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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Worried about the cost of treating your pet's symptoms?

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Peeing Often Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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Binx

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domestic short hair

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9 Years

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1 found helpful

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1 found helpful

Has Symptoms

Incontinence

My 9 year old male cat, with a history of GI problems is urinating uncontrollably. He drips wherever he walks and whenever I try to clean him he defecates. He is now urinating and defecating all over my apartment - my bed everything. He has had numerous x-rays that show his urethra and colon are putting pressure on each other due to constipation. He received two enemas and left a very long poo on my pillow this morning. I have mostly been finding nuggets all over and when i try to clean him he will poo just a little bit. He has been on Bethanechol and Prednisone. I have only seen brief periods of improvement with the dripping. They seem to be getting worse. Blood tests show all is normal other than a slight elevation in white blood cells. About a year ago i saw his head tremor and brought him in and his exam was normal.

Aug. 27, 2018

Binx's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1 Recommendations

Binx may be having problems related to the medication that he is on, as Bethanacol decreases urethral tone, and Prednisone may be making him urinate more. The combination may be making him have these problems. Since I can't see him or evaluate him, it would be best to call your veterinarian and let them know what is happening to see if there is anything that can be done to treat this problem.

Aug. 27, 2018

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Evie

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Diluted calico

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1 Year

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1 found helpful

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1 found helpful

Has Symptoms

My kitty is Frequently using the litter box and only urinating little amounts. She poops just fine and is acting completely normal otherwise. Normal food and water intake and playing as usual. What could this be?

Aug. 24, 2018

Evie's Owner

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1 Recommendations

Frequent urination may be caused by a few different conditions which may include urinary tract infections, urinary crystals/stones, hormonal conditions among other conditions; in this case it would be good to visit your Veterinarian for an examination and urinalysis to be on the safe side. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Aug. 24, 2018

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