Cats are one of the most beloved pets, and it is natural for us as owners to worry about our feline friends, especially if something doesn’t quite seem right. One question owners often ask is how often do cats pee? This is an important subject to be up to speed on as a cat owner as it can be a relatively common problem. On average, cats urinate several times a day, and there is a relatively short window in which cats can become seriously ill from not urinating. Of course if your cat has outdoor access, it may pee elsewhere rather than in its litter box. However, if you notice that it is going much less frequently, read on to find out the possible causes and what action to take to get your kitty back to full health.
How Do Cats’ Urinary Systems Work?
To know whether something is wrong with your cat in this department, you need to have a basic understanding of how it all works. Essentially, the urinary system in cats includes the kidneys, the ureters (tubes connecting the kidneys to the bladder), the bladder and the urethra (the tube through which urine exits the bladder). It is when something doesn’t quite work properly in this system that cats stop peeing as regularly as they need to, and become ill.
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How Long Can a Cat Go Without Urinating?
The answer to this question does depend on a range of factors, including food and water intake, overall health, weight and age. However, the rule of thumb is that cats can go without urinating for 24-48 hours. If your cat has not peed within this time frame, this is the point at which to seek veterinary help.
If you want to err on the side of caution, use the 24 hour mark as the point to take your cat to the vet. This can be preferable as you may not have noticed the first few hours of your cat not peeing before beginning to worry, so in reality your cat may not have been urinating for even longer.
It is also really important to point out that you can find your cat not peeing but acting normal. This is generally because cats hide injury and illness very well. So make sure to keep a regular eye on how often your cat is emptying their bladder, and seek help from your vet if you notice unusual patterns in your pet’s behaviour.
Why Is My Cat Not Urinating?
This can be down to a number of factors, but some of the most common ones are stress, illness and injury. But it is important to note that any problem with the urethra (the tube connecting the bladder to the genitals) stems from the bladder.
Urinary Tract Illnesses In Cats
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) or tract disease are terms which cover a broad range of problems that inhibit a cat’s ability to urinate. It includes issues such as bacterial infections of the urinary tract, bladder inflammation (also known as cystitis), and a blocked urethra. Urethral issues are much more common in male cats as their urethra is narrower than the females. However it has been known to occur in female cats as well.
Bacterial infections are often due to underlying health conditions, such as kidney disease or diabetes. However, they can also occur as a result of bladder stones.
Bladder inflammation can occur from both bacterial issues and simply stress. When the cause is diagnosed as stress, it is termed cystitis.
The major cause of blockage in the urethra is ‘stones’, which prevent the cat from peeing. Blockage in cats’ urinary tract is usually as a result of feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD), cystitis or urethritis. Whilst these are all manifested in the cat ceasing to urinate, symptoms of FLUTD are more serious. These can include cats crying out whilst they urinate, passing blood, and avoiding the litter box. If feline lower urinary tract disease is not treated by a vet, it can be fatal.
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What Happens to Cats If They Stop Peeing?
If a cat doesn’t pee for a sustained period of time, their health can quickly become affected. Their bladders can reach the limit of the amount of urine they can hold. If they reach this point, urine can back up into the kidneys. This can prevent their vital organs from operating properly. If left untreated, this can quickly become fatal.
How to Help My Cat Pee
There are a couple of actions you can take to help your cat with peeing. Firstly, keep their litter box clean. Our feline friends are nothing if not hygiene conscious, so are reluctant to use a dirty litter tray.
Secondly, make sure the litter box is placed in an environment in which they feel safe and comfortable. If a cat feels stressed in a particular area, it is likely to avoid peeing there, so either they look for somewhere else to pee, or hold it in.
If you have an indoor cat, you may find that they are urinating somewhere in the home outside the litter box. Check around the house, particularly in hidden and sheltered corners, such as under beds, in laundry baskets and under closets. As we only too well know, they can be nifty in finding clever hiding spots!
If your cat has outdoor access, they may pee elsewhere outside the home regularly whilst on adventures. However, if you suspect they are having problems with urinating, it is worthwhile keeping them indoors for several hours (or at least attempting to!) and monitoring them to see how often they go.
However, as such issues with your cat can quickly become serious and even fatal, the best course of action is to seek help from your vet if you are worried.