort in the bladder.
Apple cider vinegar
As a cat owner, you can use apple cider vinegar to help neutralize your pet’s urine, where alkalinity is an aggravating factor. You can quickly and easily test the pH of their urine at home with a reagent strip or dipstick.
Apple cider vinegar can often lower a higher than average pH added half a teaspoon or less at a time to their food each day. Continue to test the pH of your cat’s urine until it returns to a normal level.
However, if your cat has kidney disease do not give them apple cider vinegar.
Probiotics are great for maintaining the beneficial bacteria crucial to your cat’s health. They can help fight off infection-causing bacteria or prevent it from taking hold in the first place. As such, probiotics are a fantastic tool in the fight against urinary tract infections.
Probiotics can also help restore healthy bacteria affected by the use of antibiotics. Antibiotics are frequently prescribed by veterinarians to combat UTIs and other infections.
D-mannose is a simple sugar similar to glucose. It’s also another fantastic tool in helping to both fights off and prevent urinary tract infections in cats.
The antimicrobial properties of D-mannose help cats excrete harmful bacteria from their bladders. Use as the first line of defense or in combination with, for example, bone broth or apple cider vinegar for an effective way to treat your cat’s UTI at home.
Much like apple cider vinegar, you can use cranberries to the same effect: to increase acidity and reduce alkalinity in your cat’s urine. Follow the same instructions but use a cranberry supplement rather than sugary cranberry juice.
One benefit of cranberries over apple cider vinegar is that a powdered supplement will often be much more palatable to your cat.
With a neutral pH balance achieved, it’s important to stop supplementing their diet promptly. Continuing to supplement can make their urine too acidic. This is something that’s liable to cause similar problems to urine that’s too alkaline.
Glucosamine and chondroitin
A combination of glucosamine and chondroitin is regularly used in cats, dogs, and other pets to fight a variety of ailments. These range from urinary tract infections to arthritis.
Together, they’re capable of reducing UTI symptoms and helping to soothe irritated bladder walls. For every 10 pounds of your cat’s weight, add 100 milligrams of glucosamine and 50 milligrams of chondroitin to their food daily.
Alternatively, opt for a prevent urinary tract infections in cats and simply follow the instructions on the box. Continue this until symptoms subside.
A popular holistic option for treating your cat’s urinary tract infection at home is to use marshmallow root. Marshmallow root combines many of the benefits of other at-home remedies for a cat UTI. These include killing bacteria, reducing inflammation, and soothing the bladder.
Like bone broth, as a diuretic, it can also help to flush out the bladder and potentially any infection-causing bacteria. Look for a pet-friendly marshmallow root supplement. Follow the instructions as they pertain to your cat’s weight and the severity of his or her symptoms.
Urinary Track Gold, from Pet Wellbeing, is a good option for an easy to use tincture that supports healthy urinary tract in cats.
How to prevent UTIs in cats
With your feline companion now hopefully on the mend, it’s important to take steps to prevent future urinary tract infections. If you’ve been asking yourself, “how do I treat my cat’s UTI at home?” and have successfully healed your cat’s UTI, you may now be wondering how to prevent future infections.
Even where a cat hasn’t experienced a UTI before, the same measures can be taken preventatively. Preventative measures will help safeguard against possible future infections. These include the following recommendations:
Feed wet cat food
Feed wet cat food to help maintain optimal hydration in your cat because it contains 70-80% water. Half your kitty’s needed daily intake!
You can read more about the best urinary cat food choices. We’ve reviewed the best dry and wet cat foods specifically formulated for your cat’s urinary tract health.
Change your cats drinking water daily
Change your cat’s drinking water daily to prevent the possibility of bacteria developing in their bowl. Fresh clean water will also entice most cats to take regular drinks, cutting the risk of ongoing or future urinary tract infections.
Cats prefer to drink from moving water, as opposed to still water like that in a water bowl. Consider a water fountain for cats to encourage them to drink regularly throughout the day.
Continuing to supplement with probiotics
For cats who have suffered from urinary tract infections in the past, always supplement their diet with probiotics. We recommend Kitty P Freely Urinary Tract Support Probiotic, by Fidobiotics.
This is especially important following the application of prescribed antibiotics. Probiotics will restore healthy bacteria impacted by the medication itself.
Keep your cat’s litter box clean
In the best interests of your pet, you should always keep a clean litter box. Not only does this minimize odor and give your feline friend somewhere pleasant to pass waste, but it’s also key to good health overall. This includes the health of their digestive system and urinary tract, reducing the risk of them falling victim to infection as a result of a dirty litter box.
Cat litter disposal systems are a great visual reminder to help us, humans, to empty our cat’s litter box. Plus the convenience they offer encourages frequent litter box clean-up.
A high-quality dust-free cat litter is generally recommended to keep dust and litter particles to a minimum. This helps maintain a clean environment and keeps dust off your cat’s fur and hindquarters.
How can I treat my cat’s UTI at home?
With urinary tract infections a potential prospect for all cats, it’s vital to do whatever is possible to cut the risk. Where a UTI is suspected, it’s of the utmost importance that you do everything in your power to treat it.
Whether using an at-home remedy or arranging for a visit to your cat’s veterinarian, it’s crucial to tackle the problem head-on.
Suspect a mild UTI? Why not try a combination of bone broth and marshmallow root for a two-pronged, holistic approach to fighting off an infection? Alternatively, consider D-mannose or glucosamine and chondroitin for a more supplement-led angle.
If you’re in any doubt, or if symptoms appear to be worsening, consult your veterinarian’s office. They’ll be able to offer further advice or, where appropriate, make a quick appointment to get things looked at more closely.