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The Nightmare That is Blocked Cats
February 24, 2014 (published)

Photo by Karen James

It’s a natural fact that every mammal has to pee. Eating, you can hold off for a few days, pooping is optional (for a while anyway), but peeing is right up there with breathing on the list of things you just gotta do each and every day. So when something happens to stem the flow of pee, trouble ensues - and fast.

Pee is a funny little substance. It actually has lots of good stuff in it. Stuff you can’t live without in many cases – things like potassium and sodium and water. Your body, and more specifically, your kidneys, sense and adjust the composition of your bodily fluids and dump the excess into the urine. Just ate a super-sized order of fries with an ocean’s worth of sodium in it? Here come the kidneys to say ‘hold the salt’ and dump the unwanted excess into the urine. Ditto with lots of other substances, like water, that need to be regulated. And pee is (usually) sterile – unless you have a urinary tract infection (UTI) pee is pure enough that you could clean your windows with it. I’m not advocating doing anything crazy with it (except maybe writing your name in the snow), but it’s not the heinous grody stuff that many third graders make it out to be. True, it does have the waste products of metabolism in it, which your body definitely needs to get rid of.

And that’s where some of the problems begin. If the flow of pee stops, those waste products build up and start pickling the works, like sugar in a car’s gas tank. One of the most common ways that happens is when a cat’s urethra (the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the litter box) gets blocked. Known in veterinary parlance as a ‘blocked cat’ or ‘blocked tom,’ this poorly understood disorder is seen with alarming frequency in vet hospitals and ERs. At the ERs I have worked in, we usually saw about two to three cats per week who couldn’t pee. And we see them in all stages of the disease, from the early ones who just seem a little painful and have a big, hard bladder on to the nearly dead ones that are beyond saving in many cases. I really hate this disease. As one vet recently said on VIN (an online profession for the veterinary community, and parent of VetzInsight) “Blocked cats suck." Amen.

The actual plug that stops the flow can be made of bladder stones (often erroneously called kidney stones), tumors or a gooey mix of mucus and protein known as ‘matrix’ that has the consistency of toothpaste. How and why matrix forms, no one knows despite a few decades of investigation. Adding to the confusion, the name of the disorder has changed no less than four times in the past 20 years from feline lower urinary tract disorder (FLUTD) to feline urologic disorder (FUS) to feline interstitial cystitis (FIC) to the most recent iteration of Pandora Syndrome, which hasn’t really caught on yet. It’ll probably change sometime next week, too.

The causes go beyond a little toothpastey plug, as well. A host of other factors, such as stress, lack of access to water, diet, infectious agents, indoor lifestyle, and many others have been implicated as being responsible for the lead-up to getting blocked. Those little plugs don’t form in a vacuum – something is causing them to form, and we don’t know what factor or factors contribute with a great deal of certainty.

Cats that are blocked often show the following signs:

  • Straining repeatedly in the litter box (often mistaken for constipation)
  • Crying or howling
  • Licking at the genitals/below the base of the tail
  • Hiding.

If you notice your cat showing any of the above signs, get right in to see your veterinarian, or go to your nearest ER as soon as possible. Don’t delay, fill up with gas or stop at Krispy Kreme for a sample. A few hours can make a big difference – you don’t want those toxins circulating for too long, and the longer it goes unchecked, the more pain the cat experiences, the more work the vet has to do, and the bigger the final bill will be.

In advanced cases, where the urine flow has been stopped for more than 24 hours, they can become systemically ill from retained toxins and start vomiting, or become very weak and lethargic. Death usually happens within 48 hours, and it’s not a pleasant way to go. The pain with this disease is immense; so much so that I never fault an owner who chooses euthanasia over trying to reestablish the flow of urine. The course after unblocking these cats is just as unpredictable and mysterious as the factors leading up to the obstruction; some cats are released from the hospital never to suffer another episode, while others will have repeated occurrences days, weeks or years later. This is an inhumane disease.

Managing these cases medically can go way beyond relieving the obstruction in some cases. First priority is fixing the plumbing problem: getting pee to flow. This is usually done with anesthesia and a catheter to get the obstruction out of the way. Managing all the havoc wreaked by the toxins is next. This can necessitate some fancy medical dancing as we try and put all the genies back in their bottles. Disorders of deadly potassium, elevated renal values and severe dehydration can mean days in the hospital, even long after the pee is flowing again. It can get complex, expensive and can wear down even the most committed of owners for the really medically complex (and expensive) ones.

As the infomercial says, But wait – there’s more! Getting them put back together, peeing again and home is the easy part. After this come the lifestyle changes, medication tweaks, medical rechecks, and diet changes that can all conspire to extend the initial complexity of this disease across months or years. Can you see now why I hate this condition?

Our knowledge of contributing factors and therapies has surely changed and improved, but some days I feel like I am handling these cases the same way today as we did when I was a veterinary technician 20 years ago. Today cats with this disease do go home and get better, and even for the tough cases we can prevail and we have some tricks up our sleeve. Someday, science will provide an answer. I just want some means to prevent this disease in the first place, or some surefire way to treat it. I hope the future holds some promise, but I am not holding my breath. Or, know.


February 13, 2018

Can anyone help?  My tom cat 8 years old started with blocked bladder 6 months ago.  He has had it 4 times and been washed out at the vet etc.  He eats the right food but the last time he went in with a blockage they syringed his bladder and made a hole in it.  He was obviously very ill and emergency surgery ensued.  Thankfully he survived although a tad worse for wear.  It has been 2 months post surgery and he is weeing fine, in the litter or outside but he poops anywhere in the house.  Does anyone know if this could be because he can't hold it in after surgery?  I'm reluctant to tell him off as he has been through so much already. Maybe I am being too soft but has anyone any ideas?  Thanks.

February 12, 201

My male 2 year old cat blocked for the first time this weekend. He's had problems with crystals in the past but had been on Hills sd and cd since then and I was heartbroken when the vet told me he was blocked. I thought the prescription food was working all along. He's currently in the hospital and I keep reading and seeing owners sharing that their cat immediately blocked again as soon as they were discharged. I can't afford another ER visit and it's sooooo hard having to have the talk about whether I'd have to put him down if this happens again which can literally happen as soon as he's discharged. The emotional toll it's taken on me is unprecedented and I could barely look at him when I visited without breaking down in tears, it was such gut-wrenching. I emphasize with anyone whose had to go through this.

January 29, 2018

Well now I’m really concerned and confused about my cat. She’s 3 years old and we just adopted her in August. On Friday, her stools got softer and she was still peeing. On Saturday, her stools were still very soft (not quite diarrhea soft) and peed less. We assumed it was the new litter, so we switched back to her old litter. Sunday, she barely peed at all and made multiple trips to the litter box, but she still had small poops. Now she’s barely excreting anything. The thing is: she’s not showing any signs of pain, she hasn’t vomited, she still has a healthy appetite, and she’s still very playful and cuddly. We’re taking her to the ER this afternoon, but I have no idea what level of seriousness this is.

January 27, 2018

Reading all of your comments is devastating. I'm crying just reading them. I just want to give you all a big hug and tell those who've lost a baby that it isn't their fault and they did everything they could. My 6 y/o male Shenanigans recently had a blockage due to some kind of trauma (they think he may have been hit by a car or fallen from a high distance but I'll never know for sure which kills me). I have always given him wet food filled with extra water once per day (can't afford all wet food) so when they initially asked me about his diet and that he wasn't getting enough hydration, I knew that couldn't be the case. Upon further inspection, they realized he was all bruised on his underside and his tail was broken. Long story short (kind of) , he was catheterized and since I couldn't afford to keep him at the vet, sent home with IV fluids I had to give him with a three inch needle three times per day for a week, pain meds and an antispasmodic. He was constantly leaking urine after removing the catheter and I attributed it to the antispasmodic, prazosin. I stopped the prazosin and he wasn't leaking and trying to pee in his box with no success, so afraid he was blocked again, I took him back to the vet. They said he wasn't blocked and gave me more prazosin. More leaking. It's now been a month since he's last been to the vet and I've been having to express his bladder but cannot get much out. He is able to defacate on his own but still cannot pee. He doesn't seem to be in a lot of pain and still wants to run around and is constantly hungry. It has been about a month and a half since his catheter was removed and I'm wondering if he will ever be able to urinate on his own again. Any similar experiences /tips are welcome. Really need help here. Also, To everyone, PLEASE don't rely solely on dry food for your cat's main source of food and if you can afford it, give ONLY wet food, as a dry kibble diet does not contain enough water even if your cat drinks a lot of water and is the main cause of blockages.

January 27, 2018

This happened to my cat several years ago and it ruined him. His urinary system was effected as was his bowels. He has chronic constipation, he retains urine and feces until he has to just poop or pee wherever he is, usually on my bed. If I could go back intime I would have him euthanized instead of having the surgery to unblock his urethra. I LOVE this cat, but his life was essentially over the day he got blocked. I'm getting him put to sleep in a week because I just can't cope with seeing him in pain constantly and having to wash all the sheets and covers on my bed 5,6,7 times a week.

Diana Chesson
December 28, 2017

my daughter took her cat for a blockage on dec 20th to an animal hospital in houston, they charged her 600.00, catherized him and sent him home with a bag of prescription food and antibiotics, no pain meds.  he never got up, died on christmas day. always feed your cat wet food as dry food is the main culprit for this disease.[editor's note: the name of the animal hospital has been removed from this post]

December 26, 2017

We lost are best friend, Jasper, a few weeks ago from this. Jasper was a 3 year old cat and we brought him to the emergency vet after watching him trying to go to the bathroom unsuccessfully and lick himself and hide under the couch all day. We didn't have cat insurance and that was a HUGE mistake. We were given a range of $3800 to $6500 to un-obstruct our cat. We were also told that our cat had a 30%-50% chance of re-blocking and that we needed to start thinking about getting our cat the PU surgery (as there is a good chance he would reblock again). We agreed to the lower payment of $3800 to keep our cat at the vet for 2 two days. During those 2 days we learned that no pet insurance covers pre-existing conditions (there are some exceptions, but urinary blockage is not one of them). I also realized that our cat had a history of partial urinary blockage because I realized that I incorrectly thought my cat had an issue with constipation and was giving him a laxative for it- but once I understood the symptoms of a urinary blockage I understood that was his issue all along. Because we didn't like the "30%-50%" odds that our vet gave us for reblocking, we decided to get the PU surgery done so we would not have to worry about this problem in the future. Our vet quoted the surgery at $3000. My husband and I found an "affordable vet" who would do the surgery for $850. We took our cat to get the surgery two days about blocking and the vet told us the surgery went well. We brought our cat back to the vet to be watched over night. When I called in the morning to see if I could pick him up, the vet said he wasn't urinating and it cost $850 to run tests to find out that the problem was that he had a stricture the urethra was not correctly sown to his skin and he was leaking urine into his leg. I knew this is basically a "one shot surgery" and the cat was in so much pain not being able to urinate again and damaging his leg that we had to put him down. If I could do it all again I wouldve just taken him home and tried the prescription diet food and if I had to get the surgery I wouldve paid the money to have a board certified surgeon do his PU surgery. In the end I paid $5K to put down my best friend.

December 9 2017

Rush your cat to the vet or call the emergency vet on call if your cat is not able to urinate. My 7 year old cat was fine in the morning and by the evening was in pain, lethargic, hiding, and only two drips of urine. His breathing was rapid and tongue bright red. I rushed him to the vet at 8am the next morning after no improvement over the evening. They diagnosed him with a bladder blockage. A catheter was placed under sedation, along with iv fluids and hydromorphone. His entire urethra was blocked all the way to the bladder.  He was going to have blood work the next morning to check kidney function but got a call that he passed away before they got there the next day. Maybe things would have been different if I hadn’t waited over night to bring him in. Feeling sad and guilty. Wish he was still with us.

