Peeing Often in Cats

Why is my cat peeing often?
Why is my cat peeing often?

What is Peeing Often?

If you see your cat peeing often, this can be a health concern referred to as polyuria; not to be confused with spray-marking or urinating outside of the litter box, which is often a behavioral issue.  It is important to understand your cat’s toilet behaviors so that you can recognize any changes.  Peeing often might not be in volume either, and your cat may experience difficulty forming urine as well as feel pain while urinating.  Understanding the difference between peeing often and peeing in volume is important as there are different possible reasons for both symptoms.  Some reasons for your cat’s increased urination – frequency and volume – might include:

  • Urinary tract infections
  • Bladder blockage or stones
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Diabetes

The severity of your cat’s frequent urination will depend on the underlying cause.  Trying to pee often but not in volume may indicate your cat is not eliminating enough urine due to a block, which is a serious health concern while the symptoms of a urinary tract infection will resolve quickly and without threat once your cat receives treatment.

Why Peeing Often Occurs in Cats

Why your cat may often be peeing will depend on the cause.  It is important to note whether your cat is just trying to urinate often or is eliminating in volume.  Excess thirst, known as polydipsia, will often accompany increased urination as well.

Urinary Tract Infections (UTI)

A UTI is an infection caused by bacteria in your cat’s urinary tract and is the most common cause of frequent urination.  You may notice your cat is trying to pee but it only able to go a little at a time.  She may also have blood in her urine, cry while peeing, and increase licking and grooming of the genital area. Urinary tract infections are easy to treat with antibiotics and can affect any age or breed, but middle-aged felines who are overweight appear more susceptible to infection.  

Bladder Stones (Blockage)

A bladder blockage due to a stone formation is a medical emergency as your cat is unable to eliminate his urine.  Bladder stones are rock-like crystal formations and if large enough, may obstruct the neck of the bladder, which attaches to the urethra, preventing normal urination. A blockage can lead to a distended bladder and eventual kidney failure, so it is important to recognize the health issue and seek medical support immediately.  Though bladder stones can form at any age and in any breed, middle-aged male Persians, Himalayans, and Burmese who have been neutered appear most susceptible to stone formation.

Hormonal Imbalance

Frequent urination is also a sign of an overactive thyroid, a condition known as hyperthyroidism. Hyperthyroidism is a common disease affecting middle-aged and mature cats and is usually caused by a benign tumor growth in the neck. Hyperthyroidism can affect all other organs so your cat may have secondary health concerns that require treatment.     

Diabetes

As cats age, they can develop Type II diabetes, which is more common in overweight neutered males.  Your cat may be increasing his water consumption to flush out the excess sugar, which can result in more frequent urination.  Your cat may also appear hungrier but maintain or even lose weight, and he will seem more lethargic.

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What to do if your Cat is Peeing Often

If you notice a change in your cat’s urination habits, it is important to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as possible. Peeing often and in higher volume may be the result of a serious underlying health problem.  Your veterinarian with perform a complete physical examination as well as ask you when you first noticed the change in behavior.  Your vet will also want to know your cat's eating and drinking habits, if those habits have recently changed, and what food you use.  Additional diagnostic testing will depend on your cat’s symptoms and your veterinarian’s initial exam. 

A urine bacterial culture is used to diagnose a urinary tract infection. The infection is resolved quickly and in most cases, without complications, once an antibiotic course is prescribed for your cat. 

If your vet suspects your cat has a distended bladder or blockage due to the bladder stones, he will want to see x-ray images to determine size and extent of the blockage.  Surgery or a catheter will be the next course of action after a confirmed diagnosis.

Hormonal imbalances and diabetes may require long-term treatments and care, such as administering anti-thyroid drugs and insulin.  More progressive therapy for hyperthyroidism may include radioactive iodine treatments or even surgery to remove the thyroid. Diabetes management may include diet changes and daily injections as well as more frequent check-up with your veterinarian.

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Prevention of Peeing Often

A healthy diet and regular exercise is the first step in preventing frequent urination conditions.  Cats are carnivores and need higher amounts of protein in their diets.  Increasing protein and reducing carbohydrates will help your cat keep his sugar levels down as well as his weight. Additionally, make sure your cat has access to clean water and a clean litter box.  Poor litter box maintenance can lead to a higher risk of bacterial infections.    

A healthy diet and exercise will go a long way for your cat’s health. Obesity is a contributing factor in many conditions where frequent urination is a symptom.  By providing clean water, nutritious food, a clean litter box, and plenty of playtime, you can reduce the risk of frequent urination problems. Additionally, you should make regular annual visits to your veterinarian for well-cat check-ups, especially as your cat ages.

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Cost of Peeing Often

Treatment for frequent urination can vary in cost depending on the severity and condition.  For example, urinary tract infections can cost $500 whereas treatment for diabetes can cost around $2,500.  However, the average cost for conditions related to frequent urination cost around $1,000, depending on your cost of living.

Many of the conditions associated with frequent urination can be expensive to treat. To avoid high vet care expenses, secure pet health insurance today. The sooner you insure your pet, the more protection you’ll have from unexpected vet costs.

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Peeing Often Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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cat

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Four Years

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18 found helpful

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18 found helpful

Has Symptoms

My cat have been constantly peeing for the past couple days 3 times a hour at times, she doesnt seem to be in pain but she does it often

Dec. 7, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Linda S. MVB MRCVS

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18 Recommendations

I'm sorry to hear this. There are several possibilities including a sterile cystitis, bacterial infection, crystals, bladder stones etc She does need to see a vet and should have her urine analysed as she may need e.g. some anti inflammatories or antibiotics. At home, ensure she has 2 clean litter trays, stress is kept to a minimum and increase her water intake by offering wet food and plenty of fresh water.

Dec. 7, 2020

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Maine Coon

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One Year

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5 found helpful

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5 found helpful

Has Symptoms

Painful Urination

It’s only very often urination. It has started at 8pm today.

Sept. 24, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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5 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I apologize for the delay, this venue is not set up for urgent emails. It would be best to have your pet seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine them, see what might be going on, and get any testing or treatment taken care of that might be needed.

Oct. 23, 2020

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