A cat can’t pee: what to do?

Failure to empty the intestines or bladder for a pet can have serious consequences, up to and including death. If a cat can’t go to the bathroom not only in the big bowl but also in the small bowl, you should urgently enlist the help of a veterinarian. There are some diseases that may lead to this condition. Therefore, one should know the causes of problems with emptying and the rules of conduct in such cases.

Should owners be concerned?

Naturally, the health of the pet should be taken care of, but there is no need to panic. To begin with, you can adjust the diet, because most often the problem is just that.

If you cannot urinate for more than 24 hours, you should immediately seek help from a vet. Because this phenomenon can lead to serious complications, including bladder rupture and death.

A cat can’t urinate

Let’s look at the causes and symptoms of this condition and talk about treatments.


The most common cause of urinary dysfunction in pets is urinary stone disease (urolithiasis). It occurs due to blockage of the ducts with sand or stones. Excretion of feces occurs in rare cases. If this happens, the mucosa is severely traumatized, which causes a strong inflammatory process.

Such disorders with the organs of the genitourinary system include the following pathologies:

  • cystitis;
  • nephritis;
  • pyelonephritis;
  • urethritis and others.

The owner of the pet will not be able to determine the factor that provoked the problems with urination. The veterinarian will not always be able to do so, because the inflammation changes localization very quickly and can involve the entire genitourinary system.


Signs that a cat can’t go to the toilet in a small way are easy to determine. The pet starts hissing, meowing loudly, moaning, and screaming wildly. As a result, only a small amount of urine may come out (often with inflammation).

Cat has trouble peeing - could it be a bladder problem?
Cat has trouble peeing – could it be a bladder problem?

When the cause of the problem is a mechanical blockage of the urinary tract, not even a drop of urine is excreted, and there is quite an unpleasant smell from the pet.

The pet is not allowed to pet the abdomen, as the cat begins to have a lot of pain in this area. The peritoneum may be tense. It is not possible for the cat to lie down on it. An important requirement is to report all detected signs to the veterinarian.

With more reliable and extensive information, he will more easily diagnose the disease. Among other things, by looking in the litter box, the owner may find blood or pus.


In order to determine the correct therapy for urinary problems, the exact cause must be determined. The veterinarian usually prescribes blood and urine tests, as well as an ultrasound. This will allow them to understand exactly what is going on in the pet’s body. As a result, the doctor will tell what provoked the difficulty in urination.

Usually a catheterization is performed. The bladder is flushed with antiseptics.

In some cases, the introduction of a catheter is contraindicated, because it can provoke increased swelling of the urinary tract. In such a situation, an operation is prescribed.

To relieve inflammation, in addition to antihistamines, antibiotics can be used. Especially when the pet could not go poop for several days. After all, urine accumulated in the bladder, is the ideal environment for the reproduction of pathogenic bacteria.

It should be borne in mind that even a single occurrence of problems with the urinary tract can cause recurrent inflammation. Although with strict adherence to preventive measures, the possibility of a relapse is reduced.

Preventive measures

In order to prevent diseases of the urinary system in the pet, some rules should be observed:

Do not overcool the pet, do not create a draft in the dwelling.

  • Timely immunization, since pathogenic bacteria often provoke the development of an inflammatory process.
  • Monitor the diet of the pet. It is better to consult the veterinarian about the diet. Avoid food that is forbidden to eat. Do not abuse meat and fish.
  • Water should be purified (filtered) and always kept in a bowl. Especially if the cat eats dry food.
  • If the cat has urinary difficulties or is prone to such diseases, it is recommended to use specialized dry food for feeding.

Acute urinary retention in a male cat

This is a very life-threatening phenomenon for a pet. It is characterized by the inability to go to the toilet for more than a day. Most often, such a problem occurs in males from half a year to 10 years of age.

Due to the peculiarities in the structure of the cat’s urethra and moths with high density, the urethra can become clogged with salt crystals, sand and even mucus. And carrying out castration is not able to affect the development of such a pathology.


Most often, acute urinary retention occurs with urolithiasis and idiopathic cystitis.

