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Male Cat UTI Symptoms and Treatment (Plus Preventive Tips)

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Dr. Mark is a veterinarian. He works with dogs, cats, exotics, and livestock.

Frequent attempts to urinate are a classic UTI symptom. But if your cat is straining to urinate, an urgent vet visit is in order.

Frequent attempts to urinate are a classic UTI symptom. But if your cat is straining to urinate, an urgent vet visit is in order.

What Can I Give My Male Cat for a UTI?

If your male cat has symptoms of a urinary tract disease, it can turn into an emergency very quickly. Male cats have a very small passage for their urine to come out, so they cannot pass stones as easily as females and thus become blocked more easily.

Male Cat UTI Symptoms

  • Attempting to urinate more often
  • Straining to urinate
  • Painful urination (cries while using the litter box)
  • Discolored urine (tinged with blood)
  • Urinating outside of the litter box

The first time your cat gets a UTI, you might just notice your cat using the litter box a little more often and only producing a small amount of urine. But if you do not switch his diet right away, it is probably going to get worse. About half of cats will have this problem more than once. (1)

Feline Urinary Blockages Are Extremely Dangerous

If your cat is straining and you cannot take him to the vet immediately, you can try to decrease the inflammation, but if he has developed swelling in the urinary tract from crystals, he might end up getting blocked and die. Do not try to "wait this one out" until your cat starts feeling better again.

Home Remedies for Cystitis in Cats

If your cat seems to have some of these UTI symptoms but is not yet blocked up and straining to pee, here are a few things you can do at home to get him relief before going to the vet.

Give Cranberry Tablets

Cranberry will not eliminate a UTI but it can reduce the inflammation in the bladder and urinary tract. (2) The chemicals in cranberry tend to reduce inflammation in the urinary tract. Although they will not get rid of a UTI they will make it less painful for a cat to use the litter box.

Switch to a Diet That Will Acidify His Urine

There are many good diets at pet stores now that make the urine a little more acidic and less likely to develop urinary infections.

This may or may not be enough to prevent this from happening again; in one study, only 2 out of 18 cats fed a canned acidifying diet developed cystitis again, whereas with the dry diet, 11 out of 28 had signs a second time. (3)

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Hills has a canned diet that is also good for cats with hairballs, and both Purina and Iams also make a urinary tract diet for cats.

Make Your Cat's Urine More Acidic

Cats normally have acidic urine, and bacteria does not grow well in that environment. By making the urine more acidic, many of the bacteria will stop producing, although this may not be enough to make your cat totally better.

Even with diet improvements, about a quarter of all cats with urinary problems have bladder stones caused by high pH. (4) To make the urine more acidic:

  • Change the diet to canned food that has "urinary tract care" on the label.
  • Feed small meals more frequently. About four times a day is okay, but even more might help.
  • Feed a natural, raw-food diet. Raw diets have as much or more water than canned products and will also produce acidic urine.
  • Give as much water as possible so that your cat is not mildly dehydrated: Dehyrated cats appear to have more chemicals that lead to inflammation of the bladder. (5) There is not much evidence that dehydration leads to UTIs, but just keeping the urine flowing will help to decrease the amount of bacteria.
Keeping your cat hydrated can help reduce bladder issues.

Keeping your cat hydrated can help reduce bladder issues.

How to Get Your Cat to Drink More Water

In order to get more water into your cat:

  • Only feed canned food. You can also add a tablespoon of water to each can to make it even more moist.
  • Use several water bowls around the house. At least one of them should be shallow so that even cats with whisker fatigue will want to drink.
  • Add an ice cube to the water bowl in the kitchen. Some cats like to play with ice cubes, and others just appreciate the cool water.
  • Use a ceramic water fountain. Some cats appreciate the running water more than that in their bowl and will be more likely to drink throughout the day.

Remember—Blockages Are Serious

I do not want to leave you with the impression that taking those steps is going to protect your cat from developing a blockage. Blocked cats will need more treatments and may even need surgery.

If you need to do something before you can take him to the vet, however, these are the things that have been proven to help.

Sources

  1. Kaul E, Hartmann K, Reese S, Dorsch R. Recurrence rate and long-term course of cats with feline lower urinary tract disease. J Feline Med Surg. 2020 Jun;22(6):544-556. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7252222/
  2. Colombino E, Cavana P, Martello E, Devalle V, Miniscalco B, Ravera N, Zanatta R, Capucchio MT, Biasibetti E. A new diet supplement formulation containing cranberry extract for the treatment of feline idiopathic cystitis. Nat Prod Res. 2022 Jun;36(11):2884-2887. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34039227/
  3. Markwell PJ, Buffington CA, Chew DJ, Kendall MS, Harte JG, DiBartola SP. Clinical evaluation of commercially available urinary acidification diets in the management of idiopathic cystitis in cats. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 1999 Feb 1;214(3):361-5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10023397/
  4. Tefft KM, Byron JK, Hostnik ET, Daristotle L, Carmella V, Frantz NZ. Effect of a struvite dissolution diet in cats with naturally occurring struvite urolithiasis. J Feline Med Surg. 2021 Apr;23(4):269-277. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8008402/
  5. Kobayashi Y, Nakamura T, Yonezawa T, Kobayashi K, Murata T. The profile of urinary lipid metabolites in cats with bacterial cystitis. J Vet Med Sci. 2021 Dec 23;83(12):1977-1981. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8762420/

This article is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from your veterinarian. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

© 2022 Dr Mark

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