Prostate Inflammation (Prostatitis) in Cats

Key takeaways

The prostate is a small gland near the bladder of male cats, which produces some of the fluids found in semen. Prostatitis describes inflammation of the prostate.

  • Prostatitis most commonly occurs as a result of a bacterial infection, or other disorders that are predisposing to urinary tract infections
  • Severe prostatitis can lead to prostatic abscesses or sepsis
  • The risk to overall health depends on the severity of the condition and its underlying cause
  • Prostatic abscesses have a more guarded prognosis than prostatitis on its own
  • Excessive urination is the most common symptom of prostatitis, as well as lethargy, dehydration, excessive thirst, and abdominal pain
  • Diagnostic tools include physical examination, diagnostic imaging, bloodwork, urinalysis, biopsy, and analysis of prostatic wash samples
  • Treatments vary, and specifically target the underlying cause, often involving medication or surgical intervention
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A closer look: Prostate Inflammation (Prostatitis) in Cats

The nonspecific symptoms of prostatitis make it hard to differentiate this condition from other disorders, such as prostate cancer, bladder inflammation, feline lower urinary tract diseases (FLUTDs), or urinary stones. Some of these conditions are more dangerous than others, and a proper diagnosis is needed to determine how at risk the patient is.

Acute prostatitis arises suddenly, and presents with additional symptoms.

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Chronic prostatitis may show no symptoms in some cases.

Any pet presenting with symptoms of prostatitis requires prompt medical attention.

Risk factors

Severe prostatitis may lead to abscesses within the urinary tract. If an abscess leaks or ruptures, urinary fluids mix into the bloodstream. This scenario leads to blood poisoning (sepsis), which can be fatal.

Prostatitis is very rare in cats. Intact male cats are significantly more likely to develop prostatitis compared to neutered males.

Possible causes

Prostatitis most commonly develops as a result of a bacterial infection ascending from the urinary tract. Disorders that predispose a cat to a UTI can also lead to prostatitis.

Main symptoms

Testing and diagnosis

Due to the nonspecific symptoms, a full workup is necessary to diagnose prostatitis, including:

  • Physical examination
  • Urinalysis
  • Bloodwork
  • Diagnostic imaging
  • Prostatic wash and cytology

A biopsy is necessary to differentiate BPH, prostate cancer, and prostatitis, however the necessary sampling is not always possible. A cat presenting with symptoms associated with these conditions typically begins treatment with a therapeutic trial of antibiotics and castration, to rule out prostatitis and BPH respectively.

Steps to Recovery

Treatments vary, depending on the underlying cause and severity of the prostatitis. Medications may include painkillers or anti-inflammatories. Fluid therapy often supports treatment in cases of dehydration.

Surgical intervention may be required, as in cases of abscesses.

Recovery is likely if the prostatitis is mild, although treatment may last several weeks. Recurrence is common, requiring additional treatment.

The prognosis is more guarded for severe prostatitis resulting in abscesses, or when associated with severe underlying conditions such as cancer.


The risk of BPH, which may predispose cats to prostatitis, is reduced by neutering (castration). The link between BPH and prostatitis in cats is unclear, however it is well-established in dogs.

Is Prostate Inflammation (Prostatitis) in Cats common?

Prostatitis is very rare in cats.

Typical Treatment

  • Antibiotics
  • Castration
  • Surgery
  • Painkillers
  • Antiinflammatories
  • Treatment of underlying conditions

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