November 13, 2017

I had to put my sweet Smokey kitty down two days ago and I can’t stop crying. He was 7 and had a complete blockage 3 years ago. He took along time recovering and we knew we never wanted to go through it again. After his first go ‘round with this, he became extremely stressed by vets and would even get aggressive and vomit and defecate in his carry kennel on the way. Long story short, I was in the process of switching vets and they wouldn’t renew his prescription diet. I read a lot about keeping cats well hydrated and feeding a quality diet. I researched all sorts of foods and even made him homemade chicken broth to be fed with his food to ensure that he drank at least 1/2 cup liquid a day. We closely monitored his liter box too. Well two days ago he was fine, but then I noticed he was licking himself a lot. Followed him to the liter box and nothing. Cleaned it out and watched again about an hour later and again nothing. Rushed him to the Emergency vet again, to which he basically yelled at me for not feeding the prescription diet and told me that he was so awful the last time, that it was going to be double what they charged the first time. We decided to not put him through this stress again, and I couldn’t afford it anyway. I feel okay with the idea that I didn’t put him through that suffering again, but I am wondering if the eight months off the prescription diet killed him. I am so torn up about all of it.

September 24, 2017

Feel devastated as we lost our boy early yeasterday morning, he had two surgeries for cath insert, one lot of new drug treatment, then after being ok, came in saturday eve, when we found him hidden was listless, I knew that hed given up the fight, gave him some pain killer and made him comfortable and he drifted off a couple of hours later, no crying in pain, nothing! Even caught a mouse the day before, would have been unfair to transport him to vets and give him more stress, just beating myself up for not having him pts sooner, he went through so much for repeated blockages, RiP Monk aged 5 nnearly 6 :(

September 20, 2017

I am heart broken. I wish I was more knowledgeable about feline urinary obstruction prior to our devastating episode. Took my Male cat to the emergency vet because he was blocked, we put in a catheter and stayed at the vet hospital for 3 days. We were told he was fine and ready to go home, after getting him home, he did not urinate once. I assume he immediately re-blocked after his catheter was pulled,(or maybe it wasn't unblocked in the first place?). We chose to put him down the following day due to relapse and the state he was in. I do not know proper protocol that is acceptable but that is why I am here, hoping you can help me understand better. Question 1- Do vets usually give pain meds or steroids to help with pain/inflammation to take home? Do steroids help prevent reoccurrence? Question 2- Is peeing around the catheter normal? Vet said they knew he could pee on his own because he was peeing around it..sounds fishy to me. Question 3- Shouldn't they have checked to make sure he wasn't blocked before sending him home? I feel that if I was more of an advocate for my cat and knew what was acceptable practice, that he might still be here. I appreciate you time. Thank you!

August 29, 2017

My 2 year old male cat was hiding and straining to urinate we rushed him to the vet. He was diagnosed with complete urinary blockage.  His vet put a catheter in to clear the blockage and sent him home.  He was not eating so I brought him again and he had a partial blockage they gave him antinflammatory shot and hydrated him.  He still won't eat and we are on a limited budget.  This is so heartbreaking we recently put an ll year old cat to sleep becaue of liver issues. Thought I had a healthy cat he is young - and he was so energetic and playful..Not sure if holistic remedies would help.

August 1, 2017

My apologies for the long post, but I thought that the background and the facts would be important if you choose to address my questions below (mainly relating to the relationship, if any, between stress cystitis and the ingestion of foreign (non-food) matter). Shadow, my nine-year-old indoor male neutered cat, is now in the animal hospital. My veterinarian told me that Shadow's bladder was full and was blocked. He was hospitalized for the same problem in April, at which time I thought it was a "one off" issue, since he had never experienced anything similar in the past. Both times, he had vomited copiously, with little production other than water. Thereafter, he became listless and stopped eating. In neither case did he exhibit signs of trying unsuccessfully to urinate. In his current hospitalization, as in April, the vet said that the tests showed no infection (i.e., no UTI) and no struvite crystals. In both cases, she diagnosed his condition as "stress cystitis." I have always fed him a grain-free canned food, which I mix with plenty of bottled water. My point is that he has always been well hydrated. It is a bitter pill for me to swallow to think that he now has a urinary condition. As to "stress" being the root of his problem, I am scratching my head trying to find a cause. He has a companion who is the same age. They grew up together, get along famously, and play all the time. I just haven’t seen any instances of what I would call emotional or psychological stress. However, there is one fact pattern that is common to both the current episode and the one in April, and this is where it gets a bit strange. Shadow was always had this idiosyncrasy where he eats tissue paper, toilet paper and paper towels. Consequently, I do my best to keep these things out of his reach. In April, he came upon a paper napkin. Before I could stop him, he had swallowed it whole. Two days later, he was vomiting, and thereafter he was hospitalized with a diagnosis of stress cystitis. A week ago, he found another paper napkin I didn't notice, and he ran off with it as if it were a sparrow. I chased him to try to get it out of his mouth, but he ended up behind the sofa. When I pulled the sofa back, the napkin was gone. Two days later, he was vomiting and ended up in the hospital again for a urinary blockage. When, both in April and last week, I told my vet about ingestion of the napkins, she was inclined to dismiss any connection to a urinary blockage. I realize that I am clutching at straws, but I'm wondering whether swallowing the napkins caused him to suffer some sort of alimentary distress that, like emotional stress, could have brought on the "stress cystitis." Have the veterinarians who review these posts ever seen anything like that? The common set of facts behind these two instances, together with the timing – vomiting (and no bowel movements) two days later, followed by listlessness and a diagnosis of stress cystitis – just seems to be more than pure coincidence. My second question concerns the utility, if any, of a urinary diet and prevention of these "stress" blockages. My vet told me that Shadow should be on Hills c/d for the rest of his life. Because I believe that he has otherwise been doing well on the food he has eaten for the last nine years, I am reluctant to switch him to another diet – particularly one that is loaded with grains – if I don’t think it is likely to prevent future occurrences of his cystitis. Again, his tests showed no signs of UTI or crystals. What do these "prescription" diets contain that will prevent the buildup of the "matrix" plugs that you write about in your article above? Do you have any thoughts on my questions? Thank you

Christy Corp-Minamiji, DVM
July 26, 2017

Hi Lindsay, Without having seen your cat and knowing the full details of his condition, we can't give you any medical advice, but I would recommend giving your veterinarian's office a call and letting them know what you're seeing with your kitty.

July 26, 2017

Hello! I just brought my male cat, Blitz home from the vet last night around 6:30pm. He was at the vet for four days being hospitalized for a blockage undergoing the catheter treatment/IV/Antibiotics ordeal. The sent me home with medications, and a new urinary diet for him. He has had one other issue with crystals in tha past, but this was the first time being blocked. Vet told us he still had a little sediment in his bladder yesterday but that he had been peeing, eating and drinking normally and that his pee had been clear so they let us take him home. on the 25 minute car ride home my cat peed himself in the carrier. I bathed him once we were home and then he peed on the floor right after and it was a small but brownish puddle, perhaps had some blood in it. He has been visiting the litter box very frequently but looks as though hes only peed a VERY tiny bit, and i think it was from last night. he has been pooping a good amount. He also keeps cleaning below his tail and is more sleepy than normal (although he could be worn out by everything at the vet). it has been about 16 hours since hes been home and has really only peed a good amount the one time in the car. Should i be worried? Thanks!

Christy Corp-Minamiji, DVM
July 19, 2017

Dear Cindy, I'm so sorry for your stress and for what you and your cat are going through.  Your best bet is to wait for the conversation with your veterinarian and to go over all of the options and your concerns with them.  There isn't much clinical advice any of us here can give you since we haven't seen your kitty, but know our thoughts are with you.

July 19, 2017

I'm waiting on the vet (where I used to work) to call me back. My cat is a 6 yr old male, neutered as a kitten. a couple of weeks ago was at the vet for just under $200. I wasn't even charged for an office call, but he had to be checked for everything to rule out. He's been straining to urinate, crying, not as playful as usual. When he did get pee out (not in box, unusual for him) it was brownish. He did have blood indicated in urinalysis, but no infection upon getting his CBC results. WBC was normal. In fact everything was normal, except eosinophils - high. Not diabetic, thyroid ok. He was given a round of antibiotics and 10 steroids. He acted better, used his litter box normally, was his old freaky normal weirdo self that we love, but after 4 days of no steroid is started to cry again. Just squatted to pee (on my purse!) and nothing came out. I am a single mother who sadly cannot put a lot of money into a pet. What I'm reading about this condition is putting me in despair. We are crazy about this cat, but I know I need to be realistic. My daughters will be devastated if something happens to him, they have been through so much and our cats are more than pets, they're family. How far do I go? I can spend a little more, maybe a couple hundred, but will it even help him? Is it more humane just to euthanize? Is the fact that steroids seemed to help useful and reason to have hope? I know he can't stay on them forever, but does this indicate what might be the problem since there are a number of things that it could be? Any input would be helpful. I have no one to bounce my thoughts off of other than people who I don't want to upset with my problems, they'll worry about me and I don't want that.

June 9, 2017

Courtney your description matches to the T what we're going through right now. Down to the vet's reaction. Do you have any update if you've found out anything new? Seems like your a few days ahead of us. Thanks.

June 4, 2017

My cat is almost 5 years old and recently been having issues with her bowel and bladder. She has never been one to go outside of the litter box until recently. I have found her only hiding under my bed, and having trouble with supporting herself with her back legs at times, growling and urinating on herself. I took her to the vet 3 days ago and they told me it felt like she was very constipated so they gave her an enema, and fluids and sent her home after a few​ hours. The next day she looked very uncomfortable still and still peeing where she laid so I took her to the emergency vet where they told me her lab work and xray all looked normal and this seemed behavioral to them. The following day the regular vet checked on how she was doing and once I updated them said to bring her in again. They checked her urine by getting it with a needle and said that looked normal to them and took another x-ray where it just showed she has a lot of fecal matter still but no evidence of a blockage. I was sent home with pain medication because there has been no answer on why at times her back legs get weak and she growls and only wants to lay down and they also told me to give miralax in her food. It has been 3 days now since she has had a Bowel movement and still she continues to have incontinence issues with peeing on herself. She also seems fine at times and purrs and wants attention and all of a sudden she growls and has trouble with her back legs again and hides. I'm taking her back to the vet yet again but I'm just wondering if anyone has had similar issues or might have any idea what is going on with her that might help my vet treat her better. I'm very concerned because she has never had issues like this before.

June 1, 2017

Blocked Tom's are a pain. I just brought my cat home from his cystotomy precedure. He was plagued with struvite sediment that would not go away with medication and diet alone. They took x rays and flushed out his bladder extremely well, so much in fact that the x ray after the surgery showed no sediment. He is eating and urinating just fine... however they found a fatty mass by his bladder. I'm so stressed out by all of this it is ridiculous. I know my poor fur baby has it much worse than I but this surgery put my husband and I into debt.

May 20, 2017

Both my male cats had this surgery. The first boy has had no problems since, but the second one has started "dripping". He does use the litter box regularly, but he just seems to have started leaking. They are on a Urinary diet and drinking distilled water. Really hoping I don't have to bring him back in to be checked, but not sure what to make of it.
Also, for people commenting they can't afford the vet bills - I couldn't either. I used a website and it allowed people to donate. I had some very kind people give incredibly generous donations - people I didn't even know personally. Don't be afraid to reach out for help. [Editor's note: The name of the website Tifani used has been omitted to keep this comment in line with VetzInsight's non-commercial policies.].

