Cats can develop all kinds of health problems during their lives, but urination problems are one of the most insidious. Unlike other health issues, like viruses and injuries, urination problems often go unnoticed by pet parents until it's too late to reverse the damage that's been done. Recognizing these signs and symptoms early is important, so read on to learn more about the problems your cat could potentially have with urination and why it's so dangerous.

Causes and Result

There are a multitude of problems that can cause your cat to not be able to urinate. For example, your cat could develop a bladder stone that causes a blockage, preventing urine from escaping the body. Your cat could also develop an infection or swelling in the urethra that stops urine from getting out. In some instances, kidney disease can also cause problems.

Unlike humans, cats can't easily explain what problem they're having, and if they can't urinate, their blood can quickly become toxic. If the body isn't able to process toxins out of the blood via the kidneys and excrete it in the form of urine, a cat can quickly die from blood toxicity. In some cases, the bladder may also burst, causing sepsis throughout the body.


Cats who can't use the litter box will generally only show a few symptoms, which makes it harder to track. The signs you should look out for include crying or meowing while trying to use the litter box, pain or discomfort when the cat's abdomen is palpated (for example, if you try to pick up your cat) and lastly, a lack of interest in drinking water.

Time is of the essence with these symptoms, so if you notice any of these problems, seek help from a veterinarian immediately.


Thankfully, while this problem can cause serious risk to your cat's life, treatment is generally easy. Your veterinarian will perform a physical exam and determine if your cat is unable to relieve itself. If so, your vet will most likely immediately relieve the problem by draining your cat's bladder with a syringe. A catheter may also be used to help your cat continue to be able to drain its bladder while it's being treated.

Beyond that, the treatment will depend upon the cause of your cat's urinary blockage. Infections can be treated with antibiotics, and bladder stones can be removed surgically. Rest assured, your vet will know what to do.

Urinary blockages can put your cat's life at risk in a very short period of time. If you think there's any chance that your cat can't urinate, don't put off going to an animal clinic. Your cat's life could depend upon it.