Cat Keeps Getting Urinary Tract Infections

A reader wonders what can be causing recurrent UTIs in his cat. Read our response.

Cat keeps getting urinary tract infectionsQuestion: Our female cat seems to keep getting a urinary tract infection every three or four months. Other than not having a clean litter box, what can keep causing this?

She eats Science Diet cat food; she has no stress. We do not know what to do. She is killing our carpets. Thanks. –Rick R.

Rick, I’m sorry to hear that your little kitty is sick so frequently. I have two cats, and I’m heartbroken if they so much as break a claw. (Though I am less heartbroken when they break a claw on my new sofa or because they walked under my feet while begging for food.)

There are several things that can cause urinary tract infections in cats.

According to Dr. Salah Hassan of American Veterinary Center in Cairo, all feline UTIs are caused by bacteria. Sometimes if the bacteria are very strong they will be only weakened by antibiotics and over-the-counter treatments rather than entirely eradicated. So it might seem as though your kitty is getting multiple UTIs, when in reality it may very well be the same one that simply isn’t going away.

You need to go to your veterinarian and have a urinary culture and sensitivity test. The vet will take some of your cat’s urine and grow the bacteria in several different petri dishes. When the bacteria is ready, the lab techs will add different sorts of antibiotics until they determine which kind of antibiotics will actually kill the bacteria.

If it isn’t bacteria, your cat may have stones in her urinary tract from an imbalanced diet. If a cat’s mineral intake is not properly balanced, stones, much like human kidney stones, can form. I notice you said you are feeding her Science Diet; this is a good choice so it seems unlikely that your cat’s problem is related to her diet.

Scented litters and clumping litters can irritate a cat’s urinary tract, leaving it more vulnerable to a feline UTI. Try switching to a non-clumping, non-scented litter to alleviate the problem.

And one of the basics: Make sure your cat has access to lots of clean, fresh water.

Good luck, and let us know how it goes.

Photo: Apogee Photography/Flickr

Sarah Blakemore

View posts by Sarah Blakemore
Sarah Blakemore has been researching and writing about pet care and pet behaviors since 2007. She has cared for many pets over the years and has volunteered with several animal shelters around the world.

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