Urinary tract infections (UTI) are among the most common bacterial infections of humans. The mouse provides an excellent and tractable model system for cystitis and pyelonephritis caused by Escherichia coli and other uropathogens. Using a well-established model of experimental cystitis in which the bladders of female mice are infected via transurethral catheterization, the molecular details of the pathogenesis of bacterial cystitis have been substantially illuminated in the last decade. Uropathogenic E. coli attach to bladder epithelium (both in human and mouse) via adhesive type 1 pili, establish a replicative niche within epithelial cell cytoplasm, and form intracellular bacterial communities that are protected from antibiotic effects and immune clearance. The use of different inbred and mutant mouse strains offers the opportunity to study outcomes of infection, including resolution, formation of quiescent intracellular bacterial reservoirs, chronic bacterial cystitis, and recurrent infections. Urine, bladder, and kidney tissues can be analyzed by bacterial culture, histology, immune histochemistry, immune fluorescent and confocal microscopy, electron microscopy, and flow cytometry, while a broad array of soluble markers (e.g., cytokines) can also be profiled in serum, urine, and tissue homogenates by ELISA, Western blotting, multiplex bead array, and other approaches. This model promises to afford continued opportunity for discovery of pathogenic mechanisms and evaluation of therapeutic and preventive strategies for acute, chronic, and recurrent UTI.