Cats who have any sort of problem along their lower urinary tract, such as infection, stones, and blockages, are usually diagnosed with a general condition referred to as feline lower urinary tract disease or FLUTD. Urinary problems in cats can be very serious—some cases are even life threatening. Even the cases that aren't life threatening, however, are very difficult for owners to deal with. In many cases, the disease is persistent and recurring, which can get frustrating and expensive. The symptoms are also very difficult to deal with and control. Following are just a few symptoms that cat owners find very worrisome.
If your cat develops FLUTD, you will likely notice that they're having urinary issues. For example, you may notice that they aren't going to the litter box as much or that they're going in there only to sit and not get anything done. Some cats with FLUTD strain while they try to urinate. Others urinate in short spurts. In severe cases, cats with this condition stop urinating completely, which can be very painful and life threatening. Problems with urination are usually caused by a narrowing or obstruction of the urinary tract caused by inflammation or stones.
The opposite may also occur. Your cat may start to urinate very frequently, seeking out the litter box much more than usual. This is because they can't get out very much urine each time they go. Plus, urinary disease can cause your cat to feel like they have to go even when they don't. It's the same as when a human gets a UTI.
Nobody wants their cat to urinate outside of the litter box, but many cats with urinary tract issues do just that. Your cat may be unable to go only to have urine escape suddenly while they're walking through the house. You may think that they're just misbehaving, but they could be having a real issue. Some cats with partial blockages dribble urine here and there, leaving spots on your counters and furniture. Remember, these are usually not signs of behavioral issues, especially if your cat has always used the litter pan before.
Cats with severe infections may have noticeable signs of blood in their urine. You may notice that their urine looks discolored or darker than usual. Urine with blood in it can appear brown and red, depending on how much blood is present.
If your cat starts exhibiting signs of FLUTD, take them to a vet or pet hospital, like Seattle Emergency Veterinary Hospital, as soon as possible. Urinary tract disease is serious and can cause your cat a great deal of discomfort.