Sara aipperspach
May 20, 2017

I had similair problems with my cat and when i took her to the vet they told me it was either a really bad urin affection or a feline diesease well right before we left the doc gave her an iv with fluids beings she was so dehydrated and right before her and i walk out the door she starts shaking which was never a symptom before i took her in but the doctor said her nerves started to fail i sadly had to put her down my question here is could the doctor have accidently caused that to my cat with putting so much water in her after she was dehydrated so long.

Tracy Kahmeeree
May 17, 2017

Hi I'm so worried my kitten is 3 months and keeps hiding and is constipated and crying and drooling from the mouth he had two jabs for oral infection I hope he okay I'm just worried about him.

Michele Gaspar, DVM, DABVP (Feline Practice)
May 14, 2017

Hi, Danielle, It sounds like you and Patsy have been through quite a bit over the past weeks.  If she is not eating, then she won't be passing stool.  The head shaking could be due to an ear infection (otitis media/middle ear infection). The fact that Patsy is not eating is very concerning, as cats need to eat well everyday.  At this point, you need to be her advocate and this might mean switching veterinary hospitals for more aggressive care.  Minimally she needs lab work (CBC/chem/T4 and urinalysis) and radiographs/x-rays.  There are appetite stimulants that may work,, but if her veterinarian prescribes one and Patsy does not eat well in one or two days, a temporary feeding tube may be necessary.  I know that the thought of a feeding tube is often difficult for cat guardians, but let me assure you that these save lives, are easy to learn to use and assure that a patient is getting adequate nutrition.  Force feeding/syringe feeding is problematic, as it is nearly impossible to give adequate calories that way and cats often become adverse to syringe feeding.  I have never had a cat guardian tell me that they regretted having a feeding tube placed in their kitty; most have said that they wished they had done so sooner. When cats do not eat they can develop low potassium, which can cause weakness. Know that I wish Patsy and you only the best.

Danielle Hart
May 14, 2017

Someone please help, I took my cat to vet last week, in the past 2 months I've moved between 2friends houses, 3 hotels and am now with a friend and have been for 2 weeks. My cat Patsy is going to be 6yrs old in August. Indoor only, never left home until my recent moves. Before coming to my final location I'm at now, everything was fine and normal with her, my first week here I noticed she barely ate or drank. I moved her food and water dish and she ate for 2 days then stopped again, I moved it again but she is barley eating. 2 days ago she began drinking again but still won't eat, not even tuna! She LOVES tuna. No poop in her box since the day after she ate those 2 days after not eating for a week, very little pee in litter box and she scratched her ear and shakes her head incessantly. At vet they said her heart, lungs, mouth/teeth/gums are normal, her bladder wasn't full/swollen and she's not in any pain or discomfort. Her behavior is overall the same, she purrs when we cuddle and I pet her, she "talks" back to me and follows me around house like she always has. Vet said she didn't seem to have ear mites, which I thought was reason for her ear scratching and head shaking. She asked me if she vommits coughs and I said no because she hadn't, I brought her to vet last Monday, 2 days ago I noticed she coughed but idk if it's a fluke thing and I'm just in my head nervous and the cough was just a random cough, no underlying issue with it? She also lost her balance when shaking her head yesterday, which hadnt happened before either, but she shook her head and kinda fell sideways and had to catch herself..that hasn't happened since, that I've noticed anyways but I've been watching her like a hawk im so nervous. She hasn't pooped in almost a week, 2 weeks minus the 1 poop a day after she ate those 2 days. She sat in litter box for a good 2minutes I'd say peeing, but when she walked away it was the size of a nickel,barley anything and she was in there longer than usual, she hasn't cried in pain, she doesn't seem uncomfortable at this all stress related from moving? Or has this been going on too long like I feel it has?? Please any insight is desperately wanted I'm a nervous wreck until I bring her back to vet Monday and demand bloodwork since it's near impossible for me to get a stool or urine sample from her right now. Thank you for your time, Danielle.

Michele Gaspar, DVM, DABVP (Feline Practice)
May 8, 2017

Hi, Alan, Given the recent trauma (the fall) and the finding of no broken bones in your kitty, I would presume that what she is experiencing is what used to be called FUS/FLUTD/interstitial cystitis and is now called Pandora Syndrome. This is a stress related condition in cats and is not the same as we see in cats with urethral obstructions. Your kitty has a small bladder that is inflamed.  As she is eating normally and otherwise well, the typical treatment for this syndrome is some pain meds (often buprenorphine, which can be given orally in the cheek pouch), sometimes some sub-cutaneous fluids and tincture of time. Most of these cats resolve their symptoms in 3-5 days; some take a bit longer. Obviously, if she does not eat and otherwise appears ill, then she needs to be seen by a veterinarian. However, from what you posted today, it is reasonable to minimize her stress level (and yours) and monitor her.


May 7, 2017

Please somebody help me… I love my cat more than i love myself. i will not be able to live without her. and i truly mean this… Two days ago, my cat Bean fell out of the upstairs window… Bcuz of this I started to monitor her more closely to make sure she was okay… She has been running around, playing, eating, and drinking… But i noticed that she is straining in the litter box and only peeing a tiny bit… like drops… So i rushed her to the vet ER… they did X-rays and showed that nothing is broken… The vet said she is slightly constipated, so they gave her meds that made her immediately poop in her cage… they also gave her pain meds that she takes for the next three days… the vet seemed to not be too worried, and sent me home with instructions to get a urine sample… Heres the problem:  every time she tries to pee, she only gets a drop or two out, then goes back in the box and tries again and again and again… each time she only gets a few drops out.. its not enough to get up with the syringe… i rushed her back to the ER and they wer going to use a needle to get her urine but they said her blatter is too small so they sent me home to get it myself again… still no luck… As I'm typing this, she is playing and running around and just drank soooooo much water…. but I'm worried sick bcuz I'm worried that she will die from not peeing… I noticed most of these cases are with male cats… i understand the males have the worse problems from this stuff… they said they didnt see any stones.. the vets thinking its a UTI.. what do we do if we can't get pee? can we just start her on the UTI antibiotics anyway?!?!  will the medicine fix her UTI and will she be able to pee normal again?!?!? Im so upset im dizzy i can't stop crying and nobody understands… i don't kno if i should try a different vet.. I'm 26 I'm poor and i already spent $600 on the last vet bill but i don't care i will rob a fucking bank if i have to do it to keep my cat alive.. please somebody help me

Katherina Moreland
February 18, 2017

Has anyone tried Charcoal?

February 5, 2017

My baby just got put down Friday night. He was 3 years old, and was the sweetest animal I'd ever had. This disorder was the exact reason we put him down, and I miss him so much. Rush your kitty to the vet as soon as you see signs of an issue. If we had taken him sooner he might have lived.

January 16, 2017

My cat just had the bladder stone removal on Monday. Everything looked good so we were able to bring home home Tuesday night. He was in good spirits. Walking, playing a little bit. Even climbing up my shoulder to be affectionate (which is unlike him. He would do it to his daddy but not me). He seemed to be peeing okay and had 2 bowel movements between Tuesday night and Friday night. Saturday morning I went to check him ( the vet recommended isolating him from our other cat and our toddler so he doesn't get stressed out) and he didn't even come greet me. He didn't move from his bed. I could smell on him that he was peeing on himself and not getting up to use the litter box. He wouldn't eat his food or drink water. I thought maybe he was just in pain so I gave him pain meds. I wasn't giving it to him religiously because our vet warned that the pain killer makes him lose his appetite, and honestly before Saturday it didn't look like he needed it based on his behavior. I thought maybe he is depressed from being isolated, so we let him out for a little bit. He seemed a little happier also immediately. Now it's Sunday and he still hasn't eaten or drank anything on his own. I gave him a little bit of Gatorade through his syringe so I can make sure he isnt dehydrated. He is lathergic again, not putting, and acting like he did when we took him to the vet to begin with. He was walking around peeing wherever he could. He didn't even attempt to make it to his litter box. He is peeing, but it doesn't seem like full streams. There is no blood or discoloration in his urine. It's just a darker yellow which I assumed it was from not drinking enough. I'm calling the vet tomorrow in hopes that maybe they just need to give him fluid through an IV. I'm so scared. We can not afford another surgery. The first one was already about 3 grand between the hospital stay and they clinic doing the surgery. Has anyone else had this problem? If they say he is going to need another surgery we are going to have no choice but to put him down. I can't be selfish and let him live in pain and his own filth.  As upset as I am about it (I've been crying non stop since Saturday) I just don't even wanna see the look on my kids faces of it comes down to it.

December 22, 2016

My situation is very strange. My cat Roscoe developed stones last September of 2015 and spent 2 weeks in the hospital. He was catheterized and watched day and night at the vet. He almost required surgery but by some miracle, a very large stone managed to break and pass through the catheter. After 2 long and scary weeks, we were able to bring him home and he had a great recovery. He was (and is still) on a strict urinary s/o diet. Fast forward to last month - he began inappropriately urinating and I noticed his pees in the litter were smaller. I took him to the vet and they sampled his urine and determined that he had a bacterial infection. The vet also performed an x-ray during this visit and confirmed there were no stones present. He spent 2 weeks on antibiotics which seemingly cleared the issue up for a couple of days. After a few days of no issues, I noticed he began to have small pees again. We brought him back to the vet and a cystocentesis was performed (needle through the belly to the bladder for a clean urine sample) was performed. We brought Roscoe home and waited a few days for results. A few days after, I noticed his penis and the surrounding area was infected, raw and red and pee had accumulated around and on his fur. I brought him back to the vet and he was given a steroid cream to be rubbed on the area a few times a day. We didn't notice too much of a difference but brought him back to the vet to discuss the results of the cystocentesis 2 days later. We also had him cleaned off and shaved down to be more hygienic and comfortable. It came back clear! No infection at all in his urine. So we are at a loss of what is causing the issues. He is really straining to pee (just drops come out) and it seems to get all over him, as though a regular stream is being disrupted. He is in a cone to avoid licking himself and we still put the steroid cream on him. He is also on an anti-inflammatory in the hopes it will help. Do you have any suggestions? We are truly at a loss here. Despite his small and very frequent pees, he is eating well, drinking well, cuddly and playful and purrs often. He seems to be acting normal in all other respects except for going to the bathroom. We just don't get it but can tell he needs our help!  Wondering if there is internal damage to his urethra or maybe he just got an infection in his penis after the bacterial infection because of constant licking and that just needs to clear up. Do you have any thoughts at all? I raised him from a day old and my heart hurts just knowing I can't fix it for him.

Teri Ann Oursler, DVM
November 23, 2016

Pierre, If your cat still cannot urinate, then you need to take him back to the veterinarian sooner than later.  As in now.  That is the only way to determine if he is straining due to irritation or if he has re-blocked.

November 23, 2016

my cat has urinary track infection and they had to put a catheter on him but now it is remove and he still cannot urinate on his own  i don't know what to do i don't wanna lose him please help

November 20, 2016

My cat jersey two and half years old indoor outdoor cat loves people and was the sweetest boy cat I ever met three days ago he started acting funny like his stomach hurt him I thought he ate something like he did before and the next day he was fine so I monitored him in the next day he seemed a little bit  out of it but he threw up so I thought whatever was in his system he had to get out he would be better by the third day he couldn't walk rushed him to the Vet  they told me he was critical and that he needed to be rushed to the emergency center where they can stabilize him first and then have him have a catheterization but there was no guarantees and he was so very weak that I didn't think that he would make it and I couldn't see him in anymore pain so we made the painful decision to put him to rest and I have been sick ever since. I had no idea that this was the case I would've brought him to the vet so much sooner if your cat has any symptoms  not being able to urinate run to the ER because it was too late for my jersey boy that I miss so much God bless you In this time.

