Mystery Cat Illness Could Be Urinary Tract Infection

What could a combination of vague cat health symptoms be? CAT FANCY and's veterinary expert answers.

By Arnold Plotnick, DVM | Posted: August 16, 2012, 3 p.m. EST

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Orange Tabby Cat
Cats feel discomfort in several ways when they have a bladder infection or inflammatory skin conditions.
Q: A week ago, my female cat stopped eating, started constantly cleaning herself below, began meowing whenever she was picked up and she now keeps away from everyone. She seems very alert, although I'm not sure if she still uses the litterbox. I am very worried about her.

A: I can't tell, based on the limited information in your letter, what the problem might be. When you say “cleaning herself below,” I assume you mean that she's licking her genital region excessively. This is sometimes a sign of a cat's urinary tract discomfort, such as a bladder infection; inflammatory skin conditions can also cause persistent licking.  

You mention that you don't know if she's using the litterbox. I'm going to assume that you mean that you're not sure if you're seeing evidence of urination in the box. This, too, is often seen in cats with urinary tract infection or inflammation. As soon as any urine accumulates in their bladder, they experience an urge to urinate, and may urinate only a drop or two, which can sometimes be undetectable in the litter. Or, affected cats will urinate in inappropriate places, foregoing their litterbox completely. Most cats with urinary tract issues will continue to eat, although some cats are uncomfortable and will stop eating.

You need to take your cat to the vet. If your vet thinks it's a urinary issue, a urinalysis, urine culture and an X-ray should be performed to determine the specific issue that is affecting your cat.
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Mystery Cat Illness Could Be Urinary Tract Infection

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Reader Comments

Michelle    International

2/18/2016 8:08:24 AM

Sounds like a uti, which is an urgent life threatening situation. Get your cat to the Vet TODAY.

CatChannel Editor    Irvine, CA

2/25/2013 9:44:24 AM

Pam -- Talk to your vet about preventative measures, such as a change in diet. Also, consider a second opinion from another vet. He or she might have additional insight as to why the condition returns. Good luck

pam    portland, IN

2/22/2013 3:54:58 AM

my cat in the past sometime has had a bladder infection, and now he coming up with scar tissue, which in time he cant urinate. its in his urithra and my vet opens him up and he does fine for a while and then he will start in again. any suggestions on this. is this curreble somehow with medicine?

lou    boston, MA

10/6/2012 7:37:17 AM

an excellent article and very helpful

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