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UTI caused by stress/ anxiety?

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
Well, today, I had some unforunate news. After 5 weeks of treatment Summer still has her UTI! After her dose of the first two weeks of medicine (clavamox), she still had to be on the medication for another week to clear it up, well lo and didn't work and to make matters more interesting, it was worse than before! Summer's vet did not understand this, and I agreed to have an x-ray taken to look for stones...NONE. So they put her on orbax (1/2 a pill a day) for 2 weeks. Today I took her back for yet another urinalysis, and she STILL has it, though not as bad. Her pH has stayed consistently at 6.5 which is good, and the bacteria was lower this time, however, she still has A LOT of red bloodcells despite the fact that her urine is not discolored. So, now she is still on the orbax for yet ANOTHER 2 weeks and in 3 weeks (in order to get a good sample minus all of the antibiotics involved) they may do a culture to find what is wrong. The vet said she thought it may be a problem (can't remember the name for the life of me) that may be caused by stress/anxiety. This was news to me, and as we talked, she asked me about Summer's activities and I told her about her looking out the windows a lot and she asked me if I lived on the first floor (I live on the 2nd) and if their were any cats outside. My landlord has a shed where they feed, water, and give beds to several ferals, and I noticed she loves to look out that window and watch, (she could possibly smell them too as I open that window sometimes). She also looks out the other windows at birds. When I first got her, she freaked out when we brought her to the other side of the shelter by cats she wasn't familiar with. She also got really frightened at the neighbors cats one, and the other cats at the vet....they said that everytime they would take a cat out or put one in she would hiss and her hair would stand up......she also did this when I took her out of the vet cage at one other cat that she couldn't even see as his cage was covered with a towel. She also kept walking around and meowing all day Friday and freaked out during the wee hours of the morning Friday night.....nothing I did would calm her down! So, anyway do you guys think her UTI's could be stress related? Is my vet taking me for a ride? Do you have any suggestions with anything I can try?

P.S. She is COMPLETELY fine with people and will walk up to a complete stranger and demand attention.
post #2 of 28
I had a kitty with stress related UTI. He didn't have any bacteria, just blood. My vet didn't recommend antibiotics since there was no evidence of infection. She said to feed canned food to increase the water consumption and to recheck. He was fine on the recheck. Research interstitial cystitis in cats. That is what she said Zacky had. It can be treated with Elavil, amitriptyline, actually an antidepressant but it seems to help this problem. It is hard to treat and waxes and wanes on its own, making it hard to assess treatment. Hope this helps. Becky
post #3 of 28
UTI's can very definitely be stress-related. Often times when owner goes away on vacation leaving a cat alone in the care of someone else, the cat will stress and block, and owner comes home to find cat ill with UTI

I would look into the Bach Flower remedies to soothe her a bit and take away some of the stress she is under. Vet visits are very stressful for cats, that's why you wear a cat hair shirt when you leave the office. if you go to google and do a search for Little Big Cat they have a pretty complete line of Remedies in their Spirit Essence website.

Poor kitty- best of luck with her!
post #4 of 28
Thread Starter 
Well, I knew that UTI's could be stress related I guess I'm just curious to know if she really IS stressed out by other kitties. When I see her looking out at the ferals outside, she watches them, but other than that has no reaction. Like I said, the only time I've ever seen her act stressed was before and during a thunderstorm on Friday, and she hisses when she's close to other cats. What I meant from taking me for a ride...was that do you think she's really THAT stressed out about these outside cats that she is watching from a second story window which in turn causes her to have this blood in her urine? It just seems funny to me because she's usually calmly laying or sitting as she looks out the window, but I DO notice that she has access to 3 different windows and the one where she can see the shed where the ferals are fed/ sleep is the one she watches out the most (the widow also overlooks the parking lot for our complex).

Zanniesmom - She is on the antibiotic again because the tests still showed a traces of bacteria in her urine. (which the vet didn't make me feel confidant about when she said sometimes they find some bacteria, but when they send it to the lab for a culture they sometimes don't find any! I also think it was interstitial cystitis what the vet thought that Summer might have....especiall y with her reaction to the other kitties there.

Hissy - once again thanks for the advice. I will take it into consideration if you guys think that she actually has an anxiety/stress related condition that is.

post #5 of 28
UTIs can be stress related.? That's got to be in cats only. The "I" in it stands for infection which is caused by bacteria and treated with antibiotics. Where can I get more info on this and is everyone certain of this? How can stress cause a bacterial infection?
post #6 of 28
When a cat is stressed, that stress can manifest itself by the cat blocking urine. The lack of release of urine in the system causes the bacteria to build up thus causing the UTI. It is NOT the ONLY cause of UTI's but it can lead to one.
post #7 of 28
Hissy, thanks for the answer. I'm still amazed at our feline friends and want more info. Think I'll check out a cat book at the library. How painful for them.
post #8 of 28
Buddy has gotten stress-related UTIs before. One was shortly after we brought him home, the other was triggered when we got new floors put in our house. I thought it might be food-related at first, but I don't think that had much to do with it. I've been told that increasing the wet food content of a cat's diet will help, but it really depends on who you ask.