Ellie White
November 14, 2016

Im not sure that anyone is still replying to these comments, but I thought I'd comment on it anyways. I'm currently going through this with my 3 1/2 year old boy. I'm also currently bawling my eyes out because I don't know what to do, or think. He started acting funny on Saturday- two days ago. At first we pushed it off because all he was doing was kind of crouching in a weird position. But after a few hours, we noticed that he hadn't eaten his food, and he was meowing at us which is odd because he's not very talkative. He also didn't perk up and run after me when I came to his window spot with meat food, which was definitely out of the norm. He began to just lay around. But it was Saturday, and my parents didn't want to bring him to an emergency vet because of the cost, so it was decided to wait until Monday. On Sunday he continued to do this, as well as hiding from us and absolutely refusing to move once he was laying down. He'd go to the litter box but didn't end up doing this, many times. In reality we should have taken him to the emergency but we still decided to wait it out. Threw up once a little. By this morning he was so miserable and pretty much just hanging on. Took him to the vet this morning, and they told us to prepare ourselves that we probably would die. They took him in anyways, and got the blockage out. It was mucus and bloody, which they said was a good sign because it hadn't yet crystallized. They told us a few hours later that things looked a little better because he was alert, and even showed signs of annoyance. Placed on a catheter, and still hasn't peed on his own yet which they said they'd like to see by now but still hopeful.. Temp is now regular but it was down to 90 when he was brought in. They're keeping him overnight and checking in a couple times. Last time they called, his bladder still hadn't shrunken yet so they are really just hoping for that and for him to pee on his own, if not then it's probably over. I just don't know what to do. I'm heartbroken. I've had this cat from the day he was born. I know they are saying they are hopeful for a recovery but after reading these comments this seems like something that will probably come back and eventually kill him. I really just wish we had taken the cost and sent him in when we first started seeing signs. I feel so guilty. Any help would be appreciated

Lydia Coder
November 9, 2016

I'm not sure what to do i don't have the means to pay for another vet visit I already owe money for my doggie I love my little fellow he's my kitty cat he's a year old he's never shown any signs of this before I have been with him rubbing him and trying to make him drink he drank last night and nothing else since he's getting sicker by the second and I finally figured out what was causing him the pain from him cleaning his pee pee and then he is getting like a cramp and then he howls in pain then he's right back to the box but he's hiding from me and I keep getting him out for under the bed and watching him what can I do I can't get to a vet tonight and it's been 3 days that he's acted weird will he make it through the night

September 27, 2016

Recently my 1year old cat started exploring the outside, which I am not very happy about as she hasn't been neutered. One night my mum woke me up and told me that Charlies bowl has been full for ages (she usually goes and eats straight after the food is served ) so I thought ,she must've gone outside again through the kitchen window. I went outside my flat because that's usually where she is and called her. Straight away she came running to me and jumped into my arms (this never happened before ,I always have to chase after her) I took her home and went back to sleep. The next day my mom was very worried that Charlie might be pregnant (I remembered checking her places to see if there's possibly any blood or signs of her breeding, there was nothing normal as always ) but I still took in the possibility that this could've  happened. So I went to school leaving Charlie a fresh washed litter tray with some new cat litter that I have never tried before... I came back and the tray was untouched ,this didn't worry me as it has happened before. I started getting concerned when before going to sleep l checked again and it was still empty (this has never happened before ) I decided not to worry ,coz she's bound to do her business some time ,everyone does. Another day passed and still no sign of any poop or pee . My mom suggested that maybe she's been pooping and peeing around the house in her secret places . I literally turned the house inside out looking for a secret toilet lair ,nothing. So it's day three now coming to an end and she still has not emptied her bladder or popped. I am seriously worried about her especially after reading this article (but it's been more than 42hrs and she's still alive ) she's not howling or licking her gentiles every five seconds, she's not even trying to poo or pee she hasn't even been going in the litter box for these three days. But there's definitely a change in her in a way she became more lazy and boring like some sloth or something and she's only one , a few days ago she was running  around like mad, also she hasn't been out for these past three days. I am really confused I don't know what to do ,should I go to the vets with her even though she doesn't have any symptoms or should I wait some more ?? Maybe she'll come around to doing something. I need answerssss can't find anything helpful on the internet and I am extremely scared about her !  she HAS to do her business because for fricks sake how is she still alive ???!! Help me people

September 27, 2016

I just hate this disease. I hate it so much. It is the most cruel, painful condition I have ever known. I have just lost my 4 year old cat to this. Since early July, 2016, my poor boy has suffered 4 urinary blockages, 2 full, 2 partial, as well as bouts of cystitis in between. Its been absolute hell for him, and its been painful for us to see him in such agony. He was put on medication to prevent urethral spasms, and pain relief, as well as cystophan. He was also catheterised with every blockage, followed by long, stressful, lonely hospital stays. The repeated catheterisations apparently lead to a narrowing of the urethra. We have tried everything we could think of to help him, however, nothing seemed to work. We fed him royal canin Urinary S/O diet, and we increased his water intake by adding water to his food, getting a water fountain etc. We tried to decrease stress levels, invested in feliway diffusers for every room. We tried absolutely everything, and I ended up working 60-70 hour weeks to pay the vet bills, which came to over £6000 in total. We opted for the perineal urethostomy surgery in the end, and felt pretty confident in the procedure, as we have a fantastic vets. Moreover, there didn't seem to be much other option, as the blockages were so frequent. The surgery went well. However, the day after, he suffered complications, and could not empty his bladder, and had an urinary leakage around the site of the surgery. The vet suggested that it was unfair to put him through more and more surgery, as his prognosis was no longer as good. I had to make the most painful, difficult, awful decision I've ever had to make, and we had to say goodbye to my poor boy. The guilt is horrendous, I wish I could have saved my boy from this terrible pain and suffering. He deserved a brighter future. On the other hand, I wish I made the decision to euthanize earlier, and had I known how bleak his future was going to be, I wouldn't have hesitated. There was nothing worse than seeing him collapsed in his litter tray due to agony, and finding blood all over the floor when we woke up in the morning. I never knew that urinary blockages could result in such a bleak future for cats. I wouldn't wish this hell on anyone, and I can empathise with how horrendous it is to watch your cat in such agony, and being so helpless.

September 27, 2016

My 2 yr old had a blockage almost two months ago. He pee's small amounts frequently. He's been back to the vet twice for bloody urine. They treat with antibiotics and steroid. Today he had blood again. How long could this go on? Unfortunately if he blocks again I have to put him down. Treatment was over 3 grand. :( I'm heartbroken.

September 15, 2016

My 10 year old cat Kiko has been back and forth to the vet over the past week. He was diagnosed with a urinary blockage and had to have a catheter inserted. We were sent home afterwards with a bladder opening (?) medicine to help him pee and antibiotics and pain medicine. After 48 hours he reblocked and we were back to the vet. During the last few days he's been peeing uncontrollably and releasing stones but he's refusing to walk much and refusing to eat; we've been feeding him through a syringe so he can stay fed but it's been many days (I'd say 4/5) that he hasn't pooped. My vet keeps saying my main worry should be if he's peeing or not. Regardless I am worried, he hasn't pooped, he's very lethargic but alert, he's drinking lots of water but he eats very little, and his hind legs look like he's paralyzed (he refuses to take more than a few steps at a time)  I'm a nervous wreck and I don't know what to do, how can I help him poo? How can I get him to walk around more? Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated.

September 10, 2016

Hi. My 6 year old cat has spent the last week off and on at the vet and the emergency vet. I have noticed over the past 2 wks that he has been going to the bathroom a little and not eating as much. Last Sunday he was acting weird and we noticed he had pee'd in a couple little spots on our bed and acting strange. Right before we left to the E vet he pooped in our sunroom (he's never done that ) and you would have thought it was from a dog. It was massive for a cat and when we got outside he pee'd all in the carrier, and it was massive. ER vet did blood work, urine sample, and a x-Ray.... Nothing except the smallest amount of mucus in his urine. Gave him a one shot med. some pain meds and a stool softener and we brought him home the next morning. The following morning at 3am he pee'd and pooped in the liter box. Next 24 flooded the floor and almost looked paralyzed in his backend while going. After that it was 32 hours since he had pee'd and about 52 hours since he pooped. We were back at the vet. Later that day when a vet tech picked him up he pee'd all over her. So they ran all kinds of blood work, checked his urethra for a blockage and blood work was normal and no blockage.... Dumbfounded. They had to give him 2 inama's before he pooped. They are thinking its a neurological bladder?!? He is stickly an inside cat and has not had any trama.... Is there anything we can do or is there somthing our vet may have not thought of that you can suggest?!? Any help would be greatly appreciated. We are not ready to say goodbye to our Charlie. Thank you.

September 3, 2016

My 3 y/o male cat experienced 2 blockages and we had him undergo the PU surgery.  Unfortunately, he had it done twice as his skin keeps growing and covering the opening.  We had to make the tough decision of saying good-bye as we were told there is probably nothing else that can be done for him.  This is our last weekend with him and my young daughter's heart is broken.  He looks fine today but the doctor told us a day ago that he will be blocked within the next 5 days.  This is one of the hardest pet losses we have experienced as a family.  Do not wish this on anyone.

September 2, 2016

Hi! My cat is a 2 year old female and has never had any health problems. In the last two days, I noticed she was struggling to urinate. She would squat in the litter box for a few moments before giving up, not leaving anything behind. At first I thought she was just being bladder shy, which isn't unusual for her, but then when I was cooking dinner one night she had visited the box about 3 or 4 times trying to pee in the 30 minutes or so it took me to make dinner (her litter box is in the kitchen). Her behavior hasn't changed, she's just as loving as she usually is, and she naps and plays all the same amount. Also, she is pooping perfectly fine.

August 21, 2016

My cat Simon is 2 monts post perineal urethrostomy. Everything went well with the surgery but after there were complications with him witholding bowel movements due to discomfort (he was given an enema as a solution). I'm hypervigilant about his bathroom habits now and he is on royal canning urinary wet and dry food 2×daily. I was gone for the day today and when I got home I noticed he hadn't had much water and I'm not sure he's used the litter box at all today. He's still eating fine and is still very playful (he's a Siamese mix). He isn't going to the box frequently and straining like he was when this whole ordeal started but I'm a nervous pet parent and I'm concerned that he could be getting stricture of the new opening or another blockage. I'm only on here because its 3:30 in the morning and while I am planning to call the clinic that did his surgery regardless, he has a litterbox routine around 5 am and due to his typical spirits I'm hoping I'm just overreacting. Is it possible to develop stricture of the new urethra site 2 months after surgery?

Christy Corp-Minamiji, DVM
August 22, 2016

Dear Olivia, If you haven't already, please take your cat back to the veterinarian.  It sounds as though she still has something quite serious going on.  15 isn't that old for a cat, and old age isn't really a disease, so it is important for her sake to make sure your veterinarian knows that she hasn't improved so that the next steps can be taken.

August 16, 2016

Hello. Around 4 weeks ago my started to act strange. She stopped sleeping with people and started to stay to herself. Then she started to sit in strange places and breath heavily. I took her to the vet and they did a blood test and said all her organs are fine but she has a bacterial infection. So I gave her medicine and she perked up a little, but then things turned for the worse. She is now incredibly lethargic and stays in one room and can't even move herself 5 feet without breathing really heavy. She stopped eating and drinking and hasn't pooped in a week. She use to pee a lot and now she hardly goes. My cat is also 15 years old. Is she dying? Should I end her suffering and put her down? She has not been acting herself for awhile now and I don't think the vets can do anything for her. She is just old? What do you think? I hate watching her suffer everyday.

