My cat can’t urinate, what should I do?

Mon chat n’arrive pas à uriner, que faire ?

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How to know if your cat has urinary problems? How do you help your cat urinate? If you notice that your cat is trying to urinate several times without success, what should you do?

How to know if a cat has urinary problems?


There are certain signs that may indicate your cat has a urinary tract problem, such as a urinary tract infection or feline urological syndrome (FUS):

Frequent visits to the litter box: If your cat poops more often than usual or tries to urinate without success, this may indicate a urinary tract obstruction and requires immediate medical attention.

Blood in the urine: If you notice blood in your cat’s urine, it may also be a sign of a urinary tract infection or other urinary problem.

Unusual behavior: If your cat becomes agitated, shows signs of pain, or begins to lick his or her genitals frequently, this may be a sign of urinary problems.

Change in eating habits: If your cat refuses to eat or drink, she may have EDS or another health problem.

If you notice one or more of these symptoms, it’s important to see a veterinarian as soon as possible to get a diagnosis and proper treatment. Urinary problems in cats can be serious and often require immediate medical attention.

Urinary tract infection

Urinary tract infections in cats are rare and can cause symptoms such as difficulty urinating, small amounts of urine and blood in the urine.

Cats over 10 years of age and those with conditions such as diabetes, chronic renal failure and hyperthyroidism are more likely to develop urinary tract infections.

Only a bacteriological analysis of the urine can confirm the diagnosis of UTI. Treatment usually consists of antibiotic therapy of varying duration depending on the severity of the infection. The treatment must be strictly adhered to in order to ensure the cat’s recovery.

Feline urological syndrome (FUS)

Feline urological syndrome (FUS) is a term that encompasses several conditions of the urinary tract in cats, such as inflammation, urethral obstruction and cystitis.

What these conditions have in common is that they affect the lower tract of the cat’s urinary system, which can lead to a range of symptoms such as difficulty urinating, urinary frequency, dysuria, stranguria, hematuria, and constant licking of the genitals in males.

Urinary obstruction is the most serious condition, when the urethra is blocked by stones, crystals, mucous plugs, or spasms, which can result in a life-threatening emergency if the cat cannot urinate. The cat may then become weak, lethargic, vomit and lose its appetite.

It is important to be aware of these symptoms and to seek prompt veterinary attention in an emergency to avoid serious complications that may result in death.

My cat can’t urinate: what are the causes?

Urinary stones

Urinary stones and crystals in cats are produced when the pH of their urine is altered. The most common types of crystals are struvites and calcium oxalates, which can cause irritation of the urinary tract and total obstruction if numerous. In addition to the discomfort they cause, failure to treat them promptly can result in kidney failure or cardiac arrest due to excess potassium.

Castration in males

Male cats are more likely to develop urinary problems than females, especially if they have been castrated. The formation of too many crystals or urinary stones can lead to more rapid urinary obstruction in castrated males.


The quality of the diet can also have a significant impact on your pet’s urinary health. A poor-quality diet that is too high in nutrients such as phosphorus, magnesium, fats and sugars can alter the pH of your pet’s urine and promote the formation of crystals and stones. On the other hand, a good quality diet will help keep your cat healthy.


Overweight cats are often overweight because of inadequate nutrition, excessive amounts of food compared to the cat’s needs, or lack of physical activity. This is especially common in spayed or neutered cats, as their metabolism is altered.

Idiopathic Cystitis

Idiopathic cystitis is a condition of the urinary tract for which the cause is not medically known, but which affects cats that are anxious or have recently experienced stress. To help the cat regain its composure and prevent the recurrence of cystitis, it is recommended to install pheromone diffusers for one to two months and to give it valerian or food supplements. This gentle method reduces stress and improves the cat’s urinary health.

How to relieve a cat that can’t urinate?

Treatment of feline urological syndrome (FUS)

In the case of feline urological syndrome (FUS), it is important to manage the urinary obstruction as an emergency.

The veterinarian must place a urinary catheter under general anesthesia to empty the bladder and relieve the cat. The cat then stays in the hospital for about 3 days to clean the bladder, administer antispasmodics and pain medication.

Once the catheter is removed, the cat should be able to urinate normally. Thereafter, the cat’s diet should be changed to a therapeutic diet for approximately 6 months. This diet is designed to change the pH and limit the amount of waste that causes crystals to form.

A urinalysis and/or ultrasound of the bladder is recommended a few months later to ensure that there are no more stones or crystals.

If everything is normal, the cat can then resume feeding a diet appropriate for her age. Finally, if stones are still present despite the special diet, surgery (cystotomy) will be necessary to remove them manually.

Treatment of urinary tract infections and idiopathic cystitis

For bacterial urinary tract infections, antibiotic therapy and a change of diet with a urinary range are recommended.

For idiopathic cystitis due to stress and anxiety, calming pheromones, dietary supplements or phytotherapy (valerian) can be used to help calm the cat in the medium term. The cause of the anxiety must also be determined.

How often does a cat urinate?

Generally, cats urinate several times a day and have one or two bowel movements a day, but each cat is unique and may have different habits. It is important to spend time with your cat to detect any sudden changes in habits that may indicate a health problem and require a visit to the veterinarian.

If your cat is trying to urinate but cannot, this is a veterinary emergency and you should contact your veterinarian immediately. This may be a sign of urinary blockage, a situation that can be dangerous to your cat’s health.

While waiting to go to the vet, make sure your cat has access to fresh, clean water, and avoid giving your cat extra food or water, as this can make the situation worse. Also, avoid giving your cat any medication without the advice of your veterinarian.