If your kitty is going to the litter box more than usual and seems down or depressed, it's not likely she raided your fridge and watched a chick flick -- she may have a bladder infection. Take her to the vet for a once a year urine test to be safe.
Common symptoms your kitty may display if she has developed a urinary tract infection include difficulty going to the bathroom, spending extra time in the litter box and going to the litter box much more often than usual. Sometimes blood in the urine may be present or the urine may have an unusually strong odor.
Because urinary tract infections can be painful, your cat may also display behavior changes including depression, lethargy and decreased appetite.
While male and female cats can both develop bladder infections, female cats do have a higher risk factor for these infections, according to veterinarian Eric Barchas's website. If your cat is overweight or has an existing medical condition, such as diabetes, dental disease or a condition which may affect her immune system, she could also have a higher risk for developing bladder infections.
Some cats though still develop urinary tract infections even though they do not fall into any of these high risk categories. So even though your cat is healthy and in good shape, it is still possible for her to develop a bladder infection at some point in her life.
A Trip to The Vet
Keep in mind that it is common for your pets to disguise any pain that they are feeling for as long as possible. By the time symptoms of a bladder infection in female cats are noticeable, the infection can be severe and painful. Advanced bladder infections may eventually affect the kidneys too.
This is why it is so important to take your cat to the vet as soon as she is showing any urinary tract infection symptoms, so she can begin treatment and feel better right away.
The Importance of a Yearly Urine Test
Because cats can have a urinary tract infection without showing symptoms, veterinarians recommend a once a year urine screening test. This test can be performed when she comes in for her yearly examination and vaccines too. If your cat has increased risk factors, she may need to have her urine tested more often, such as every six months.
If your cat is diagnosed with a bladder infection, the good news is that her infection will probably clear up in no time with prescribed antibiotics and plenty of extra tender loving care.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
Jane Peterson has been a professional freelance writer since 2006. She enjoys covering subjects such as personal health, diet, women's health, pets, alternative medicine and green living. Peterson graduated from the University of Florida in 2003, earning a bachelor's degree in science.