August 10, 2022
Inappropriate urination is a common reason we see our cat patients at the vet. Sometimes this means urinating on things around the house that they shouldn’t (carpet, couch, clothes, etc) and other times it means frequent trips to the litter box, but only producing small amounts of urine. There are many reasons for inappropriate urination in a cat and they can all cause the same symptoms at home including urinating outside of the litter box, straining to urinate, urinating small amounts, blood in the urine, vocalizing or pain while urinating and frequent urination.
Bladder infections are one reason a cat will have inappropriate urination. This is a bacterial infection of the bladder that causes inflammation and pain. In addition to changes with urinary habits, cats may also be lethargic, hiding and have a decreased appetite. A bladder infection can be diagnosed by obtaining a urine sample and examining it for bacteria, white blood cells, and red blood cells under the microscope. Sometimes a urine culture is also necessary. The infection is treated with antibiotics as well as pain medications and fluid therapy.
Crystals & Stones
Urinary crystals and stones are another reason for inappropriate urination. Some cats are more prone to developing crystals in the bladder. These crystals will cause inflammation of the bladder leading to increased urination, blood in the urine, and sometimes licking around the genital region. Once a cat is diagnosed with crystals, there are often diet recommendations to help resolve the crystals and prevent them from recurring in the future. Some cats may also need pain medication and fluid therapy while their bladder is inflamed to help ease their discomfort.
Bladder Inflammation (Cystitis)
Feline cystitis is an inflammation of the bladder without any infection or crystals found on urinalysis. Cats can develop feline cystitis as a result of stress. For a cat, stress can include a new family member in the house (pet or human), an animal outdoors that is bothering them, moving, or their owner going out of town. This does not mean that your cat is mad at you and is therefore urinating on your bed to punish you. Their bladder is physically affected by the stress and it becomes inflamed and painful so they urinate inappropriately because of that pain. Typically these cats are treated with pain medications, fluids, and sometimes a diet change as well. Reducing stress is the best way to prevent these episodes. This can include using Feliway (a pheromone) during stressful events, enriching the environment with different toys and places for your cat to spend time, and providing access to a lot of fresh water.
Call A Vet
For male cats, infections, crystals and cystitis can lead to an obstruction of the urethra (meaning they are unable to urinate). This is a life threatening problem, so if your cat is straining to urinate without producing any urine then they need to be seen by a veterinarian immediately to ensure they do not have an obstruction.
If you have any concerns about your cat’s urinary habits, please feel free to give us a call at Pawtown!