The symptoms associated with urinary tract infection in cats are only indicative of the prevalence of an infection. The symptoms do not provide any further information about the real cause of the infection and therefore are not helpful in dictating the specific medication that should be administered.
In some cases, however, the symptoms may indicate something more than an infection. Blood in the urine is a sign of a bladder tumor. Feline urinary incontinence indicates a blockage probably caused by a moving bladder stone. Both these symptoms and conditions can accompany urinary infection.
However a urinalysis is essential to understand the real cause of the feline urinary infection. It is essential to understand the specific bacterium causing the infection to be able to ensure effective treatment of urinary tract infection in cats. And this causes the need for a urine sample of the afflicted cat.
Collecting a cat’s urine sample may not always be as easy as it sounds because the end goal is to collect a sample that is not contaminated with bacteria, cells and debris from the urogenital tract and the environment. There are four ways that a cat’s urine sample can be obtained. The easiest, as always, is not the best way to collect the sample.
Table Top Sample - This is the least desirable method. It involves collecting a sample from a place, preferably the examination table top, where the cat has urinated. If you intend to collect a sample at home, then clean the litter box thoroughly and collect a sample with a pipette after the cat has visited it and deposited urine in it. This sample is likely to be contaminated by environmental bacteria. Sometimes, however, this is the only option possible.
Free Catch Sample - This sample is obtained in mid-air while the cat is passing urine. This will contain only the bacteria that are present in the urinary tract and not those from the environment. It may, however be difficult to synchronizing movements and catching the sample while the cat is urinating. A veterinarian, however, can try to induce urination by applying mild pressure on the bladder. Even in such cases, there is no surety that the cat will actually pass urine.
Catheter Method - This is a quick method for collecting uncontaminated urine. However, it is not one of the most comfortable options for the cat. In most cases sedation and anesthesia is necessary. This involves passing a small tube (catheter) into the bladder of the cat to withdraw a sample. This sample can be considered to be the same as it exists in the bladder. The catheter should obviously be sterilized before use so that there is no contamination of the urine.
Cystocentesis - This is the ideal method for collecting a pet’s urine sample. It is a procedure where a needle is inserted into the urinary bladder through the abdomen. The bladder is palpated with one hand and the other hand is used to insert the needle and withdraw urine. The site from where the needle is inserted is shaved off and disinfected. This method is also used as a therapy to remove urine in the case of a blockage in the urinary tract.