Michele Gaspar, DVM, ABVP (Feline Practice)
August 14, 2016

Hi, Diana, Incontinence is uncommon in cats who have had urethral blockages.   I highly recommend that you bring your kitty to a veterinarian ASAP and have him evaluated.

August 14, 2016

My cat, Oxo is 2 yo neutered male. He went to the vet for urinalysis. The vet said it had a infection and blockage. He was treated with a catheter on Wednesday August 10. He came home on Friday the 12.   He is on antibiotics and pain medication. He has been urinating in his litter box. Tonight we noticed him licking his perineal area. I check it thinking it was the suture site where they sew the catheter in bothering him. I noticed drops of urine. It seems he's developed urinary incontinence. Is it normal for cats to develope this when he was fully able to control his bladder until now after a catheter? otherwise he is his playful curious self. I just find it odd that this is occurring now.

Wendy Smith Wilson, DVM
August 13, 2016

Hi Jim, I'm concerned that there may have been a misunderstanding with your discharge instructions.  It's pretty unusual for a sick cat to be sent home with a urinary catheter in place.  (For instance, our local ER is not a 24-hour facility so pets are sent back to their regular veterinarians for daytime hospitalization; the owners have to do the driving since there are no pet ambulances, but they're supposed to take their pets to their regular clinic, not home, until treatment is complete.) I do think you need to contact your regular veterinarian and get your guy back in for care immediately; he needs aggressive medical treatment in addition to checking the catheter, which certainly could be obstructed. Please contact your regular veterinarian for a recheck and additional treatment right away.  Wishing you the best . . .

August 13, 2016

Hello, I have a seven year old neutered male cat who I just brought home last night after having to take to him to the emergency vet after hours. Yesterday, I noticed him very lethargic, staggering a little, licking himself and meowing. He went into his litter box and tried to go, but couldn't. Then he laid down in the litter. This happened to him a couple of years ago, so I knew the signs. I had him into the vet within hours. So, my question is; The vet sent him home with me last night with a catheter and a bag. I've noticed today, that there is no longer any fluid coming out of the catheter into the bag. Should I be concerned of another blockage? The catheter seems to be in okay, and he's wearing a cone on his head, so he can't get at it. I put him in a pet travelling crate for his safety, as he was walking into things, etc. Thank You.

 August 1, 2016

My cat has come down with an illness. he used to be such a playful kitty and loved to get into mischief but now. all he does is hide. i took him to my vet and discribed his symptoms and they did an xray to see if he had a blockage. this was 2 days ago today it came back clear. he is peeing but not eating or drinking without help. so i guess my main question is.... is there a chance that a blockage still may occur? Or is this something different... i dont wnat to leave it to long because i REALLY dont want to lose him, he is like my child and i dont know what i would do without him..

Dr. Tony Johnson
June 20, 2016

Hi Kaoru; I am so glad your cat got help and that the information was useful - that's the whole reason we do this. I bet your cat would thank you if he could! Hope he continues to do well - please post your story in the comments section and share with your pet-loving friends.  This is definitely one condition where even a few hours can make a big difference - in a pet's comfort level, in the final expense and, most importantly, safe a life - great work getting him the help he needed.

June 18, 2016

Thank you so much for sharing this. You saved me and my cat. I was planning to wait till morning but after I read your article, I took him to emergency (it was 2 am and finally got back home 5 am) and got treatment right away! Now he is happy and I got sooooo much relief!! God bless you!!

Teri Ann Oursler, DVM
June 15, 2016

Jessica, No, this is not normal.  He may be partially obstructed.  You really need to call and talk to your vet.

June 15, 2016

Looks like there has been some activity on here recently so I'm going to throw this question out there because even though the logical side of me says this is normal, the worried mom side of me has me sick with anxiety. My sweet cat, Soncat, showed signs of a blockage a few weeks ago at which time I took him the ER immediately.  He was not blocked yet so they treated him with pain meds and the urethra relaxant to prevent blockage. He got better. Fast forward two weeks and he is straining to pee -- OUTSIDE his litter box.  The next day he is straining and is not peeing at all. I took him to the ER and he was admitted.  They gave him a catheter and fluids and they watched him for a full 48 hours. I brought him home last night and he seemed to be in higher spirits.  He didn't eat too much but he lay about bathing and was in and out of the litter box with bloody dribbles of urine (which I was told is normal.) Today, I came home from work to find him licking up a frenzy.  I went about my business and 15 minutes later he was still licking himself.  He finally got up and walked away and I saw he had been laying in a huge pile of urine and it continued to drip out of him as he walked.  He lay down again and went back to cleaning himself. When he lifted his head up I saw that he was still peeing little drops.  He wasn't even trying to make it to the litter box. He wasn't even standing. He was covered in urine. I freaked out and called the ER again but they told me as long as he isn't vomiting and is still urinating, this is ok. BUT IS IT??? IS THIS NORMAL?? I am so worried about my baby and have been for the last 4 days.  The stress of this experience coupled with its cost ($1400 and I couldn't even afford the diagnostics at an additional $500) and fear of losing my best friend is crippling. Can someone tell me please what to expect in the coming days? He has a fountain and I've put him on Royal Canin HP for now. He has food allergies so I'm looking into other alternatives for urinary health. I am terrified. Any words of wisdom or hopefully affirmation that this is normal would be greatly appreciated.

Dr. Tony Johnson
June 8, 2016

Renzo;  A cystotomy is a bladder operation - it would only be used if there is a stone or tumor in the bladder. In general, it's a fairly simple procedure and patients go home within a day or two. Most general practitioners can perform it. You can expect to see some blood in the urine for a few days afterwards, and the risks include infection, bleeding and urine leakage.  Most cats who are blocked, however, don't need a cystotomy, because the obstruction is lower down, not in the bladder but in the urethra. The surgery for this blockage is called a perineal urethrostomy, or PU, and is usually done by a specialist surgeon (although some GP's with an interest in surgery do them). Risks with this surgery include infection, bleeding, incontinence and excess scar tissue formation (stricture). Most cats that have a PU surgery do well, but since they have a lifelong increased risk of urinary infection, it's not a procedure to be done unless placing a catheter has failed repeatedly.  Any surgery and any anesthesia carries some risk. Anesthesia is much safer now than it was in years past, but death under anesthesia is still a risk. Only you and your vet can determine if this is a risk worth taking.  Good luck and I hope your cat feels better soon.

June 4, 2016

My cat was blocked at the beginning of May, and the vet put a catheter for him for a week, but now he still cannot urinate normally and the vet suggested a bladder operation. As far as I know, I think it's a cystotomy. Is this kind of operation life risking? My vet told me the procedure is about 45 minutes. He seems not too sure about the success rate of this operation. Should I agree to let my cat go for this operation?

May 31, 2016

I wanted to post an update on my cat Morrissey because I posted here about a month ago. The vet started him on cartrophen injections that he got 3 times a week for the first two weeks, now we are continuing with them once a month. They are actually for arthritis but apparently there is something in them to help the bladder wall. It seems to be working so far. I just wanted to let you all know in case any of you have a cat that has dealt with this and you aren't sure if the treatment is everything you can possibly do - ask your vet about these cartrophen injections (I think that's what it's called).

James Kaplan
May 23, 2016

I so agree . My little guy Dexter 5 year old male 20 pounds ate hard food only (best kind) . within 12 hours he started to meow in a way that i never heard. he would go to the litter box 25 times . the most important thing i can tell all you cat loves is please DO NOT WAIT!!!!!. i went to my vet in 30 minutes i was in a hospital in a triage unit . i can't imagine the pain my guy was in . Ive changed to a wet urinary track food (pro plan) . next week he goes back to see is crystals are reforming .Please do not wait one day!!!!. my little guy's electrolytes and kidneys were off charts . listen to the meows and also the visits to the litter box when nothing comes out...

Karen Reincke
May 21, 2016

My cat had this last year and almost died. He recovered though and has been on special food for urinary tract. However, just a couple of days ago he began vomiting and gagging--like he had a hairball that wouldn't come up. He was going to the bathroom in his box (I check it regularly, due to what happened in the past) and was eating and drinking. He did sleep a lot in the loaf position. The next day, no vomiting but gagging and sneezing. Still going in box but less and eating and drinking less. I had no money to bring him to the vet but there was a clinic the next day. Next day (today), he is eating but not drinking or going to the box at all. He's not yowling, no peeing all over, just not going to the bathroom. Due to this I don't think he's blocked but have no idea. The clinic isn't until tomorrow. I did give him some L-Lysine and some chicken baby food (no additives). PS: No vet in the area will see him without some sort of payment and I can't get CareCredit.

Claire Vosburgh
May 20, 2016

My cat has an infection right now. My fiance is on disability, and we don't have money. I usually give him cranberry powder and belladonna and he gets better but not now. I am trying to borrow money. He just peed on himself! Does that mean it's not blocked yet?!!!

Christy Corp-Minamiji, DVM
May 17, 2016

Dear Richard, I can tell that you love your cat, but I can't see anywhere in your post where he is under veterinary care.  Please take him to a local veterinarian for appropriate care and pain management.

May 16, 2016

My 5 year old rescue (got him last June) has been struggling with this for the last 2 months..and as counter-intuitive as this seems, I was just feeding him dry food for the first 6 months with no problems. I started giving him a healthy tablespoon of friskys wet beef shreds twice a day mixed with his dry. He loves it but about 3 months after adding the wet food he started blocking?..I think he is going to die but recovers 30 hours later.I got CLAVET an antibiotic on-line and treated him for 6 days and then added a teaspoon of Apple cider vinegar with water to his food,he seemed better,for a couple weeks but now it has returned even worse. This latest episode has been 48 hours and now he is vomiting. I am heartbroken and just trying to keep him comfortable with warm towels and he is on my bed...I feel I am on Death watch tonite...

Melinda Crain
May 14, 2016

I'm heartbroken.  I have the sweetest male cat on the planet and suddenly he started going to the litter box every 10 mins or so.  He went in a couple of times last night, so I didn't think much of it but today started going every few minutes.  My vet was going to remain open today for me to bring him, but someone let him out, and now I can't find him anywhere.  I feel so terrible that I can't even find him to help his pain.  I'm praying hard and looking for him to at least give him some comfort.  I feel as if someone has punched me in the gut, and I can only imagine what he's going through.  He's only 6 and I swear out of all the cats I've had through the years, and I've had a lot, this one was a very special and loving boy.  I'm so sorry for anyone who has to go through this.

May 13, 2016

My 8 week old kitten is currently suffering with this problem. The problem is that his urethra is so small that the vet cannot insert anything to remove the blockage not even with the smallest "tom-cat instrument" that exists. He is in the vets care at the moment and she is considering operating but we know the risks of that. My concern is that I am in Mexico and maybe it's possible that the vet here is not up to date with the newest methods of what can be done. He has about 12 hours to live and for us to find a solution of trying to remove the blockage from the urethra. Any vets that could give me a recommendation? I am not giving up on the little baby!

Christy Corp-Minamiji, DVM
May 10, 2016

Dear Bobby, I am so sorry for your loss.  Please don't beat yourself up too badly.  Cats are remarkably adept at hiding signs of illness; they even fool experts frequently.  You absolutely aren't the only ones to miss the signs of urinary tract blockage in a cat, and none of us is at our best when a crisis hits on Saturday night. Our thoughts are with you.