Good luck to you, urinary problems are no fun for cats or their owners.
post #9 of 28
Maybe the vet isn't giving the right antibiotic to Summer? I think the type of antibiotic depends on the bacteria that caused the infection. (But I'm really not sure if I'm remembering this right) IF this is true, that might explain why after 5 weeks the infection is worse?

I really hope Summer gets better soon, it sounds so painful.

Jill and Candy
post #10 of 28
I agree with the above. The correct antibiotic should do the trick. Maybe consult another vet.
post #11 of 28
Our cat Tuxedo had frequent UTIs. We treated with Cefa-drops, not Clavamox, and after his 3rd one, he went on a strict prescription diet of Hills Science Diet c/d formula. No treats. Nothing but the wet and dry c/d formula (he was still drinking plenty). Even one treat would cause a UTI in him. To solve the "treat" problem we bought strong smelling treats, mixed them in with some of his dry c/d forumla, and we'd feed those little pieces of kibble to him as treats. They smelled different, so he thought he was getting a treat, but it was his prescription diet food.

As you already know, stress can cause UTIs. We have a multi-cat household, and perhaps this at times stressed out Tuxedo. We'll never know - I just know that this diet fixed the problem of his getting UTIs, and the Cefa-drops cured the UTIs.

People have had great success with the Bachs Remedies, and perhaps this could help too.
post #12 of 28
I agree in changing the food. Some foods can cause problems..I have a friend who's dog, yes dog was getting UTI's and could not get rid of them and when the vet asked the kind of food the dog was eating he said, that is the problem.. THey changed the dog's food to the Science Diet to help with UTI's and no more problems.
post #13 of 28
Thread Starter 
Hmmm. I've talked about food quite a bit with my vet. She said that if the food is a problem then the pH would be off. The past 5 weeks, her tests have consistantly shown a pH of 6.5 and she said that normal is 7, and that they like cats to be a little on the acidy side, therefore it's not her food. She has no signs of crystals either...which I know from experience is also a sign of a food issue. Also there was an x-ray taken to see if she had any stones...also negative.

I agree that the correct antibiotic might do the trick and they told me that if there wasn't any improvement, then they would do a culture to correctly identify where the bacteria was coming from. There wasn't a culture done this time because the bacteria level in her urine was significantly better....going from off the charts to low. The main concern was the consistant amount of blood in her urine and I KNOW a culture will be done if there are still signs of bacteria (as I said earlier, sometimes the UA test shows a small amount of bacteria while the culture will show none at all). She will also be tested a week after her antibiotic treatment is finished to see if that makes a difference in getting a clean sample from her.

I will look into Bach Remedies...thanks for the suggestion....anyone know of a good site to get them?
post #14 of 28
Would you please keep us posted of her progress. I'd be interested in what is found. Hope she gets better soon.
post #15 of 28
Someone just asked in another thread, so I jumped over to and did a quick search:

Bach's Flower Essences search on

I don't think it's been mentioned in this thread yet, but you can also try a product called Feliway. If you purchase the spray bottle, you simply spritz a little bit all around the house - even on furniture - at cat cheek level. You could even try spraying a little on the windowsill near where she sits to watch out the window. There is also a plug-in product, which you could use in the room where she likes to watch outside. The plug-in lasts for a month or two, and it will "radiate" into the air, just like a home plug-in air freshener would. Feliway, whether bottle or plug-in has no scent to humans, but is a synthetic hormone that mimics the hormone in cat's cheeks. That's what they rub onto you, their things and your furniture as "friendly" scent markers. You can likely purchase Feliway at the same place you can purchase Bach's Rescue Remedy.

We have a multi-cat household, and we foster from time-to-time, and every time a new cat comes in here it really has made a difference to the stress levels. I think it's also worth a try in addition to the Bach's Rescue Remedy.
post #16 of 28
sofiecusion, or anyone -I have a question -

Forgive my ignorance, but why didn't they take a culture in the first place? I have no experience with cat UTI's (knock on wood a million times!), and I don't know the procedure. It just seems that when you bring in a cat with a UTI there should be alot of bacteria inside of him/her. If they took a culture and sent it to the lab, wouldn't they be able to see what kind of bacteria it is and prescribe the correct antibiotic? Or is there only one type of bacteria that causes UTI's and they start with a standard antibiotic, and if that doesn't work, they try another one?

