Common Cat Urinary Problems

Cat urinary problems often occur during the life of a cat. The most common problems a cat may develop are either a urinary tract infection, cystitis, or an obstructed urethra. Cat urinary problems can develop for a variety of reasons. There are many ways to prevent urinary problems and to treat them if they afflict your cat.

Urinary Tract Infections

A feline urinary tract infection involves a variety of symptoms. It involves only the upper urinary tract. Cats with a urinary tract infection may exhibit mild to moderate symptoms. You might not even notice a mild infection if you're not watching your cat's elimination habits very closely. A cat with this illness may start to make more frequent trips to the litter box. Despite this, you might notice less urine in the box. Your cat may also begin to strain while trying to urinate as exhibited by spending a longer time in the box and maybe even making straining type noises. As the infection worsens, your cat may start experiencing pain during urination. If this happens, he'll associate the pain with the litter box and will then start urinating elsewhere.


Cystitis is another name for FLUTD or feline lower urinary tract disease. This can also be called feline interstitial cystitis or feline idiopathic cystitis. In this disease, the infection is lower down in the bladder itself. The resulting inflammation causes and excess in the concentration in the debris and minerals. Crystals can then form. The symptoms are similar to those in a simple urinary tract infection but may be more severe. Urinating will be even more painful and your cat may make a distressed meowing sound while he's in the box. Both female and male cats get FLUTD but males are more likely to be afflicted.

There are other common symptoms in cystitis. The cat may lick or bite at his genital area due to the feelings of irritation and inflammation. You may notice blood in the urine, and the urine may have an even more foul smell than usual. If the illness goes untreated, the kidneys can also become diseased.

Obstruction in the Urethra

Urinary problems can turn into a life-threatening emergency for your cat. The crystals that form can actually block the urethra. The urine then becomes infected and the cat cannot pass it. A cat in this condition is in extreme pain. You'll hear noises from him that you've never heard before. He may hide or act in ways that are very uncharacteristic for him. Get veterinary help for him immediately even if you haven't noticed any of the other symptoms.

Symptoms Detected by a Veterinarian

There are several ways that a vet can tell that your cat is having a urinary problem. She can test for infection and toxins in the blood through lab tests. The lab tests can may also detect high levels of kidney enzymes indicating that the kidneys are working harder than usual. This is a sure sign of infection. A vet will also be able to immediately detect an enlarged or misshaped bladder in a physical exam.