May 9, 2016

I buried my 3-year old male cat last Monday because of this.  Either the blockage happened extremely quickly, or I was just a terrible "daddy" and too ignorant to notice the signs. Friday evening --- two days before his death --- I noticed that he spent an unusually long time in the litter box.  I was hurrying to leave town for the night to check on a sick relative, and I just assumed that my cat was "showing out" by staying in the litter box for so long while I packed my shaving kit and overnight bag.  When I started out the door, I walked past the litter box where he was sitting, patted him on the head and told him I'd see him later.  He looked up at me and purred.  He didn't seem to be in any pain, but had clearly spent at least ten minutes in the litter box. Late Saturday night (about 30 hours after I foolishly left him sitting in the litter box), I returned home to find him still, clammy, and lethargic on the floor beneath a chair.  I honestly thought for a moment that he was dead.  I couldn't imagine what had happened to him.  Poison?  A spider bite?  I knelt down beside him and started petting him.  He yowled once, and then started purring softly.  I scooped him up and put him in my bed, covering him with a sheet to keep him warm, as his paws and nose felt so cold.  I snuggled into the bed with him for the rest of the night, not sleeping much for worrying about him. It was well after midnight, and there's no "ER" in my area, but I knew that I would call the vet's emergency number first thing Sunday morning.  Which of course I did.  The vet told me to bring him to the clinic immediately, where I helped to give him a sedative and a drip to hydrate him.  He didn't even wince when the needle went into him for the drip.  That's how terrible he felt.  Later that day he was catheterized, but it was too late.  He died Sunday night in the vet clinic. It's one of the most devastating events I can ever imagine.  I have a lot of regret for not noticing his symptoms Friday evening before I left him, and a lot of blame for not calling the vet immediately Saturday night when I discovered him lying on the floor.  The six or seven hours between the time I found him Saturday night and my phone call to the vet Sunday morning was a foolish and avoidable delay.  Had I made the call at midnight Saturday instead of waiting until Sunday morning, perhaps he could've been saved. It was an awful experience for me, and most especially for him.  He was just over three years old, was an indoor pet, a big healthy well-fed cat, and had always eaten dry food.  I had no idea that I was setting him up for such an awful death, and I'll always regret it deeply.

May 4, 2016

My boyfriend I just dealt with this with our cat Morrissey. We came home and out of the blue there was a pile of vomit and he was in so much pain. All he wanted to do was sit down and growl. He tried to pee but couldn’t. It was heartbreaking. We brought him to the emergency vet that night, they quoted us $3000, we said we wanted to check with our regular vet the next day, so they unblocked him temporarily and we were on our way. Next morning our regular vet did a bunch of tests, they saw his kidneys were failing.. we ran home, grabbed Morrissey and brought him back to emerge. We checked him in for 3 days, he was catheterized and on meds. We pick him up 3 days later and within 2 hours he was blocked again. We were heartbroken but we weren’t giving up – he is only 11 months old and the sweetest little guy on the planet. We opted to re-catheterize him and did exploratory bladder surgery. The bladder surgery found a whole bunch of “gunk” – mucous, blood clots, just everything. The surgeon removed all of that and he started out with a shiny new bladder. After that he started peeing normally but was still catheterized. After 5 more days in the hospital, they took the catheter out and he  could go home. He was on 4 medications, we had to go back to the vet to give him shots every other day, and we’re still waiting for his stitches to heal. This 2 week ordeal cost us almost $10,000 (Canadian), but he is happier than ever. His energy is back, he is playing and is very curious, just like his old self. He’s on the special urinary SO diet (wet food only), we bought him a water fountain and we now keep our two cats separated (we were scared the other cat may have been stressing him out). Anyway, my heart goes out to any family dealing with this right now, it’s truly heartbreaking.

April 4, 2016

I've just had to put my beautiful male half rag doll/cross to sleep.  He was only 1 years old and we are devastated.  He was an outdoor cat although stayed in with us in the evenings.  I fed him good quality dry food as I didn't have any idea that it could have been bad for him.  He was a confident, relaxed cat.  Looking back he had started to lick his bits but I thought that was just a boy thing he was developing.  He had been peeing round the house a little bit but I thought he was stressed about some cats in the area and had bought some stress diffusers and drops etc. He had started to take himself off to bed in the evening and hid under the beds but he often liked to hide so I thought nothing of it.  I went to work one morning and he was fine, he was fine with my son at 2pm.  After work he hadn't greeted me which was unusual so at bedtime I had a good look round the house and found him lethargic and there was a bit of sick nearby.  I panicked and didn't know what to do, I thought I would put him on my bed and get an appointment at the vets in the morning.  However big mistake and i am wracked with guilt but i didn't know anything about this awful disease.  My poor boy battled for 3 days at the vets but he had kidney failure so they couldn't save him.  I wish the vets had a leaflet about this as unfortunately you only find out all about it afterwards.  I've had two male cats before and they never had any problems and I thought cats were quite hardy.

April 1, 2016

We spoke to the vet over the phone (cheaper than having to go in and pay consultation!).  He said he's still a little concerned over the licking and growling so is prescribing meds to stretch urethra slightly (or relax it...can't remember which).  He is definitely doing much bigger wee's.  Our convos at home are all about how big they are compared to a few weeks ago when he was only doing drops.  Why do you think he continues to growl whilst licking?  Vet didn't ask to see him (a relief because our last bill was over £600... Not that I wouldn't pay it again.  If he is emptying his bladder well, eating (now more wet food than dried), sleeping and playing do we still need to be concerned?  I am syringing water into his mouth 10ml 5 or 6 times a day and I think he's drinking water outside too.  Is this something we will just all have to get used to or will it ease up soon?  ACV I have stopped for last couple of days as he is emptying bladder.

Dr. Tony Johnson
March 31, 2016

While ACV alone is not sufficient to treat this condition, there's no data that it either helps or harms. Don't use it in place of proper veterinary care and realize that it's bitter taste may cause nausea.   We hope that your cat continues to improve, and applaud you working with your veterinarian to help him. If he still is licking and seems uncomfortable, please talk to your veterinarian about proper pain management for him.

March 30, 2016

My male cat had a blocked urethra due to crystals. A catheter, antibiotics and 3 days later was home but was still very unhappy, growling whilst licking genitalia.  I started him with dilute apple cider vinegar in a syringe (1/4 tsp with added water...taste it yourself to ensure not strong).  Although he appears to be doing good size wee's, he continues to lick "down there".  I believe the vinegar as helped.  We are making sure he drinks plenty of water, he is on vet prescribed urinary biscuits but we are currently trying to get him off dried food onto wet food (as it contains around 75% water whereas dried food only 10%).  Key is water, water, water.  A cat water fountain s arriving tomorrow.  He is sleeping, eating, playing so generally very happy and emptying bladder, just have to deal with the licking and growling.  Do try ACV very diluted, I believe it's helped our cat.

March 24, 2016

I had a blocked cat about 15 years ago and after he was hospitalized, new food, he never re-blocked and lived a long life even after he became a kidney cat.  My 8 year old cat has symptoms of blockage, but vet can't get urinalysis because of small bladder.  He has soft tummy, clean x-rays, bloodwork, good vitals, etc.  But my poor Mac is on his second round of antibiotics and pain meds and now the pain meds are not helping him relax or slept all.  He is still visiting the box like mad with some dribbles of urine.  I just don't know what to do? Go to a new vet? Poor fella is traumatized by being shoved into his crate and seeing this vet multiple times with no results. What would you do, incur more costs and  switch vets?

March 5, 2016

I just put my parents' cat down today for this problem. They're out of town and I'm petsitting. Noticed he was straining to pee and kept squatting in the yard every two minutes. I called an emergency vet and was told to bring him in.  Next thing I know, I'm given an estimate for $700 with no guarantee and a sweet can curled in my arms in pain. I called my parents, and they don't have the money to keep their(what was a stray in the yard) cat well from this Blocked Tom. I gave him a lot of love and kisses and handed him over...cried all the way home.  But, I couldn't have him suffer another minute.

March 3, 2016

My cat fen just had his bladder emptied at the vet last Friday after not urinating and being lethargic for a day or so. The urinalysis showed that he had formed crystals and had a uti. His blood work and X-rays showed no other problems. He's been on antibiotics and a medication to relax his urethra for the past 6 days and I've switched him to the prescribed food. He was doing fine up until now. This morning I noticed him going in his box frequently and with no urination. Today I get home from work and there's no new urine in his box, just some dry feces. He's going in his carrier to sleep as well, which is unusual for him. I think this whole episode may have been triggered by the fact that we moved last weekend, but I am very worried that he seems to have gotten worse after having settled a bit.  I am going to call the vet in the morning but I'm very worried! Any advice?

Tracey Perez
February 25, 2016

I also have a cat named Midnight and he is about 5 yrs old and same symptoms with pain urinating plus his poop and of course being I spoil all 4 of my cats I was giving him the treats still not connecting the dots ect. Well almost 1000 dollars to date for answers my vet did full workup and found he had a bacteria called  enterococcus. My vet and I assumed he has had this for probly birth as number 1 his mother was a dirty street cat with awful hygeine and she fed Midnight as infant yet Junior and Punky also from same mother after Midnight she did not and I guess my friend bottle fed them and they put the mother down. The father Buddy is also with me and there were no history regarding uti ect. I took over a house and 4 cats after I moved in with my friend Pat whom I took care of till the end havin stage 4 Cancer and promised that I would never walk away lol and now over 2 yrs and I never had cats just dogs so walked in blind and love them like my children. I have a mobile vet kind of pricey but worth it as they are 20 pounds easy each and never saw a vet so its been a road to pay for all 4 to eat and litter boxes let alone my Midnight getting sick. She has put him on Clavamox  for 4 weeks which ends on March 1st . will repeat blood work with culture estimated visit just for that will be 460.00 to see if the infection is gone. He is peeing never stopped but it was like 10% output 5 weeks ago and what she noticed 1st for her in 15 yrs is my cat made side tracks around his [penis as his lil peepee was so inflamed. Now he is deffinately pain free but he drips pee everywhere and so much pee in his box. Is that normal? also he lost significant weight he was easy 22 pounds looks exactly like all black panther with piercing greeneyes. I actually think he looks worse so thinned out and I have been feeding him double and that scares me. any comments or thoughts? I'm literally sick over this I made these antisocial wild cats into friendly and loving,truly happy cats I feel also spoiled rotten to boot but Midnight was my challenge as the others feared him and now he is a mammas boy true blue lol.

January 25, 2016

My cat Midnight was diagnosed with blocked/inflamed bladder, two weeks ago. I had noticed him trying to pee in my clothes laying on the floor one day. Then the next morning he was trying to pee in boxes that I had for them to play in. He only peed a couple drops with blood. I took him to the vet and got medication, put him inside a big cage with his own litterbox. Then I also noticed he was struggling to poop. Figured it could be from the meds. He finally started to pee his normal way and it has taken him a while to poop almost normally. Now this past weekend, during our blizzard of course, he started again with the peeing little drops with blood. I'm afraid I'm going to have to make the decision to put him down, he's only 6. He's a great cat and hate to do it but I don't want him suffering.

Christy Corp-Minamiji, DVM
January 22, 2016

Hi Pammy, If Leonatus hasn't been urinating, especially given his history of urinary tract obstruction, I'm afraid you really do need to get him to your veterinarian.  Please remember that cats will hide signs of illness until they are quite sick, so normal-appearing activity and appetite aren't necessarily indicators that all is well.  You were worried enough to start researching this, so please trust your gut and get him checked out. Best to both you and Leonatus!

January 22, 2016

I have been researching today because my male cat Leonatus has not been urinating out of the blue. A year ago in March he was blocked so bad he almost died and I had an extreme vet bill of $2,000 which I just finished paying off on my care credit card but I always check the litter box now and he has been eating the special urinary tract health food which is pricey but its kept him safe until now. I am not sure what to do because he is acting like his normal playful self. He is eating normal and he is not in pain but he has not even tried to urinate there is just no pee in the box what so ever. I would like to prevent him getting sick again so if anyone has any suggestions please advise me. thanks!