5 weeks to get rid of a UTI is so unfair to any animal. I wish they had a better and faster way of curing these things.

I just want to learn as much as I can, in case I have to take Candy in with a UTI.

Jill and Candy
post #17 of 28
Iluvcandy, you are correct in that they take a culture and depending on the bacteria, prescribe the best antibiotic for it. I don't understand this prolonged problem either.
post #18 of 28
Baileysidney11 -

Thanks for the answer. It seems like common sense to me. I understand if there are a few possibilities as to what a problem could be, vets may not be sure of what to do first, and take tests to rule them out. Then prescribe the correct meds. It would save alot of time and help your pet get better quicker and suffer less.

Jill and Candy
post #19 of 28
Thread Starter 
I have wondered about this too. I do not undestand why a culture wasn't done last Monday when I took her in for the 4th time!!! I asked but then the vet started going over her urine samples with me.

I honestly do not know what to think anymore. I thought they would do that in the first place too, I mean don't they with humans? The vet terlling me she's stressed also has me VERY suspicious...she said that Summer was terrified at the other cats there, but what cat ISN'T stressed out about spending the day at the vet's office?? She appears to be fine to me....she's very loving and sweet to all of our guests and was fine when let loose at the cat shelter I got her from. She lives in a fairly quiet home with lots of love to give. I just don't understand.... Do you guys think I should take her to another vet?
post #20 of 28
Thread Starter 
Oh, and one more thing...when I walked to the backroom with the vet to get her, she was sleeping in n the bottom of the cage, but when I picked her up and she saw a different cat there who was also being taken home, she latched on to me real tight...and the vet said "see what I mean?...." hmmm.

I gre up with cats and we've never had to get any special things to calm a cat down or anything. We did have a siamese who had problems, but he had crystals among other problems and the problem was fixed with surgery and a change of diet. To me, Summer has an ideal personality....she's kind of laidback and outgoing but can be playful as well....I don't I crazy?!?!
post #21 of 28
sofiecusion -

It's so hard for us who have little knowledge of these things. We grew up expecting doctors and vets to know the right thing to do. I would respect one of them greatly if they said they don't know or are not sure, and would consult with another vet or do research, but I've never come across one who does. Sometimes I feel they don't think enough, they just want the visit to go quickly so they can get on to the next patient to make more money. I could tell you some personal stories of negligence and indifference on the part of vets and human doctors. One so-called cat expert vet had me worried sick because Candy had 2 fat sacs on her lower belly, they didn't know what it was, told me to watch them in case they got bigger. I showed her an article to do a certain procedure, she did, and it turned out to be just fat. I took her to another vet and the technician said, "Oh, she has spay sway" (or something like that) that can happen to cats after they get spayed.

I don't think Summer reacting strangely, I think it was a normal. Some cats go crazy in the same situation. My cat just gets very quiet and still, like she's too scared to move, and she pants because she's so nervous. In the waiting room I keep Candy's carrier covered with a towel and keep other animals away. When cats are taken out of their home (territory) of course they're gonna be scared. And that's why you have to introduce a new cat very slowly to the resident cat.

I'm not sure what to say for you're trying a new vet, I'm on my 4th one since I moved here.

Sounds like the vet was unnerved by your question about the culture and was trying to cover up.

I hope Summer will be okay real soon.

Jill and Candy
post #22 of 28
I'd take her to another vet. I agree - any cat is stressed at a vets office! Especially since she's had this UTI problem for so long, I have to question why your vet would let this problem go on for so long without a culture. I spoke to our vet - they automatically send out for a culture, but prescribe CEFA drops in the meantime. If something else is indicated by the results of the culture, then they change the meds.
post #23 of 28
Thread Starter 
Well, they said that they would do a culture next time and that is the reson why the extra week after her antibiotics. But, they told me that they would do a culture next time too the time before last....hmmmm. Should I just make sure they do the culture this time, or get another vet just in case?
post #24 of 28
Thread Starter 
Just thought I'd update.....Summer went to the vet again and no sign of a UTI this time therefore a culture wasn't taken. She also didn't have any traces of blood either. Good news all around!

post #25 of 28
Yay Summer!! I've only just read through this thread, I'm glad it worked out fine
post #26 of 28
So glad Summer is finally over this!!!!

Jill and Candy
post #27 of 28
Hi Sofie, glad to hear Summer is o.k. Hope your finals went well and have a great summer with "Summer" hee hee!!
post #28 of 28
Thread Starter 
I will! She is having fun in the heat right now. Maybe we'll have classes together in the autumn. I'll take care of Summer, you can take care of Autumn and to heck with those other two seasons!

P.S. I don't think I'm ready for "Autumn" to come too quickly, I have my own problems dealing with "Summer".
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