cat urinary problems

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Just like humans, cats need to urinate regularly in order to get rid of waste and extra water that their bodies are storing. Because regular urination is an important part of your cat’s health, cat urinary problems can cause a lot of issues for your cat. From frequent urination to pain while urinating and blood in the urine, there are several warning signs that your cat is dealing with a urinary problem.

Cat urinary problems can be caused by lots of things. Sometimes, there’s a urethral obstruction that isn’t allowing your cat to urinate, which means they aren’t able to get rid of waste and excess water. Bladder stones are also a common cause of urinary problems in cats. In some cases, however, cats may have urinary problems as a result of a urinary tract infection or a urinary tract disorder.

It’s important to know what medical issues to look out for as a cat owner. Symptoms such as blood in the urine  can be a sign of a major medical problem that you need to address as soon as possible. No matter what’s causing your cat’s urinary problems, you need to take your cat to the vet to get an accurate diagnosis and create a treatment plan. If your cat is experiencing urinary problems, here’s what you need to know.

Common Cat Urinary Problems

Cat urinary problems are fairly common, especially in older cats. As a cat owner, you should have a basic understanding of some of the urinary problems your cat may experience and what the signs of those problems are. Cats not urinating or only urinating small amounts can be a true medical emergency as they can die if they are not able to empty their bladders.

Most urinary problems don’t improve or go away on their own, so it’s important to get a proper diagnosis from a vet so your cat can get the treatment they need. Here are some of the most common cat urinary problems:

Urethral obstruction

It’s important for your cat to urinate to remove waste and excess water from their body, but they can’t do that if there’s something blocking their urethra. A urethral obstruction is an obstruction in the urethra that makes it difficult for cats to urinate, and it can be a life-threatening condition if you don’t deal with it right away. 

Your vet may be able to diagnose a urethral obstruction by feeling for an enlarged bladder in the back half of your cat’s abdomen. The urgency of the problem depends on the severity of the obstruction.n Complete urethral obstructions that block urination entirely can be fatal. If your cat has a urethral obstruction, you may notice them crying out while urinating or unable to urinate.

Bladder stones

Bladder stones are rock-like collections of minerals and other materials that may build up in your cat’s bladder. These stones are a result of crystal formation in the bladder over time or some underlying disease process.   They can range from very small in size to several millimeters in diameter and can cause bladder pain as they bounce around in the bladder. 

The big concern with bladder stones is that they can block your cat’s urethra, which leaves them unable to urinate. This can be a fatal problem, especially if it’s not treated quickly. If your cat has bladder stones, your vet may recommend a special diet to dissolve the stones, bladder flushing, or lithotripsy. You should also talk to your vet about preventing bladder stones and other cat urinary problems in the future.

Urinary tract infections

Like humans, cats may experience urinary tract infections (UTIs) as a result of a bacterial infection in their bladder or urethra. UTIs aren’t the most common urinary problem in cats, but they are something to keep an eye out for. Some of the most common cat UTI symptoms include frequent urination with small amounts of urine, blood in urine, urinating outside of the litter box, and straining while urinating.

A uti occurs when bacteria travels up the urethra and enters the bladder

Treating a UTI is about treating the infection that caused it, which typically means an antibiotic prescription for your cat. You can help prevent future UTIs by making sure your cat is getting enough water and asking your vet about dietary changes you can make to prevent UTIs. Fluid Lower Urinary Tract Disease

Fluid lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD) is actually a blanket term for several cat urinary problems that can affect the bladder and urethra, which are the lower parts of the urinary tract. While cats often experience urinary problems as a result of diseases and medical conditions, sometimes it’s hard to pinpoint what’s causing FLUTD in cats.

causes of FLUTD

Some of the symptoms of FLUTD include painful urinating, blood in the urine, frequent urination, urinating outside the litterbox, and excessive grooming. However, it’s important not to confuse excessive grooming with an itchy cat. If you think your cat has a lower urinary tract disease, take them to a vet so they can properly diagnose and treat your cat.

