Not being able to urinate is a very serious and relatively common issue for cats. And for their owners, it is a terrifying thing that often comes down to an urgent trip to your veterinarian or emergency vet. It can be a costly and worrisome treatment and, in some cases, by the time you realize something’s amiss, it is too late. It’s important to understand the symptoms so you can get your feline friend treated – the sooner, the better.
If your cat is having trouble urinating, there is a huge likelihood that he has a urinary obstruction, or blockage. This happens when something blocks your cat’s urethra, preventing urine from passing through. This could be the result of inflammation of the urinary tract or a build up of sediment or crystals. Male cats are more likely to have a urinary obstruction than female cats because male cat’s urethras are longer and narrower. Small amounts of mucus, tissue inflammation or sediment can make urination difficult or even impossible.
Not being able to urinate is dangerous because the kidneys are unable to perform their most essential function of filtering toxins out of the blood and expelling from the body via urine. Without this, toxin levels will increase and make your cat extremely ill, eventually leading to death if not treated in a timely manner.
Like people, cats show distress and discomfort in varying ways. It’s important to keep an eye on your cat if she is behaving in any manner different from usual, however there are common signs of urinary blockage that most cats display.
If you find your cat using his litter box more than usual, it could be due to the inability to fully empty his bladder. Urinary or bladder infections, as well as obstructions (usually a build-up of protein, crystals or stones) can cause the bladder walls and/or urinary track to become inflamed. This will make him feel as though he needs to go when he really doesn’t.
The urinary tract can become inflamed from infection, which makes it difficult for urine to flow out normally. This is also true in the case of bladder spasms or if your cat has stones. Depending on what type of litter you use in her litter box, you might be able to see tiny clumps that indicate she was not able to completely empty her bladder.
Not only is your cat going to the litter box more often than usual, he also may be spending a lot more time in there, with little to show for it. Pain and inflammation are the root cause of this and the few drops you see are likely due to your cat’s determination to relieve himself by forcing the urine out with all his might.
A full bladder can lead to a painful belly. The inflammation of the bladder walls may also cause discomfort. If you notice your cat flinching or avoiding any contact on his stomach, he may have abdominal pain.
Not only does a blockage in the bladder or urinary tract cause irritation and inflammation, they can also be sharp! Crystals that build up due to an excess of minerals in your cat’s bladder tend to have edges that can actually cut or nick the bladder’s lining.
This will bleed and mix with the urine. Unfortunately, unless your cat is urinating on the floor, puppy pad or white litter, blood in urine can be hard to spot.
Urinary blockages can lead to bacterial infections, which will become serious if left untreated. Pain and discomfort, especially in any part of the digestive system, sometimes makes cats nauseated to the point of vomiting.
Given the average housecat sleeps anywhere between 12 and 16 hours a day, it can be tricky to tell when your cat is being lethargic. You may notice her not moving much or not playing as often as she usual does.
If she has an infection caused by a urinary blockage, odds are good she’s got a fever and just doesn’t feel well overall.
Most cats are instinctually opportunistic eaters, meaning they will eat when food is available no matter what. Having a full bladder can make cats resistant to adding anything more into their bodies.
In addition, irritation of the bladder or urinary tract caused by blockages may be making him nauseated and uninterested in food. Any change in appetite is something that should be investigated.
Urinary blockages are very painful. This pain increases when urination occurs, either from passing stones or crystals, or simply due to the inflammation. A blocked cat may cry out while in the litter box due to extreme discomfort.
Most cats don’t want to be touched, even by their favorite people, when they’re in pain. A blocked cat may do her best to avoid your touch and cry out if you do make contact. This is particularly true if you’ve toucher her belly, as it might be putting pressure on her already irritated bladder.
Urination is important to rid the body of toxins and excess water. A urinary blockage causes a buildup of toxins in your cat’s bladder and can result in toxicity. Collapse is a very serious sign of this. If you find your cat collapsing or unable to stand, take him to the veterinarian immediately.
If you cat is blocked, you may find her urinating in places other than the litter box. The urgency she is feeling to urinate may make her feel as though she doesn’t have time to get to the litter box, so it’s possible you will see little spots of urine on your floor or furniture.
A urinary blockage is a life-threatening emergency. If you suspect your cat has a urinary blockage, it is imperative you take him to the veterinarian immediately. Cats who have had previous blockages are more likely to have it happen again. Often certain foods may be the cause. You should talk to your vet about changes in diet or habits to help prevent any future occurrences.