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What You Should Know About Urinary Blockage in Cats

Urinary blockage in cats is one of the scariest moments a person can experience with their cat. Also known as urethral blockages, the blockages are very common with cats, especially males. Thankfully, with immediate proof of the symptoms and expert inspection by your vet, it’s common for your cat to make a complete recovery.

Nevertheless, below will highlight some critical specifics of urinary blockages. We’ll discuss the necessity of being aware of hindered male felines and what to do if your kitty is impacted. The information presented will give you a good introduction on what to know about this issue and what you should do.

What is a Urinary Blockage?

Urethral Obstruction (UO) is a dangerous blockage of the lower part of the urinary tract. It keeps a cat from having the option to pee and, sadly, happens commonly in cats. Even though UO can happen in any cat, it is more common in youthful to middle-aged male cats.

It is pretty painful for a cat when it occurs. Your cat will not be able to pee despite constant efforts, and it is hazardous since it can cause intense kidney failure and death within a couple of days if it isn’t treated right away. If your cat is experiencing pain in any way, bring them to the vet as soon as you can.

What Causes a Blockage in Cats?

There are a few leading causes of urinary blockages in cats, with some being more prevalent than others. Though some are more common than others, you won’t know what’s causing the issue until a professional medical diagnosis the matter. Regardless, below are the leading causes of a blockage in a cat:

Bladder Stones – Stores found in the bladder can cluster together to shape a blockage. Bladder stones can represent upwards of 80-90% of instances of urinary blockages.

Swelling and Spasm of the Urethra – During irritation of the bladder and urethra, the aggravation might cause enlarging the urethra, which might add to blockage. In various cases, the aggravation and disturbance can cause the muscle around the urethra (the urethral sphincter muscle) to go into a fit.

Urethral Plugs – A urethral plug is a deterrent found in the urethra of male felines and is caused by a gathering of proteins, cells, precious stones, and other debris. It can’t be passed and requires medical attention to eliminate it.

Urinary Tract Tumor – These tumors are diseases created from uncontrolled cells inside the urinary framework. Bladder tumors are the most well-known sort of urinary tumor. While tumors can develop in the urethra, diseases of this sort are unusual. On the off chance that a cancer is found in the urinary tract, it’s typically caused by another area.

How is a Urinary Blockage in Cats Diagnosed?

Identifying a urinary blockage is fundamental, so you can get your cat the medical attention they need as fast as possible. The most widely recognized indication of a urinary blockage is your cat going to the litter box to pee, getting into position, but not delivering any pee.

Male cats appear awkward or in pain and may yowl when they exhaust their bladder. If the blockage continues without medical attention, your feline will develop an electrolyte imbalance. It causes a scope of recognizable manifestations, including vomiting, irritability, and slow heart rate.

Urinary Blockage in Cats Symptoms

The best way to identify what’s wrong in a cat’s urinary tract is to be aware of the symptoms tied to the matter. As noted, the most common symptom is when a cat attempts to urinate but can’t. It tends to repeat throughout the day with pain and various other symptoms.

Nevertheless, below will identify some other key symptoms with a urinary blockage. Though these symptoms may not occur right away, they will if you don’t get your cat help right away. It is essential to get your cat to your veterinarian quickly, even if you don’t think it’s a urinary blockage. Don’t wait for an appointment; take your cat to what’s available (24-hour emergency vets) as soon as possible.


Vomiting is a common symptom of practically anything wrong with a cat. So, if this is the case with your cat, realize it might not be a urinary blockage. However, understand if it coincides with a cat’s inability to urinate. Either way, bring your cat to the vet since vomiting is a clear sign of something wrong.


Your cat hiding is a telltale sign that something is wrong. Though your cat hiding can occur for countless reasons, understand why it’s happening and what you should do about it. Check your cat’s litter box to see if they’ve been using the bathroom okay. If your cat has been going okay, realize it may be another issue.

Avoiding Human Contact

Like hiding, cats typically avoid human contact whenever something wrong happens. Again, this may result from something else, but realize the issue if it’s accompanied by their inability to pee. Regardless, ensure your cat is doing okay and comfort them while bringing them to the vet.

Blood in the Urine

If your cat can use the bathroom despite having a urinary blockage, there tends to be blood in their urine. There aren’t a lot of reasons why blood might be in your cat’s urine, but understand it’s never a good thing. Do what you can to know when this urinating blood event occurred and call your vet immediately.

Altered Mental State/Unusual Behaviors

Cats are relatively constant with the way they act. Unless there’s a loud noise, a new pet, or someone they’re not used to being around, cats act the same day to day. If your cat has an altered mental state with some unusual behaviors, chances are something is wrong health-wise.

Inappropriate Urination (Somewhere Other than the Litter Box)

Not going to the bathroom isn’t the only sign of a urinary blockage in cats. If your cat is already trained to use the bathroom and doesn’t usually make this mistake, inappropriate urination is a sign of an issue. It refers to a cat peeing somewhere other than the litter box.

Frequent Small Urinations

If your cat is going to the bathroom with small urinations, it’s usually a sign of a blockage. Be mindful of how often your cat typically goes to the bathroom, so you’re aware of whenever an issue comes up. The chances are that a bathroom abnormality is a reason for concern.

How is Urethral Blockage Managed?

A vet will either sedate or anesthetize your cat to relieve the obstruction. Expect X-rays or ultrasounds to assist with deciding the cause of the obstruction and deciding the best treatment technique.

Under sedation or anesthesia, the vet will feel the urethra going through the pelvis and penis of the cat to find the area of concern. Cautious massage is sometimes used to relieve the obstruction, with a catheter passed into the urethra so fluids can infuse to help the issue.

You must do these strategies cautiously to abstain from harming the sensitive coating of the urethra. Assuming that a spasm brings about the block, sedating or anesthetizing the cat might be adequate to allow the effortless passage into the bladder.

What Happens After the Cat is Treated?

A urinary blockage in cats is easy to treat as long as the issue is addressed early on. After a successful treatment, a vet will inject a clean saline solution into the bladder via the catheter to clean out the blood and debris. It is usually repeated a few times to eliminate whatever is left to help prevent a potential reoccurrence.

Whenever it’s done, your vet will conclude whether they can take out the urinary catheter or if it should stay set up for a couple of days. It tends only to be left in for a few days if there has been a severe blockage. The process helps your cat urinate while treatment is started for the primary infection and aggravation.

Long-Term Management Solution

The long-term solution of the vet is to prevent any further episodes of obstruction. Initially, the treatment is meant to eliminate swelling, with calming medications, anti-spasm meds, and painkillers for quite a long time, surprisingly as long as up to 14 days.

Long-term solutions tend to feature special diets with food meant to prevent urinary blockages. Suppose a urinary blockage in cats continues despite proper care. In that case, a surgical operation can sometimes be performed (called perineal urethrostomy) to help open and extend the tight finish to the urethra.

Want to Learn More About Urinary Blockage in Cats? Visit Gateway Veterinary Centre

Hopefully, you won’t ever have to deal with urinary blockage in cats. Still, you never know what will happen, so make sure you’re always prepared. Regardless, visit or contact us at Gateway Veterinary Centre to learn more about the urinary blockages and any questions.

We’re a locally owned veterinary clinic that provides the latest, independent, and fair advice regarding your pet’s needs. We are open seven days a week and look forward to hearing from you and meeting your kitty!

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