Cat Urine Testing Explained

Cat urine tests are a regular part of most comprehensive medical exams on cats. Feline urinary issues are quite common and are often symptoms of other illness. Urine testing in cats can be difficult to accomplish because it is difficult to collect a urine sample, but it is important that the veterinarian complete the test. Urine tests help veterinarians diagnose diseases like diabetes, cat renal failure and other infections of the urinary tract.

How a Urine Sample Is Collected

There are three ways that a veterinarian can get a urine sample from a cat. Some vets will catheterize a cat to get the urine sample. To catheterize the cat, the veterinarian will have to sedate the cat, so this is not the most popular method of urine sample collection. The most common way a veterinarian extracts a urine sample is by using a syringe and needle that inserted through the abdomen wall directly into the bladder. The veterinarian uses the needle to extract a sterile sample of urine. The other method of collection is free catch. Free catch is where the owner collects the urine from the cat at home, but this requires the owner to catch the cat urinating. This sample will not be sterile, however.

Visual Examination

When a veterinarian extracts a feline urine sample they conduct a visual test of the urine before they do any further testing. In the visual inspection of the urine, they look for abnormal things in the urine. Cat urine is usually clear and a yellow or amber color. Cat urine that requires further examination will appear cloudy or may even contain blood and sometimes there are crystals present in the urine.

Specific Gravity Test

The Specific Gravity test or SG test helps the veterinarian understand how well the cat is concentrating their urine and the number of substances dissolved in the urine. Veterinarians use the SG test to determine how well the cat's kidneys are functioning.

Dipstick Test

A dipstick test of the urine is a quick way to analyze the cat's urine to look for protein, blood, glucose, bilirubin and ketones in the urine. The dipstick test is an easy way for the veterinarian to find substances in the urine that should not be there and to help determine illness.

Microscopic Examination

When conducting a microscopic examination of the cat urine, it is necessary to use a centrifuge. The centrifuge will separate any sediment from the rest of the urine. The microscopic examination also helps the veterinarian determine the number of white blood cells, red blood cells, casts (a symptom of renal failure) and if there are any bacteria in the urine.

Cat urine is an integral part of determining illness in you cat. Cat urinalysis is very important particularly in older cats where renal failure is much more likely and in male cats that can easily develop crystals in their urethra.