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Blood in your cats urine

Blood or discoloured urine is a common reason cat owners go to the vet. You may find blood in the litter box, on bedding, or on the floor. Often, it is accompanied by your cat trying to pee often, but with only a little coming out.

When cats have problems with the urinary tract, they may be caused by inflammation or urinary stones in the urethra and/or bladder. Bacterial infections are less common, but they do occur and more often in older cats.

Symptoms of urinary tract problems in cats

Inflammation and infection of the urinary tract in cats can manifest itself in many ways:

  • Difficulty urinating, sometimes your cat may make squealing noises due to pain
  • Your cat urinates, or tries to urinate, much more often than usual
  • Bloody, discoloured, or foul-smelling urine
  • Your cat urinates in unusual places, such as on furniture and the floor
  • Excessive cleaning of the urethral opening and the area around the genitals
  • Your cat is tired, lethargic and shows a deteriorating general condition

Diagnosis of urinary problems in cats

The initial diagnosis is made by the symptoms above. But if possible, you need to find the cause of the symptoms, which could be infection, inflammation, or urinary stones.

  • Laboratory analysis of a urine sample
  • Bacterial culture of the urine to see if bacteria are present in the urinary tract
  • Blood tests to look for other causes of urinary tract disease, such as kidney disease
  • X-ray or ultrasound of the bladder and urethra, to any problems. These could be urinary stones or abnormal changes in the bladder wall

The urine sample should preferably be taken in as clean a manner as possible. You'll need to clean the litter box is before sampling and replace the litter with a sampling kit from a pharmacy or well-stocked pet store.

The replacement for the sand is small plastic balls that do not absorb the urine, so you can pour off the urine and leave the plastic balls behind. Pour the urine into a completely clean container and store in the refrigerator until the visit to the vet. Urine samples can also be taken directly at the vet via a small needle through the abdomen, into the bladder.

This is how you take a urine sample at home before the veterinary visit

  • You need to take the urine sample the same day as the vet visit, and in the most clean manner possible. Clean the litter box before sampling.
  • There is a special sample kit for urine samples. It contains plastic balls that do not absorb urine, which you replace your regular cat litter with. You can buy a sampling kit at a well-stocked pet store.
  • Pour the urine from the litter box into a completely clean container. Then store the container in the refrigerator until you go to the vet.

If the urine sample is being taken at the vet, you'll want to try and ensure there is some urine in your cats bladder. You could try not giving your cat access to their litter box for a few hours before your vet visit.

Treatment of urinary tract problems in cats

If your cat still seems to be fine aside from the blood, you can give it a couple of days before you seek care. But if your cat shows signs of urinary retention (trying to urinate without success), there is a lot of blood in the urine, or your cat has become tired, you should seek care immediately.

  • Urinary tract inflammation is treated by a veterinarian with painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Urinary retention requires urgent treatment to remove what is blocking the urinary tract. Your cat will be sedated and the urethra flushed so that urine can pass out. Drops are given to flush through the urinary tract and if the cat's kidneys have been affected, drops need to be given for a few days during simultaneous inpatient care. Blockage occurs almost exclusively in male cats, this is because the urethra is much longer and narrower than in female cats.
  • If your cat has urinary stone in the bladder or in the urethra, they must be removed. Some types of urinary stones can be dissolved with the help of special food. Others must be surgically removed.
  • Bacterial infection in the lower urinary tract usually responds well to antibiotic treatment according to culture and so-called resistance assessment. A resistance assessment is an examination where the antibiotic is used against the bacterial infection.
  • Cats that have recurring problems with the urinary tract may need to eat a special diet depending on the cause of the problems.
  • Regardless of the reason, it is good to increase the water intake to dilute the urine. You can do this by giving wet food and having several water bowls at home.
  • Reduce stress at home and enrich the cat's environment.

Important!

If your cat does not urinate for several hours despite trying, you must seek veterinary care urgently. A blockage in the urinary tract can be life-threatening, as the kidneys can be damaged by the urine not being passed out.

If you have an Agria Pet Insurance policy, you can get veterinary advice any time of the day or night with the Agria Vet Care app

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