The normal values of urinalysis in cats allow for some amount of salt crystals. And not every pet has a blockage of the urethra. As a consequence, the main factor in the formation of problems with urination is the presence of cystitis.


If a male cat can't pee, get him to the vet right away
If a male cat can’t pee, get him to the vet right away

Usually, owners complain about the pet’s futile attempts to go to the toilet in a small way (the pet enters the litter box more often, stays there for a long time, often meows and tries to lick the urethra area).

When urine is not excreted for more than a day, vomiting, lethargy and decreased appetite are possible.

How to diagnose

The disease is diagnosed on the basis of anamnestic data (complaints of the owner), examination of the pet (an overfilled and very painful bladder when touching it) and ultrasound results.

Methods of treatment

Initially, it is necessary to remove fluid from the bladder. Cystocentesis (puncture of the bladder through the peritoneum) or urethral catheterization is used for this purpose.

If the cat has not been able to go to the toilet for more than a day, the possibility of acute kidney failure increases.

To diagnose such a complication, a blood test is prescribed.

When the patency of the urinary tract is restored, antispasmodics, painkillers and antibiotics are prescribed. If acute renal failure still occurred, infusion therapy is prescribed.

After the laboratory diagnosis of the urine, the pet’s diet is determined and, if necessary, additional medications are prescribed to help eliminate the inflammatory process and dissolve salts.

Not every case of urinary dysfunction is amenable to therapeutic treatment. Sometimes surgical intervention – urethrostomy – is required. This method is used if there are stones in the urethra, adhesions have formed on the walls of the urethra after the insertion of the catheter.

It should be remembered that retention of urine for at least 36 hours can lead to the death of the pet.

Self-diagnosis of the problem and assistance to the pet

When a cat’s urinary dysfunction is suspected, first aid is required. When the pet cannot pee and there is no possibility of visiting the veterinarian, you need to examine the pet yourself to determine the degree of bladder filling.

To do this, the cat is placed on its paws and wrapped around its arms. Then the bladder is gently palpated perpendicular to the ovaries.

If the inflammation is severe, the pet will not allow this. In this case, it is necessary to quickly go to the vet.

When the examination of the bladder is successful, you need to assess its size and pay attention to its density. Normally, the organ is no larger than a nut and soft to the touch. If it is large and compacted, in addition, there is a specific smell, the cat should be taken to the veterinarian immediately. A heating pad around the abdomen and perineum can be used to relieve the animal’s condition.

Dietary advice

When the animal is predisposed to the development of urolithiasis, a corrective diet is required. In this case, the food should contain large amounts of vitamins B6 and A, as well as glutamic acid.

We recommend reading the article about avitaminosis in cats to prevent this condition in your pet.

The food should be free of salt and minerals, ie:

  • for cats need to completely exclude salty products;
  • It is necessary to remove from the diet raw meat, especially pork, because it thickens the urine, which leads to difficulty in its excretion;
  • Do not eat fish, because phosphorus can cause stones to form in the bladder;
  • The consumption of milk is contraindicated, because the increased level of magnesium can further aggravate the outflow of urine.

We recommend feeding a specially formulated food for cats with urinary dysfunction.

Problems with urination in spayed pets

When an animal has been spayed or otherwise operated under anesthesia, natural bladder and bowel emptying may not occur for 1-2 days. This is due to the stressful state and catheterization, which contributes to the disruption of excretory functions for a while. But if this condition persists for 3 days or more, the pet should be taken to a veterinary clinic, as this phenomenon is fraught with serious complications.

After surgery, the amount of fluid excreted should be monitored in particular, as well as its characteristics. If there is pus, blood clots or a cloudy color in the urine, precautions should be taken and the veterinarian should be consulted.

Reyus Mammadli/ author of the article

I have had pets since childhood: cats, guinea pigs, rabbits, geese, chickens, ducks, parrots, aquarium fish and dogs (in the yard). Of course, I constantly encountered diseases of pets and treated them. Glad to be able to share my skills and experience, as well as advice on caring for and adapting these critters and birds.

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