Cat Not Peeing As Much, In the Litter Box: Reasons and What to Do to Help Your Cat Urinate

cat peeing - find out reasons for cat not peeing

Is your cat not peeing as much as usual but acting normal? You should be concerned. Even if not acting lethargic, a cat that is not urinating may be at serious risk of metabolic waste products and toxin buildup. Blockage also causes your feline companion intense pain. This is not to mention that such cats usually usually die in a matter of 48-72 hours as the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA)’ s Complete Guide to Cats says. Here we explore some of the reasons for cat not peeing.

How Long Can A Cat Go Without Urinating?

Before we discuss some of the reasons for cat not peeing, let us answer the just as important question, “How long can a cat hold their urine?” According to All Feline Hospital, cats can go for 24-48 hours without urinating.

This means that you can travel without your feline friend without the fear of having the cat wet the carrier, even if they recently had water. Yes, your cat can still have water the night before the trip and still have a comfortable journey with you. It is however advisable to allow your cat to urinate – get her out of the carrier at intervals of 6 hours at the very minimum.

Keep in mind however that a cat that is forced to hold urine for more than 48 hours may be at risk of injury and fatal toxin build-up. If your cat goes that long with urinating, you should be concerned.

Reason for Cat Not Peeing

Is your cat constantly trying to urinate – going to the litter box – but nothing comes out? Well, you could be dealing with a case of feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD). Also referred to as Feline urologic disorder (FUS) or feline interstitial cystitis (FIC), FLUTD is not a disease per se, but rather a classification of various problems involving the lower urinary tract.

Cystitis, or bladder inflammation, is usually the underlying cause of the difficulty urinating in cats. If not treated, cystitis often leads to the formation of a plug in the urethra, leading to blockage (inability to urinate). This is a serious, life-threatening condition.

According to the Veterinary information Network (VIN), the urethral plug usually comprises of bladder stones (crystal-like minerals), a cancerous tumor, or a gooey substance constituting of mucus and protein (referred to as “matrix”).

As a cause for cat not peeing, urethral plugs (and thus blockage) are seen in male cats more commonly than their female companions. This is attributed to the fact that male cats have smaller urethral openings relative to female cats. Middle aged to old male cats are especially more prone to getting the disease, more so if they are overweight and/or have a sedentary lifestyle.

What Causes FLUTD?

With FLUTD identified as a very likely reason for cat not peeing, you may wonder what causes or triggers it in the first place. According to the Veterinary Information Network, the following factors are attributed to inflammation of bladder, and in more severe cases the formation of plugs in the urethra:

  • Inadequate water intake – this causes mineral imbalance and is closely associated with changes in cat’s pH levels.
  • Diet
  • Bacterial infections
  • Stress

Other Signs and Symptoms of FLUTD

Cat not peeing – straining in the litter box – aside, you are likely to see one or more of the following signs and symptoms:

  • Blood-stained urine
  • The cat cries out in pain when trying to urinate
  • The cat gets progressively lethargic as a result of toxins buildup
  • Licking the genital area
  • Hiding – just like dogs hide when sick, cats can lay low when in pain.
  • Vomiting – is your cat not peeing and throwing up? The Veterinary Information Network says this is usually a sign of advanced FLUTD – in existence for more than 24 hours. Throwing up is usually underpinned by accumulation of metabolic wastes and toxins in the body.

Why You Should Be Concerned About FLUTD and How It Is Treated

If your cat has not urinated for more than a day, you should take her to a veterinarian immediately. That is an emergency case. Urine accumulation means an accumulation of metabolic wastes and other toxins in the body. Without proper treatment, the cat is at high risk of going into a coma and ultimately dying. Death occurs within 48 to 72 hours of not peeing.

This is not to mention that there is a degree of uncertainty involved with treatment of advanced cases of FLUTD. Some cats get frequent re-infections and blockages after treatment.

To prevent this, take your cat to the veterinarian urgently if you suspect she is having difficulty urinating even if she is acting normal.

According to Vet Info, antibiotics are usually effective for treatment of cases of FLUTD causes by cystitis. Surgery is however often necessary for advanced cases that involves the formation of bladder stones. Your cat may spend several days at the hospital following the surgery.

As regards the best home remedy for a cat that is straining to urinate, the answer is NONE. Don’t try to treat the condition yourself lest you end up losing your cat.

Your cat will benefit from having adequate access to clean drinking water and a clean litter box though. Feeding your cat high quality food is also helpful for her overall health. Your veterinarian may prescribe special food for your feline companion. If that is the case, stick to it and you will be happy that you did when your cat lives a long, meaningful life.

Cat Not Peeing In Litter Box

We have seen what causes a cat not to pee at all or as much as she should be. Now, what about a cat that is not peeing in the litter box? Here are some of the likely underlying reasons for a cat not peeing in the litter box anymore:

  1. Dirt: If your cat stopped peeing in litter box all of a sudden after using it a long time, it could be that it is not as clean as it used to be. Check it out and ensure that the litter box is scooped on a daily basis.
  2. Inadequate litter boxes. As a general rule, have one more litter box than the number of cats in your house. If for example you have five cats, have six litter boxes. Spread them to all the levels of your house if you reside in amulet-storied house.
  3. Kidney disease: According to the WebMD, urinating outside the litter box may be a sign of kidney failure in cats. Other than your cat not urinating in litter box, watch out for other signs and symptoms including increase thirst, weight loss, appetite decline, lethargy, bloody or cloudy urine, dry coat, brownish tongue, mouth ulcers, constipation, vomiting and diarrhea.
  4. Feline interstitial Cystitis: Urinating outside the bladder may be indicative of bladder inflammation or FLUTD. The reason why an affected cat pees outside the litter box is because the condition often cause urgent needs to empty the bladder.
  5. Stress: The behavior may as well be indicative of stressful situation e.g. new foster kittens, being harassed by other cats while using the litter box, etc.
  6. The litter box design: is the litter box too small? Are the sides of too high? Does it have a hood or liner? Try modifying this design elements or getting a new box.

How to Deal With a Cat Hat Is Not Peeing In Litter Box

If you are concerned about your cat not peeing in the litter box, the following tips could save the day:

  1. Try using Cat Attract. This is formulate with herbal remedies that are claimed to help attract the cat to the litter box.
  2. Scoop your cat’s litter daily.
  3. Swab the box with baking soda or unscented soap frequently, preferably once per week.
  4. Ensure that you fill the litter box with no more than 2 inches of litter.
  5. Try using a larger litter box, without liner or lid.
  6. Switch to a self-cleansing litter box.
  7. Use a litter box with low sides. This is especially helpful for old cats with problems such as arthritis.
  8. Station the litter box in quiet, secluded areas of your house, with low-lighting. Ensure the place has an escape route that the cat can use when approached by other cats or someone. Most importantly, the litter box should not be near her food or water.


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