Calming Your Cat’s Pain. Soothing Solutions for Feline UTIs

Understanding UTIs in cats

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) in cats occur when bacteria get into the urinary tract and bladder, often from the skin near the anus or genitals. Once inside, the bacteria multiply and cause inflammation and infection [1]. UTIs are relatively uncommon in cats, but can occur more frequently in cats with other medical conditions like kidney disease, diabetes, or hyperthyroidism.

Bacteria can get into the urinary tract in various ways:

  • Ascending from the urethra up to the bladder
  • Hematogenous spread from elsewhere in the body
  • Descending from the kidneys down to the bladder
  • Direct introduction during catheterization

Common bacterial causes of UTIs in cats include E. coli, Enterococcus species, Staphylococcus species, and Streptococcus species. Certain breeds like Persians and Himalayans may be more prone to recurrent UTIs [2].

Recognizing UTI symptoms

Some common signs that your cat may have a UTI include:

Straining to urinate: Cats with UTIs may strain or take a long time when trying to urinate. They will look like they are putting in a lot of effort to pee just a little bit. This straining is a sign that something is not right with their urinary system. According to, frequent straining and difficulty urinating are very common with cat UTIs.

Frequent urination: You may notice your cat wanting to go to the litter box more often when they have a UTI. They may only pass a small amount of urine each time. The infection causes an urgent and persistent need to pee. As noted by, increased frequency of urination is a telltale sign of UTIs in cats.

Crying in the litter box: The act of urinating may become painful when your cat has a UTI. You may notice them crying or whimpering when in the litter box trying to pee. The burning sensation creates distress each time they urinate. According to, crying or vocalizations while trying to pee are common UTI symptoms.

Getting a vet diagnosis

It is important to get a proper diagnosis from your veterinarian if you suspect your cat has a UTI. The veterinarian will need to examine your cat and collect a urine sample for urinalysis testing ( This allows the vet to check for signs of infection, inflammation, crystals, or stones in the bladder. Often a urine culture is done as well to identify the type of bacteria causing the infection, which informs the proper antibiotic treatment.

Cats are good at hiding illness, so some symptoms like frequent urination or straining may not be obvious. Your vet can do a physical exam to check for pain, discomfort, or bladder thickening. They may also run bloodwork to assess kidney function and look for elevated white blood cell count with infection. Don’t try to treat a suspected UTI at home without a diagnosis, as you need to know the cause in order to give proper treatment.

Treating the UTI

If your vet diagnoses your cat with a UTI, they will likely prescribe antibiotics to treat the infection. Some common antibiotics used for cat UTIs include amoxicillin and cephalosporins like cefpodoxime or cefovecin (Source). Antibiotics are usually given for 7-14 days. It’s important to give the full course as prescribed by your vet, even if your cat seems better, to ensure the infection is fully cleared.

Your vet may also prescribe anti-inflammatory medication to help soothe inflammation and discomfort from the UTI. Common options are meloxicam or buprenorphine. These can provide pain relief alongside the antibiotics to help your cat feel better faster.

In severe cases, your vet may hospitalize your cat on IV fluids and injectable medications. But for most UTIs, oral antibiotics and anti-inflammatories at home will be sufficient.

Make sure to give all medications exactly as your vet prescribes and follow up if symptoms don’t improve within a few days. Catching and properly treating a UTI quickly can help prevent complications or recurrence down the road.

Encouraging Water Intake

One of the best ways to encourage a cat with a UTI to drink more water is by switching to a wet food diet. Wet food has much higher water content than dry kibble, so it provides more hydration with each meal. According to veterinarians on Reddit (source), feeding wet food is an excellent way to increase fluid intake in cats.

You can also encourage drinking by getting a cat fountain. The moving water attracts feline interest and curiosity. Cat fountains come in many designs, from simple bowls with circulating water to more elaborate multi-tier cascades. The sound and motion of the water entices cats to drink. Anecdotal evidence on Reddit (source) indicates that finicky cats who avoid still water bowls will enthusiastically drink from cat fountains.

Litter box hygiene

Keeping the litter box clean is crucial when your cat has a UTI. Scoop solid waste from the litter box at least twice per day. Dump out all of the litter and wash the litter box with soap and hot water once per week. When washing the box, use a mild dish soap or a cat-safe disinfectant. Avoid harsh chemicals that could further irritate your cat’s urinary tract.

Change the litter itself frequently, dumping it out and adding fresh litter every 2-3 days. Use an unscented, dust-free litter to avoid irritating your cat’s urinary system. Clumping litter is a good option as it traps urine and keeps it away from your cat.

Make sure there are enough litter boxes for the number of cats in your home. As a general rule, have one more box than you have cats. Place boxes in low-traffic areas that give your cat privacy. Keeping the litter box clean is key for a cat with a UTI as it encourages proper litter box habits.

Stress reduction

Reducing stress is an important part of helping your cat feel better when they have a UTI. Stress can exacerbate symptoms and make your cat feel worse. Some tips for reducing stress in your cat include:

Giving your cat more playtime and affection is key. Play with interactive toys like feather wands and laser pointers to get your cat moving and burn off nervous energy. Give plenty of pets, cuddles and brushing to help your cat relax.

Using synthetic feline pheromones like Feliway can also help reduce stress. The pheromones mimic cats’ natural facial pheromones and signal safety and contentment. Diffusers, sprays and wipes with feline pheromones are available to make your cat feel comfortable.

Providing a quiet, cozy place for your cat to retreat can give them a sense of security. Cats feel calmer in small spaces and may benefit from an enclosed bed or hiding box.

Maintaining a predictable routine also helps cats feel less anxious. Feed them and clean the litter box at the same times each day.


Feeding your cat a high-moisture diet can help increase water consumption and dilute the urine, making it less irritating to the urinary tract. Canned or raw diets tend to have much higher moisture content than dry kibble. Aim to feed wet food or add water to kibble to increase your cat’s hydration. According to veterinarian Dr. Karen Becker, a species-appropriate diet for cats contains around 70-80% moisture.

Some studies also indicate that increasing omega-3 fatty acids like those found in fish oil may help reduce inflammation in the urinary tract and bladder. Adding an omega-3 supplement or cat food containing fish ingredients can provide anti-inflammatory support. However, be sure to introduce dietary changes slowly and consult your vet.




Certain supplements may help reduce the frequency of UTIs in cats or assist with UTI treatment. Some of the most commonly used supplements for feline UTIs include:


D-mannose is a simple sugar that is thought to help prevent bacteria from sticking to the urinary tract lining. It can be purchased as a powder or capsule and added to your cat’s food or water.


Like D-mannose, cranberry may help stop bacteria from adhering to the bladder wall. Cranberry capsules formulated for cats are available. Only give your cat cranberry supplements made specifically for pets.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is an antioxidant that may help boost your cat’s immune system to fight off infection. Always consult your vet before giving your cat vitamin C, as excessive amounts can cause bladder stones.

While supplements can be beneficial, they should not replace veterinary treatment for a current UTI. Always talk to your vet before giving your cat any new supplements, especially with an active UTI.

When to see the vet again

If your cat’s UTI symptoms persist or return despite treatment, additional vet exams are crucial. According to, recurring UTIs in cats can indicate an underlying condition requiring further diagnosis and care. Schedule a follow-up appointment with your vet if your cat continues exhibiting symptoms like frequent urination, straining, blood in urine, or vocalizing pain when urinating after finishing the prescribed UTI treatment. Persistent UTIs in cats can lead to complications like bladder or kidney infections, so promptly consult your vet if your cat’s condition does not improve.

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