Christy Corp-Minamiji, DVM
January 19, 2016

Hi Rayne, I'm so sorry you're going through this with your kitty.  If you have any questions about his health, I definitely recommend calling your veterinarian and scheduling a recheck.

January 19, 2016

My cat Baby Shambles is usually great with the litterbox and has no trouble. When my mom discovered he was constantly visiting the litterbox with no urine output and trying to pee on her nightgown laying on the floor, she immediately took him to the vet. They inserted a catheter and put him on pain medication and an IV and he stayed overnight. When the vet went to release him, she said he peed a steady stream and it went EVERYWHERE! Meaning he emptied his bladder fully and there didn't seem to be any blockage. He got home about 3 hours ago and seems to be visiting the litterbox every 5-10 minutes and only letting out one or 2 drops. Should we take him back to the vet or wait it out? We are very very concerned and terrified that he could die from this. He just recently turned a year old. Someone please help ASAP!!

Christy Corp-Minamiji, DVM
January 4, 2016

Hi Erin, I chatted with the other veterinarians who write for VetzInsight, and we agree that it would be a good idea for your friend to have Biggie rechecked by their veterinarian.  It's too difficult to say what could be going on without seeing him, and medical conditions can definitely change over time.

January 1, 2016

My friend's cat Biggie had a major obstruction and was catheterized at the vet to release the urine and also 'grit' was released. It's 24 hours later and Biggie is home and he is urinating, just not in the litter box, on the bed or wherever he's lying down. Could this be caused by the muscle relaxants my friend was told to give him every 12 hours, (along with a painkiller every 8 hours) OR is this a sign that something is really really wrong?

December 12, 2015

@Melissa not everyone has credit and insurance like you have and it can be expensive. I'm having a similar problem as Keith but I'm lucky to have a credit card to put it on. I thought my cat was having issue because of the food she was eating and tried to change her diet. I think Keith feels pretty bad already as he's stated. I'm not saying he went about things the right way, but I also don't think kicking him while he's down is the way either. He obviously cared enough to put himself out there for criticism to share his story and warn others.

December 1, 2015

I found the information below very helpful. I was sickened at the comments Keith left about his animal that he let die of a slow and painful death because of lack of money. A lack of compassion also seems the case. My heart breaks that the animal had to die alone, in pain, and probably scared. just spent almost $2000 on the same issue for my beloved pet. Thanks to credit and insurance I'd gladly pay double the amount as long as an animal never endures pain. I hope Keith, never adopts an animal again. They are a huge responsibility and if you're not up to the challenge don't do it. No pet should have to live in pain because of a careless, fair weather owner. Karma. That is all.

November 20, 2015

Hello, Thank-you for the article. My Male Savannah cat showed signs of a blockage last Friday night. We rushed him to the vet and they installed a catheter and we expected that in a few days it would b removed and he would come home. The next day at the vet he got it out and blocked again so the vet put it back in and after a few days he still had blood in his urine so they left in in another day and then they removed it. That was yesterday. I called in this morning to check on him and he blocked again last night so they have catheterized him now for the 3rd time. They are stumped and  they do not know where to go from here. It is obvious that he cannot live like this and I am beside myself, he is a super sweet loving boy and he is not even 2 yrs old. DO you have any idea of why we cannot seem to get him unplugged? Any tests or any meds he can be given to dissolve a blockage? My heart is breaking because I fear the worst.

November 8, 2015

My cat is suffering from fatty liver disease and we have been forcefeeding him for 2 weeks now.. the last several days he seems to be holding his pee and when it gets to be too much he voids where ever he is at... anywhere from lots to just drops... I am lost as what to do for my cat.. he is 3 yrs old and the vet bill is already rather large

Christy Corp-Minamiji, DVM
October 27, 2015

Hi Amanda, I'm so sorry for what you're going through.  What a way to start a new marriage!  Unfortunately, your kitty really does need to go back to the veterinarian if you haven't taken him already.  A cat that isn't eating is a sick kitty.

October 24, 2015

I don't know if anyone reads these comments still... but. I don't know what to do!  I have 2 cats. My husband and I just got married and went in a honeymoon.  We brought the cats to my parent's house to be watched. My one kitty, Olive, was fine. She loves being there. The other was TRAUMATIZED. I now know taking them out of our home was a massive mistake.  Anyway. Kitty #2, Fatty, was not seen once the whole week we were gone. We took him to the vet and learned he was blocked. After 3 days in the hospital (catheter, IV fluids and pain meds) he unblocked and we took him home. He seems to be in better spirits, but he is hardly eating anything (if anything) at all. I know he is hungry bc he whines for food but he won't touch anything. He licks the gravy. Before the block we fed him dry indoor cat food. He loves his occasional can of wet food.  He actually was a huge pig and would eat all of his food (dry or wet), the other cat's leftovers,and and manage to trick my husband and I into feed him twice (not knowing the other had fed him bc he would act like he was starved). How do I get him to eat!? I love my cat and couldn't bare to lose him! I'm hoping he is eating more than we think but I think it's wishful thinking. What do we do?! We spent pretty much all of our wedding money on his first stay at the clinic (goodbye house down payment...) and I want to try to fix hid eating habits myself... but of course we will take him to the vet if necessary. Help!

September 30, 2015

Our 17-year old cat Chester had his teeth cleaned yesterday. He had an IV because he has beginning stages of kidney disease, which is being managed. Here's the thing; since getting him home yesterday afternoon at 4:30 he hasn't peed. That was just about 18 hours ago. We did bring him in this morning for them to check his bladder, but it was still ok (soft), but if he doesn't go by 4 we'll need to bring him in again. Here's my question: since this is obviously related to the dental procedure (there were no urinary issues before), what could possibly be causing this?

September 29, 2015

Hi, I just brought my cat home yesterday after a traumatic experience. Doc said if I didn't bring him in he would have died within hours... That being said, he is great now, eating well, went in the litter box last night, and in good spirits. Was wondering what is next? We are feeding him Hills CL wet food for urinary care. Is there anything else we can do to help aid his recovery? We want to prevent another episode if possible!! Bill was outrageous but as long as the little guys is okay, we are willing to spend it. He also likes to go outside. What do you think about this? should we not allow him to go out anymore? Thank you!!!

July 17, 2015

I just brought my cat home because of this. They got him unblocked, but he has stones in his bladder. We are trying the diet change s/d cat food first because, well, I can't afford the surgery, I could barely afford this vet bill. But my question is, how do I get him to eat. He has been home 24 hrs now, he is peeing in his box (being kept in the bathroom for a few days per orders), but he has yet to touch his food.

Christy Corp-Minamiji, DVM
July 15, 2015

Dear Nancy, I'm sorry your cat isn't feeling well.  I know how scary and stressful it is to have a sick pet.  As Dr. Tony mentioned in his article, urinary issues in cats can be complex, and I'm sure your veterinarian is making the absolute best recommendations based on the results of Banjo's examination and urinalysis.  However, as all veterinarians know, circumstances do change, so if you're still concerned or if he seems worse, by all means I'd recommend contacting your veterinarian again. The internet (even VetzInsight) can be full of scary stories, but bear in mind that your veterinarian went through an awful lot of school and training to learn to interpret your cat's signs.  (I've had to train myself to stay away from Dr. Google when it comes to my health or that of my children, so I definitely get the impulse to look up every post!!) Best wishes for Banjo's speedy recovery!

July 15, 2015

My cat of 5 yrs has had problems with crystals before. He stopped peeing for just over a day. Took him to vet yesterday. They took urine sample & he peed & pooped in carrier right after. Brought him home. Hasn't peed since yesterday evening. Vet said keep him on the wet SO food. He barely will eat it but drinks all the fluid. Vet said urinalysis showed a few crystals but otherwise is fine. She said give him one more day & if he's still not peeing bring him back for blood work. She said she's not concerned about him not peeing & doesn't think it is blocked, she thinks it could be something else since he's not wanting to eat much.  Should I be concerned & find another vet that is more concerned? Any opinions on this? From what I've read on the posts sounds like my cat, Banjo could indeed have a blockage.

Bertie's Mum
July 4, 2015

My cat was a stray that turned up on the doorstep.  Initially I fed him on a raw meat/natural diet, but he developed a very bad blockage.  I was reluctant to go the vet food route, but after the second blockage, I did.  On the Hills diet (CD with the SD every few months), Bertie has been well now for over 2 years.  He drinks plenty.  I tried him on the wet version of the Hills CD, but he acted like it was poison and wouldn't touch it.  He likes the dried stuff.  Much as I would like him to be on a more varied, natural diet, I am not keen to change as he is very healthy and happy on the Hills diet, and it does seem to be keeping the blockages at bay.  I'm thinking Bertie just has a crappy sort of metabolism, and if he had stayed a stray, he would likely have died a horrible death...  I would caution against being too critical of a dry diet for these cats - a meat-based, raw, natural diet has not worked for him.  It's too horrible seeing him in pain to risk changing what is working.

June 16, 2015

I buried my 4 year old male cat yesterday. He died a horrible death from this disease.  A month ago he repeatedly tried to use the litter box, with no success.  I thought he was just constipated.  He got better.  Then last Friday I came home from work and he was crying.  I didn't know what to think. He wasn't eating or drinking, or using the litter box.  I just watched him.  Did not call the vet because I figured this would pass.  On Subday morning he was lethargic.  I called the ER vet and they said it would be 1500.00 to cure him if it wasn't too late, and there were no guarantees.  I chose to have him put down, but could not find a vet open in my area.  Monday morning he was still hanging in there, but by the time I got home from work he was gone.  He was bleeding out.  I had to bury him, and it was the hardest thing I have ever done.  I am guilt ridden over not being able to fix it.  But at least he isn't suffering any more.  Poor baby.  So please, if you are reading this, with the first signs of changes take your baby to the vet.  Before it's too late.  By the way my cat was a 21 pound make that lived inside and only ate dry food.  Classic high risk of this condition. Who knew.

May 29, 2015

Hi Erica; We try not to delve into individual medical advice on VetzInsight and stay mostly with general information on topics of interest to pet owners, just due to the volume of traffic and the limitations of the online world. You're not ringing any alarm bells, but if he shows any sign of discomfort or pain, or starts acting in an unusual fashion, best to have someone check him out. There's really no way to tell without feeling his bladder. I wish you luck.

May 28, 2015

I have a 4 year old male cat who has always had pee issues. He is very finicky about what type of litter he uses and a couple of years ago I found one he uses fine. He also has a big problem with liking to pee outside of the litter box. Trust me, countless vet visits and endless research have ruled out UTIs. All vets have agreed its behavioral. On top of that, he's been on the Royal Canin urinary SO food for the last two years (he had problems with crystals). That being said, he has not been using the litter box the past few days. I found a rug that seems like he may have peed on, but not so much that would allow for a few days worth of pee. So why am I not running him to the emergency room right now? He is absolutely fine otherwise. Eating normally, playing and his bladder doesn't seem swollen. He is a very talkative cat so unfortunately the crying/howling is something I can't mark as unusual. Also, the sounds he's making sound like his normal, talkative self. Not painful. I'm fine to take him to the vet if I have to, but I'm perplexed as to why he seems absolutely fine even after a few days. I've called my vet, they say it's nothing to take him to the emergency room over tonight but to bring him in when I can. I'm just hoping I can get a second opinion through here and perhaps someone has encountered a similar situation. Thank you so much!

Christy Corp-Minamiji, DVM 
April 14, 2015

Hi Lotti, Your new kitty sounds great!  I'd recommend taking her in to your regular veterinarian (or getting established with a vet if you don't already have one) for a wellness examination.  Since she's new to your family and house, it would be a good idea to make sure she's adjusting well and doesn't have any health issues or special medical needs to keep her healthy.

