Urinary problems like urinary tract infections (UTIs) are common in cats. They are caused by microorganisms that enter the urinary tract, travel through the urethra and typically settle in the bladder.
The problem is more common in cats that are over 10 years old, female or have other medical conditions like diabetes, kidney disease or obesity. Also, cats that have had urinary tract surgery are at a higher risk.
Some symptoms of a UTI in cats include urinating outside the litter box, going to the litter box more frequently than normal, blood in the urine, signs of pain in their posture and drinking more water than usual.
Cats diagnosed with a UTI are typically treated with a broad-spectrum antibiotic. It is extremely important that you administer the antibiotic exactly as instructed by the veterinarian and for the complete duration of the treatment course.
Apart from antibiotics, some dietary and lifestyle changes can help resolve the problem and prevent future UTIs in your cat.
Here are several ways to treat and prevent urinary tract infections in cats.
1. Apple Cider Vinegar
If your cat is suffering from a UTI, the best home treatment is apple cider vinegar. In fact, regular use of apple cider vinegar may prevent frequent occurrences of UTIs. You can also use it to treat feline cystitis and get rid of fleas from cats, dogs, and even your house.
The acetic acid in apple cider vinegar helps neutralize the harmful bacteria that cause the infection. Additionally, several other nutrients in it help boost your cat’s immunity to fight off any kind of infection.
To help treat the infection, you can mix raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar into your cat’s food. The amount depends on the weight of your cat. Cats weighing:
- 15 to 20 pounds should be given ½ teaspoon.
- 7 to 14 pounds should be given ¼ teaspoon.
- 4 to 6 pounds should be given ⅛ teaspoon.
- Less than 4 pounds should be given 5 drops.
2. Extra Water
While treating a UTI, you need to make sure that your cat drinks more water. In fact, drinking more water is also the most important preventive measure for urinary tract disorders like UTIs.
Adequate water intake ensures urination, which helps flush harmful toxins as well as bacteria within the urinary tract out of the body.
Always keep fresh water available to ensure your cat drinks small quantities frequently. You can also give your cat canned food, which can contain as much as 75 percent water.
D-mannose, a tasteless sugar, is another good remedy to treat your cat’s UTI. The bacteria causing the infection will bind to the D-mannose and get flushed out of the body through urination.
Although it’s sugar, it does not affect blood sugar or pH levels and is safe for diabetic cats, too. This type of sugar is also safe for pregnant or nursing cats.
D-mannose powder is readily available in the market and can be given once or twice a day. The recommended dose is ¼ to ½ teaspoon mixed with 1 tablespoon of water. Add it to your cat’s food or water.
4. Wet Food
Dry commercial foods can be one of the main reasons why your feline friend has frequent UTIs.
It is highly recommended to avoid feeding your cat dry commercial foods as well as seafood ingredients, especially when suffering from a UTI.
Instead, feed your cat high-quality canned food or wet food as much as possible. Also, homemade soup or stew can be given to cats to help build immunity and fight infections.
If your cat is diabetic, proceed cautiously with any food changes. Always bear in mind that carbohydrates should be less than 7 to 10 percent of your cat’s total daily calorie intake.
5. Unsweetened Cranberry Juice
For any kind of bladder problems in cats, you can always rely on unsweetened cranberry juice. Cranberry juice helps acidify the urine and make the urinary tract less hospitable to bacteria. In fact, cranberry juice can also be used to treat cystitis in cats.
Most cats do not like the taste of cranberry juice, so to disguise the taste, mix a little bit with your cat’s food or water. You can also consider cranberry extract, but only after consulting your vet.
6. Cod Liver Oil
Being a powerful antibiotic, cod liver oil also helps a lot in the treatment of UTIs in cats. It kills the harmful microbes in the urinary tract.
Cod liver oil also prevents the formation of urine crystals and stones as well as keeping the urine from smelling.
Feed your cat cod liver oil as soon as you notice your cat straining over the litter box. Mix 1 teaspoon of cod liver oil into your cat’s canned food once daily.
7. Build Immunity
You can help build up your cat’s immunity to prevent recurrences of UTIs or other urinary or bladder infections.
To build immunity, there are several supplements that you can add to your cat’s diet that improve the functioning of the immune system.
Some supplements that are beneficial include omega fatty acids and vitamins C, E, and V. Before adding any supplement to your cat’s diet, consult your vet.
Suffering from a UTI can take a toll on your cat’s energy level. So, it’s important to allow your cat to rest as much as possible.
Proper rest will help build your cat’s immunity and accelerate the healing process.
Give your cat a comfortable place to sleep and rest throughout the day. At the same time, avoid having your cat exercise or running around.
- As stress is often a trigger for urinary tract issues in cats, ensure that your feline friend has a calm environment.
- Keep the litter box clean to prevent your cat from holding urine for extended periods of time. Many cats won’t use a dirty litter box.
- Clean your cat’s genital area to make sure there are no bacteria that can travel into the urinary tract and aggravate the symptoms. To clean the genital area, add some burdock root extract to water and use it to rinse the area. Consult your vet before using the extract.
- Always keep your vet informed of how your cat is responding to treatment.