How to Prevent Feline UTI

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UTIs are common and often recurring problems for cats.
UTIs are common and often recurring problems for cats. (Image: cat image by John Hofboer from Fotolia.com)

Bladder infections, or urinary tract infections (UTIs), are a common and occasionally recurring condition for many cats. While adult male cats seem the most susceptible, any cat can exhibit the uncomfortable signs of a UTI at any time—straining to urinate in small amounts, urinating outside the litter box, licking their genital area and crying or meowing. Preventing cat UTIs may be done at home by altering the cat’s lifestyle slightly, however, if you suspect that you cat already has a UTI, consult a veterinarian immediately.

Things You'll Need

  • Fresh water
  • Wet food
  • Clean litter box

Provide ample fresh water for your cat. Cats often become finicky about old water or water that has small pieces of food in it, so freshen up your cat's water dish frequently. Some cats prefer drinking from running water, so you may want to consider one of the many commercially available cat fountains for purchase at a pet store.

Switch your cat to wet food if your cat is not an avid water drinker. The natural diet of cats includes fresh meat, which contains more moisture than dry food, and you can simulate this diet easily by feeding your cat high-quality canned foods.

Read labels. Look for food low in calcium oxalate, magnesium, ammonium and phosphorous, all of which can form crystals in the bladder, leading to recurring bladder infections or long-term urinary disease. These minerals are often found in commercial foods formulated to lower the pH of the cat’s urine.

Feed your cat smaller meals more frequently or allow them to eat “free choice.” According to information prepared by the Cornell Feline Health Center at Cornell University, researchers have found that cats allowed to eat in this way have more acidic urine, which helps prevent infection and crystal formation.

Clean your cat’s litter box frequently. Cats that hold their urine for long periods of time are at risk of developing UTIs.

Eliminate litter-box stress. If you have multiple cats, make sure that you have an adequate number of litter boxes, which is one more than the total number of cats in the house, according to information from Cornell Feline Health Center. Place the litter boxes in quiet areas where the cat can urinate while feeling safe.

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