Does Your Cat Have a Urinary Tract Infection?

An orange cat sitting in a litter box

Have you noticed changes in your cat’s litter box habits? Is she urinating in a new spot, spraying the wall or straining to urinate? While these may be signs of behavioural problems, they can also be caused by a urinary tract infection (UTI). Read on to learn if your cat has a UTI, how to treat the infection and how to prevent it from occurring again.

What Causes UTIs in Cats

UTIs typically occur when bacteria moves up the urethra and into the bladder. When the bacteria moves into the bladder it can multiply, resulting in an infection. In other cases, crystals or stones that form in the urine can cause UTIs. These can irritate the lining of the urinary tract and either partially or completely block the flow of urine.

Signs of Urinary Tract Infections in Cats

With a bacterial infection or blockage, urinating can be a painful process for your cat. Some signs of a UTI include:

  • Pain/crying when urinating
  • Straining in the litter box
  • Urinating outside of the litter box
  • Frequently cleaning/licking genitals
  • Frequent urination
  • Blood in the urine
  • Showing signs of anxiety – i.e. hiding or pacing


If you suspect that your cat may have a UTI, you should take her to the vet immediately. Untreated urinary tract infections can lead to further complications to your cat’s health. Your vet will give her a physical exam and collect urine samples. Blood work, x-rays, and an abdominal ultrasound can also be conducted. Treatment is typically a simple process involving antibiotics if the problem is caught early on.

Preventing UTIs in Cats

Your vet will give the best recommendation on how to prevent UTIs. This recommendation will depend on how the UTI was caused in the first place.

To prevent future infections, make sure your cat is eating a well-balanced diet and stay aware of any changes in her behaviour. Catching changes in her behaviour early on can help ensure you catch the UTI in its early stages and treat it before a more serious infection occurs.

Your veterinarian may also recommend dietary changes to help prevent UTIs and the formation of crystals in the bladder. If you’re interested in specially formulated foods, browse our line of urinary tract cat food.

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