Guide to Cat Bladder Health

" Supporting Cat bladder health always involves a plan that addresses the lower urinary tract and in some cases, the kidneys. Urinary tract problems, like calculi or stones, infections, neoplasm (abnormal cell growth) and stress in the urinary bladder, are some examples of problems a cat may face. Diagnosis of bladder problems is never easy. It usually requires a detailed urinalysis. Laboratory examination of urine samples, taking a biopsy if needed and x-rays are other methods of confirming specific cat bladder issues. Different options for addressing these issues include medications, diet and surgery."

Cat Health Bladder Overview:

A cat's urinary system is of vital importance in maintaining the health and physiology or the normal functioning of a cat’s body. The kidney, ureter, urinary bladder, and urethra are all important organs in this system; each playing its own role in the excretion process which includes byproducts of the blood, tissues, or organs. Some glands are associated with the excretion process in that they regulate organ function.

The bladder collects the urine; which is excreted by the kidneys through the ureter and then disposes of it through the urethra, in the collective mechanism of urination. The main function of the bladder is to regulate the intervals of urination and the mechanism so that voluntary maturation (Urination) is completed vs. random involuntary leaking.

Problems in the bladder directly or indirectly effects the entire urinary system, specifically the lower urinary tract. Different health issues, such as abdominal pain, difficulty in urination, and bad habits, have been identified as being correlated with the bladder. These may be due to different causes, factors and abnormalities.

Cat Health and Bladder Issues:

Infections, Calculi (forms into cat  bladder stones) and Neoplasms (abnormal cell growth such as cancer) in the bladder are the main cat bladder problems.

  • Cat bladder Infections; bladder infections are one of the most common cat health issues. Different bacterial species such as Proteus, Staphylococcus, and Streptococcus can cause infections. The bacteria usually is contracted from a cat's environment, and travels up the urethra (tube that carries urine from the body).  Infections are referred to as cystitis in cats.

    Cat bladder infection symptoms usually include difficulty with urination, abdominal pain and blood mixed with pus that passes at the end of the urine stream. General signs of illness, such as fever, and loss of body conditions are usually present.
  • Cat Bladder Stones: Most commonly, calcium oxalate stones are the primary type of feline bladder stones a cat can suffer from. These are typically 3 mm in size, and may cause obstruction and difficulty urinating. As a result of the bladder stones, secondary intractable bacterial infections can form due to the stress on the cat's immune system.

    Cats with bladder stones appear stressed with a rough coat and experience difficulty and pain while urinating, with reduced volumes of urine passing with greater frequently.
  • Neoplasm or Cat Bladder Cancer; Identified types of cat bladder cancers are malignant in nature (fast spreading, cancerous) and can diffuse (spread) to other parts of body. Cat bladder cancer usually spreads to adjoining lymph nodes and into the lungs. Transitional carcinomas (new abnormal growth) are the most common type; which can form projections in the bladder, causing obstruction and narrowing of the urinary tract. Bacterial infections will occur in these cases.


In cats, urinary tract problems require a urinalysis or detailed examination of urine samples for pH, concentration, consistency and content. It not only helps in diagnosing possible health issues, but it also helps in deciding the most effective mode of treatment.

Clinical signs and history are other options, but symptoms usually are common to many issues associated with the urinary system and bladder including straining, abdominal pain and difficulty urinating, with the frequent passing of a reduced volume of urine.

Radiography, ultrasonography and detailed clinical examination can reveal the exact cause. The Culturing of urine samples is required in case bacterial infection is suspected.


Once the exact cause of any cat urinary tract issue is diagnosed, different treatment plans can be applied.

It is highly recommend that a cat be provided large volume of clean and hygienic drinking water. Dietary adjustments may be required, in case of bladder stones.

Cat bladder Infections can be treated by administering broad spectrum antibiotics for at least 2 weeks. Antibiotic therapy may be continued for 3–6 weeks, depending upon the cat's condition and the results of urine cultures carried out every 3–5 days.

Mild cases of bladder stones can be treated with a dietary adjustment which increases the magnesium content in the diet. Severe and chronic cases may require surgical removal.

Neoplasm or cancer on the other hand is treated surgically, but this is not effective, due to the malignant nature of tumors. Other treatment options such as chemotherapy can only prolong the life of affected cats; with the prognosis for such cases considered “Grave”.

There is a homeopathic natural remedy available called UTI-Free Formula which has been formulated to help prevent urinary tract and cat bladder problems.  It contains Berberis vulg (positively impacts the bladder, urinary tract and supports the immune system) and Cantharis (supports urine flow) and Staphysagris (urogenital health).

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References for Cat Bladder Health

The Merck/Merial Manual for Pet Health

J.K. Dhun, Textbook of Small Animal Medicine (Elsevier Health Sciences, 1999)

Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine

Washington State Uinversity College of Veterinary Medicine