Symptoms Of Urinary Problems In Cats

One of the tough parts about cat urinary problems is that they can be difficult to spot, especially if you don’t know what cat urinary problems symptoms to watch for. Some owners may also miss signs of urinary problems in cats simply because they’re not around when their cat is using the litterbox. There are several symptoms of urinary problems that you might notice when your cat is using their litterbox, including:

  • Frequent urination
  • Small amounts of urine
  • Urinating outside the litter box 
  • Blood in the urine 
  • Straining to urinate 
  • Crying out in pain while urinating 
  • Licking of urinary opening

Figuring out what’s wrong with your cat based on these symptoms alone is difficult. If your cat is displaying any of the symptoms listed above, you should schedule an appointment with your vet to get a proper diagnosis. Different cat urinary problems require different treatments, so getting the right diagnosis from a professional is crucial.

What is feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD)?

Feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD) is an interesting topic because it refers to a group of cat urinary problems. If your cat has FLUTD, that doesn’t mean they have any one specific disease or condition. FLUTD can be caused by a UTI, urethral obstruction, or bladder stones, but it can also be a result of other medical conditions. Cats who suffer an injury to the urinary tract or who suffer from diabetes or hyperthyroidism may also have FLUTD.

FLUTD comes with the common symptoms of cat urinary problems, including frequent urination, pain while urinating, blood in the urine, and urinating outside the litterbox. Because FLUTD has several potential causes, you should schedule an appointment with your vet to have your cat diagnosed if they’re experiencing urinary problems.

Cat Urinary Problems: Frequently Asked Questions

How can I help my cat with urinary problems?

If your cat is experiencing urinary problems, the best thing you can do is take them to the vet. Cat urinary problems don’t typically resolve on their own, and your cat may need a prescription medication or surgery to get better.

The good news is, there are ways to prevent urinary problems in cats. Making sure your cat gets plenty of water helps prevent urinary problems, and you can also ask your vet about making dietary changes. Preventing urinary problems is especially important as your cat gets older.

What are the symptoms of urinary problems in cats?

Cat urinary problems may come with a handful of symptoms, including pain while urinating, frequent urination, blood in the urine, urinating outside the litterbox, and small amounts of urine. The symptoms your cat is experiencing can help your vet diagnose the problem. No matter what type of urinary problem your cat is having, you should take them to the vet to get them diagnosed and begin treatment as soon as possible.

What ingredient in cat food causes urinary problems?

Ash content, or mineral content, is an important ingredient to look at when you’re choosing cat food. Cat food that’s too high in minerals may lead to urinary problems in cats. If your cat primarily eats dry food, they may also develop urinary problems if they’re not getting enough water. For cats who eat wet food, you should choose a wet food with at least 75% moisture content. If you’re not sure what brand of food to feed your cat, your vet may be able to recommend one.

What can cause urinary issues in cats?

Cat urinary problems can be caused by lots of things, from birth defects and medical conditions to diet, injuries, and bacterial infections. While some urinary problems can be prevented with a healthy diet and proper hydration, your cat may also develop a urinary disease as a result of an unrelated medical condition, such as hyperthyroidism or diabetes.

Like a cat ear infection, proper treatment is important when it comes to cat urinary problems. As soon as you notice blood in your cat’s urine or frequent urination, you should take your cat to the vet for a diagnosis. Your vet can recommend the best treatment and preventative care for your cat.

Final Notes

Urinary problems are important to consider when it comes to keeping your cat healthy. Cats may experience various urinary problems, such as urethral obstructions, bladder stones, and UTIs. Proper diet and hydration may prevent these problems. If your cat displays symptoms of cat urinary problems, you should schedule an appointment with your vet.

Taking care of your cat can be tough, especially if they have pre-existing medical conditions. With Dutch, you can get help from experts without leaving your home. We connect you with vets who can recommend treatment plans, provide medication, and more. Call Dutch today to learn more about how we can help you keep your cat healthy.



  1. Bacterial Urinary Tract Infections, Merck Veterinary Manual, 

  2. Feline lower urinary tract disease, American Veterinary Medical Association, 

Frequently Asked Questions

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