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My Cat Is Having Trouble Peeing - Reasons Cats Only Pee a Little

María Besteiros
By María Besteiros, Expert veterinary assistant and canine/feline hairdresser.. November 18, 2020
My Cat Is Having Trouble Peeing - Reasons Cats Only Pee a Little

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Whether your cat is only urinating very little or stopped completely, we need to know it is not normal. Any sudden change of litter box should prompt a trip to the veterinarian as there are potentially life threatening illnesses which have a lack of urination as a symptom. When a cat stops peeing completely, it is likely a very serious health problem. When they only pee a little, it still needs veterinary medical attention.

In this AnimalWised article, we look at why my cat is having trouble peeing. We explain the possible causes and provide information on treatment options available.

  1. Urination problems in cats
  2. Reasons why a cat is having trouble peeing
  3. What to do if a cat is having trouble peeing
  4. Treatment of urination problems in cats
  5. How to prevent urinary problems in cats

Urination problems in cats

Urination problems in cats occur relatively frequently. Such problems can be if the cat pees too much, not just too little. The amount a cat will urinate will depend on the water intake, size of the cat and their overall health. For example, older cats may urinate improperly due to weakened functioning of their digestive organs.

There are problems other than your cat peeing or not. Discoloration of a cat's urine can be a sign of a serious health problem, especially if there is blood present (hematuria). Darkened urine can also imply dehydration, a problem with diet or even toxification.

An increase in urine might be due to various problems such as kidney failure in cats or feline diabetes. However, incontinence can be a symptom of various chronic and acute medical problems. When a cat is not peeing at all, it signifies a potential veterinary emergency.

For this article, we look at what happens when we see our cat using the litter box frequently, but not much fluid is emitted due to trouble urinating. It can be difficult to know if your cat is having trouble peeing. We are not always around to see them use their litter tray and it can be difficult to determine how much fluid is present in said litter.

When we do see our cat peeing, we might hear them make noises of discomfort or notice other symptoms. These symptoms include:

  • Excessive licking of the genital area, which may be irritated.
  • Meowing when using or approaching the litter box.
  • Urination outside of the litter box.
  • Pain in the abdominal region.
  • Spending more time than usual in the litter box.
  • Blood in the urine
  • In the most severe cases, there may be general malaise, weakness, vomiting, lack of appetite, etc.
  • Behavior of the cat may also be altered, for example being aggressive or fearful.
  • A very serious complication of this condition is the partial or total obstruction of the urinary system. This endangers the life of the cat and it is imperative you see a veterinarian.

Reasons why a cat is having trouble peeing

There are several causes that can cause our cat to suffer problems when trying to urinate. The term FLUTD (feline lower urinary tract disease) is a banner term to describe these issues. Some contain serious problems affecting the bladder and or urethra.

Cats with a compromised immune system, overweight cats, senior cats and those with a sedentary lifestyle are often most at risk of FLUTD. Low water consumption, low urine excretion, only eating dry food and stressful home environments can be contributing factors. The main causes of a cat having trouble peeing are:

  • Cystitis: inflammation of the bladder. It may be due to a bacterial infection or psychological causes, but sometimes its origin cannot be determined (idiopathic cystitis).
  • Bladder stones or crystals: the presence of stones or crystals in the urine (uroliths) can cause obstruction, leading to the cat having trouble peeing.
  • Urethral obstruction: crystals are not the only causes of obstruction, fat, neoplasms or protein build up can have a similar effect.
  • Urinary tract infections: infections are another of the main causes of cats having trouble peeing, especially bacterial infections.
  • Tumors: although less common, the location of some tumors can cause difficulties in urination.
  • Anatomical malformations: an option that should not be ruled out. If you suspect that your cat has a malformation, it is important to take them to the vet.

We should remember that urinary obstructions are more common in males due to their anatomy. They have a narrower and longer urethra than females which can often result in the cat only peeing a little.

My Cat Is Having Trouble Peeing - Reasons Cats Only Pee a Little - Reasons why a cat is having trouble peeing

What to do if a cat is having trouble peeing

This urinary problem is very annoying for the cat, so it should be more than enough reason to go to the vet immediately. In addition, it is a picture that can be complicated or caused by an obstruction. It is not an exaggeration to say that it is vitally important to go to the vet promptly. If you wait, you can cause serious risk to the cat's life as it can cause failure in their vital organs.

The veterinarian will proceed to the examination of our cat to determine the cause of difficult urination. A urine sample must be collected and observed under a microscope. If this does not happen, a culture will likely be created. Depending on each case, it may be necessary to do an X-ray, n ultrasound or even a blood test. With these tests it is possible to detect an infection, the presence of stones, whether or not the kidney has been damaged, etc.

Treatment of urination problems in cats

The treatment of the urinary problem in cats will be relative to the cause. The diagnosis will need to be carried out by a professional veterinarian who will then determine the course of treatment. Initially, as blockages and infections often make peeing not only difficult, but painful, analgesics (painkillers) may be administered. With bacterial infections, antibiotics will likely be administered.

Since urinary stones are often associated with diet, a change in what the cat eats may be implemented. A special diet can be administered, but this will differ according to the type of urolith.

More serious causes of a cat being unable to pee may require admission to a veterinary hospital. Surgical intervention may be carried out in certain cases, especially when resolving a blockage. If the problem is influenced by stress, the cat's living conditions need to be review and any stressors removed. This may require consultation with an ethologist.

My Cat Is Having Trouble Peeing - Reasons Cats Only Pee a Little - Treatment of urination problems in cats

How to prevent urinary problems in cats

Many of the causes of a cat having trouble urinating cannot be influenced by us. This is because we are not aware of them until the symptoms arise, especially if we see the cat not peeing properly. However, there are some things we can do to reduce improve the cat's general health and best prevent urinary problems occurring:

  • Keep your cat active and stimulate them mentally with toys and games.
  • Offer a balanced and quality diet. If you opt for dry feed, ensure it is of the best quality and keep an eye on their water intake. You can mix in some wet food also.
  • Find ways to encourage them to drink water. Place multiple water dishes throughout the home and invest in a drinking fountain to encourage hydration.
  • Create a stress-free environment in the home.
  • Take care that their litter box is kept clean.

Problems urinating in cats can be a symptom of various feline diseases. In the video below, we take a look at some of the most common and which other signs you need to keep an eye out for:

This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to My Cat Is Having Trouble Peeing - Reasons Cats Only Pee a Little, we recommend you visit our Other health problems category.

  • García, & Bárcena. (2014). Main pathologies of the feline lower urinary tract. Veterinary Portal.
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My Cat Is Having Trouble Peeing - Reasons Cats Only Pee a Little