In recent years, I realized that male cats are more than likely to suffer from UTIs (Urinary Tract Infections) which would be a real headache for you and your cat, as well as your bank account.
Male cats are much more prone to suffer UTI at some point in their life and to have it again the year after or in the next years to come, no matter whether they are outdoor or indoor cats. Sadly, due to the way their physique is constructed, their urine could get blocked much easier and therefore, it is much more common in male than in female cats.
What do I need to take care of to try to prevent UTI?
There are a few house rules that can help in preventing UTI, however, please remember that unfortunately UTI, especially in male cats, can happen even if you have taken care of all the house rules.
Firstly, please make sure the cat’s litter box is always clean, and what I mean by this is, do not delay removing their faeces, since that needs to be done daily (or even twice a day in most cases). Secondly, make sure you clean the litter box at least every week if not even twice a week. Your cat can get UTI from a dirty toilet (even if it is just urine in there). Thirdly, make sure your flat or house is clean (hoover and mop regularly). If you take your cat out, make sure it doesn’t eat any food it is not allowed or doesn’t engage in fights with other cats, etc. And last but not least, cats like being warm – make sure your cat has a warm blanket or corner where it could go, if it is a housecat- make sure the place where it sleeps keeps him warm.
This being said, UTI can appear even if you have taken care of all the above, unfortunately, so please pay attention to signs from your cat.
What signs and symptoms do I have to look for?
To catch your cat’s UTI on time, it might be useful to know the most common symptoms of it (I didn’t know, but fortunately I saw that something was wrong with Max’s behaviour, so I managed to catch it on time). Some of the most common symptoms of UTI include straining to urinate, squatting in the litterbox but still not passing any urine or passing very small amounts of urine, not urinating at all, and pain or discomfort when urinating (which can be seen by your cat excessively meowing in distress – pay attention to them, they want to tell you something), passing urine tinged with blood and urinating around the house, outside of the litter box. With Max, I knew something was wrong when he started trying to go to his litter box every 10 minutes and he would just squat and either not pee or pee very little. I got even more worried when, for the first time, he peed on the bed where we sleep with him. He was also waking us up more than usual and meowing in distress.
What to do next?
I recommend as soon as you see some of those signs, take your cat immediately to the vet as they will know the best thing to do next and they will determine how serious the situation is. By that, I mean they can examine your cat really quickly and recommend a few solutions to the problem. The good news here is that UTI is fully treatable if caught on time. The bad news is, no matter what the treatment is and how fast it is caught, it will still cost you a lot.
My recommendation for when you take your cat to the vet is, if your cat is still passing urine (even if not as much as previous times) and there is no blood in the urine and they ask you to decide whether you want them to put your cat on IVF and collect blood or whether you want them first for you to try an anti-inflammatory medicine liquid, to choose the second option.
Frist and foremost, it will prevent your cat from becoming anxious and worried, causing even more health problems, and secondly, if the anti-inflammatory medication helps, what could be better – both for your pet and your finances? Saying that, the anti-inflammatory medication still costs a lot, however, it is less stressful for your pet and less money than a blood test. I would also recommend asking for a urine sample collection kit, since with Max, we tried the anti-inflammatory but it didn’t work from the very first week, so I collected his urine with the special urine collection kit and gave it to the vet, so they could send it to the lab for a piece of mind. Fortunately, for my Max, the lab results came negative for UTI after two weeks of anti-inflammatory treatment and special urinary tract food (my Max eats only dry food, so I had to get the dry one).
I would recommend Royal Canin Urinary Tract dry food, however, you can get any that specialises in UTI. This food and the anti-inflammatory medicine that the vet prescribed helped my Max become better after two weeks. If, however, your cat is not healed by that and is still displaying worrying symptoms, please make sure you have given the urine sample to your vets for further examination. If the test results come positive for UTI, do not panic – it is treatable and the vets will recommend either a blood test or/and a suitable antibiotic for your cat - so that he gets better in no time!
What about Max?
Fortunately, my baby boy Max is all good and back to his normal playful but cuddly self! I managed to notice on time something wrong was happening as he behaved differently. I love my boy so much and I would do anything for him to be in perfect health all the time. Remember, when you get a pet – no matter if it is a dog, a cat, a hamster, or a parrot, you get them for at least a decade, so you need to make sure you are fully ready, committed and devoted to them as they are like never growing kids. In return, you get the best love a person can imagine, a best friend and companion, which is the best prize one could ever wish for!
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