April 10, 2015

Hi- thanks for your article. I got a cat about two days ago. She is two years old, lively, curious, and very affectionate. As I wrote this, I saw her use her litter box for the first time. I was worried at first because I could never see or smell any indication that she had used it, which really worried me because for now she is being kept in one "safe room" and I couldn't find any evidence of her peeing or pooping anywhere in the room. Her droppings from a few minutes ago are big and slight green and gooey at the end. I've just started her on a diet of wet food while I think she was raised on dry food. She doesn't seem sick in any way and the pooping didn't seem to cause her much pain, but I'd still like to be sure she's alright. Any advice is welcome.

Dr. Tony Johnson 
March 31, 2015

Hi Amanda; It's a matter of degree and how far you think is right. Even for the very difficult ones, you still have options like a PU or antepubic cystostomy, they just have drawbacks and limitations, expense and aren't widely available. You also have to make sure you're not missing a stone or tumor in the urethra. Sounds like you are doing all you can, but in some cases it either isn't enough, or what is needed to 'fix' it is beyond either financial limits, or beyond what owners feel is the right thing to do  for themselves or for the cat. Good luck and I hope it resolves well.

March 30, 2015

I am currently going through this with one of my cats. This is the second time he has blocked and the first cat I have ever seen where passing a catheter was impossible. ( I am a vet tech) we tried for a while and stopped due to the fact we were worried we were doing more harm than good. We emptied his bladder and are going to attempt surgery to relieve the obstruction from the other side but I am worried. I have 100% trust in my vet but I also know he doesn't want to tell me worst case scenario. Is there a chance that this problem is unfixable? I am fully prepared for every bit of supportive care required. I recently got him a water fountain, I have changed him to a urinary supportive diet, I have done everything in my power to make his home life as stress free as possible And he is the easiest cat in the world to pill so medication is no worry but is there a possibility he is just un-un-blockable?

March 13, 2015

I brought in a urine sample in that day I took him into the vet and he had crystals in his urine.

Dr. Tony Johnson 
March 13, 2015

Hi Tommi; Has your vet ruled out bladder stones and tumors? Usually an X-ray and perhaps ultrasound will be needed for cats who are still having trouble urinating. In cases of idiopathic cystitis (the main focus of the article) the signs usually go away within a few days, unless they have a urethral obstruction. If the signs don't go away, time for a recheck and some more tests. Good luck, Dr. Tony

March 13, 2015

I took my cat to the vet about a week and a half ago with this problem and he gave him two shots to help him feel better and I bought some Science Diet C/D food for him well he's seems to be still having trouble going potty. sometimes I hear a consent sound of him going potty and sometimes he has trouble. I'm so confused. What else could be wrong????

Dr. Tony Johnson 
March 9, 2015

Prazosin is usually only used for a few days, and it's not a magic bullet by any means. It may take the risk of reblocking from 45% to 40% for example, so don't stress about missing a few doses. Getting it compounded at a special pharmacy into a more appealing flavor like fish or beef may make it easier to give, and they can usually make it into a liquid form.  The most important factor to prevent reblocking is to switch to a completely canned food diet and not feed any dry kibble. Good luck and hope that is helpful information.

March 8, 2015

My guy has this issue along with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. He WILL NOT take his med for the UO. He is not motivated by food treats etc. without putting stress on his heart. We are very worried that he will re block without his prazosin. Any suggestions??

Bonnie Lambert 
March 2, 2015

Thank you for saying it is a life long trick to deal with and it is okay to give them relief by putting them to sleep. We just had to do this with a very wonderful stray cat who came to us ill but so loving. I tried all I knew but here is what happened for others to view. He was less than a year old. He drank a lot of water ,about 2 cups a day, and than suddenly stopped drinking and started straining and stopped peeing. In less than 48 hours he was in trouble and the vet recommended we put him down. I was kicking myself thinking I did not do enough with different diets . He also had hair loss on the base of his tail which did get better with antibotics but that did not help the UT problem. He was such a sweet and intelligent cat and I miss him terribly. Thanks for this site because I now know I did the best thing for him.

Dr. Tony Johnson 
February 25, 2015

The natural course of this disease is to go away after a few days, so the signs resolving after a course of antibiotics doesn't mean that infection was there. This can be confusing to a lot of people since it may definitely seem as though the antibiotics resolved the problem.  However, it's equally likely that the signs cleared up temporarily on their own. It is also common for the signs to recur months or years later spontaneously.  The vast majority of these cases have no infection, but people do often request antibiotics because of the association of their being used with the resolution of the signs. It's very seductive to think that antibiotics will cure this condition, but they won't in most cases.  Please do consider that your cat has a recurrent problem that is painful, life-threatening, and highly unlikely to be "cured" by a simple course of antibiotics.  Diagnostic testing and recommendations for management changes really are necessary to help your cat have a decent quality of life.

February 24, 2015

I've had this happen with my male cat who is 13 years old. He hadn't peed in a few days. I took him to the Vet on the fourth day, thinking he may have peed somewhere in the apartment, but after going on hands and knees I found nothing, and took him in. As soon as I carried him into the Vet, he peed. A lot. In his carrier. So much so that the Vet assistant was kind enough to clean out his carrier for me. The Vet did urine tests from that pee he had in his carrier, and found he had a high PH in his urine, which meant he had a UTI. The Vet said nothing else was found or seemed abnormal. He said he "may" have had a crystal and it dislodged while I was carrying him in and he finally went. I think he peed out of fear because he hates car rides and carriers. None the less, I gave him antibiotics the Vet prescribed and the whole ordeal was over. Six months later, my cat is having the same issue. I called the Vet who refused to give me the antibiotic for fear this time he may not go at all, wants me to bring him in again. This time, I think I will just go to another Vet. Most Vets from my experience instill fear in every owner always telling them your pet will die if you don't do this NOW NOW NOW. I understand NOT peeing is a HUGE deal, but my cat survived. This time, I think I will just put him in his carrier and see if he will pee again thinking he has to go to the Vet. I will take him to a new Vet just for the antibiotics, but charging outrageous amounts of money for testing this and that is ridiculous.

December 9, 2014

Thank you Dr. Tony and all who have are a Godsend.  My beloved Wrigley, age 6 was hospitalized 48 hours ago.  He is miserable.  The vet removed the cath last night to see if he  could urinate on his own -- he did not. They will re-cath him and want to keep him him like that for a couple more days.  My heart is breaking. I had wanted to bring him home, but upon reading this article, I know I must be patient and let the vet and his kind staff do what has to be done. However, I'm really confused about how long this should go on before I contact the specialist in the Houston (Spring, TX) area. Can you give me any guidance? I don't want to lose him, but I don't want him to suffer for a long time. Dr. Tony, your article has made a difference in my life - I am forever grateful. Prayers are welcome.

December 2, 2014

We're in the middle of dealing with this issue in one of our cats.  He is 21 months old and needed to go to the emergency vet after being unable to urinate.  X-ray and ultrasound shows no stones or crystals.  The poor guy is on his fourth catheterization right now for an episode that started last Weds, the day before Thanksgiving.  Now it's early the following Wednesday.  The first one they reported "urethral grit" was potentially part of the issue, but on the second and third catheterizations it was reported they went in quite easily.  The cat has been on anti-spazmodics, anti-bacterials, anti-inflammatics, and pain medications and hasn't left the emergency vet care for almost a week now, and the cost is enormous (over $3000 so far).  The third catheter was removed at 8pm last night and they called at 1:30am to say he was unable to urinate (only a few drops) and re-catheterized him (the fourth catheter for this episode).  I'm concerned he didn't have enough time to do it himself, but I wasn't there and didn't observe him so I don't know how much he was trying or straining.  Nobody can explain exactly why this is happening, but after reading about the PU surgery I'm inclined to keep fighting this fight until he can urinate normally on his own.  We have to decide whether to go with the PU surgery or transition him to our vet who is not in the office 24 hours per day, but is willing to keep trying and try some therapies she has used in the past including valium or something similar to really relax him.  We've had an incredibly stressful week.  I'm not even convinced that the PU surgery will solve the problem at this point.  The emergency vet does have a triple board certified surgeon available if we get to the point where we do surgery, but it's still hard to justify making that choice.  The biggest problem here is that we don't know why he cannot urinate, even though all the catheterizations occurred without complications.  On the second one there was even some urine leaking out around the catheter!  We also don't know if it is safe to catheterize this many times and what effect that has on him in terms of being able to do anything when it is pulled.  We'll definitely change diet to wet food and make sure enough water is had and fix whatever we have to fix around the house, but we just have to get him to urinate on his own first.  From everything I've read it is extremely unusual to have a cat that cannot urinate following multiple catheterizations in the same urinary blockage episode.  So looking at the title of your article, I agree, a total nightmare. :<

Michele Gaspar, DVM, DABVP (Feline) 
August 22, 2014

Hi, Johana, Whether to pursue a perineal urethrostomy really depends on several factors :  What was the underlying cause of the obstruction (crystals, mucous plus, etc.) and whether or not the urethra is strictured/narrowed.  A perineal urethrostomy demands excellent surgical technique, as complications can be catastrophic.  So, I would only have this procedure (if necessary) performed by a surgeon with significant experience.  Your location makes finding such a veterinarian challenging. Your best bet might be to travel to Mexico City (the veterinary school at the National Autonomous University, UNAM) or the States.  I recognize that this will not be inexpensive, but if the surgical procedure needs to be done, those are the best options. As far as management in the meantime, I would use a canned diet and add in as much water, low-sodium chicken broth or other broths (no milk) as your cat will tolerate.  Make the diet soupy.  Risk factors for urethral obstructions include obesity, a very concentrated urine, a dry diet and little water consumption.  Our domestic cats are descendants of animals who lived in the deserts of what is now North Africa and Israel, so they are not "designed" to drink much water.  They are designed to get their water from their food.  If crystals are a problem, dilution of the urine with the above mentioned canned foods and extra water can help. Good luck and I hope your kitty does well.

August 22, 2014

Hi, I ran into this article and I am going through this with my cat. He is 3 years old, almost 4, and this is the second time he's having trouble to pee. He has been treated with Antibiotics and antinflammatories but he's having some trouble again. The thing is that in the place I live (Honduras) they don't have the equipment for the PU surgery. Do you have any suggestions. (Euthanise is not an option). And yes blocked cats suck :(

Stephen Hill 
June 27, 2014

I just experienced this with my 3 yr old male cat.  $1500 later, he's home again, but of course now on very more expensive prescription food (Royal Canin SO).  In a way, I think the research I've read on the internet seems to suggest not to even bother adopting a male cat?  I'm retired and truly can't afford a repeat episode.

Dr. Tony Johnson 
April 3, 2014

Mahshtay, Perineal urethrostomy is the surgery, and it is no walk in the park. It is really more of a salvage procedure and alternative to euthanasia, but for some cats it is a lifesaver.  The rule of thumb is 'three strikes and you're out' - meaning 3 obstructions and that's where we start talking surgery, but I have had some folks opt for it after the first one saying 'I don't want to go through that again'. Cats who get a PU are more prone to incidences of urinary tract infection (UTI). I hope you call can find a way through this without surgery, but it is something to consider and talk over (pros and cons) with your veterinarian. Good luck

April 2, 2014

Thanks Dr. Tony Johnson. Well, we were back in the ER again last night with another blockage. This after having him on the special food for two weeks. I thought he was doing better and then the blockage came on again, kind of out of the blue if that makes sense.  The ER vet started talking about surgery to widen the urethra that should prevent future blockages. That seems extreme at this point but the vet pointed out we may get there down the road.  You don't mention surgery in this article.  Any thoughts or resources on that? Thanks again for your response.

Dr. Regina Milano 
March 20, 2014

Yes, soft food diet is a must.  Don't be fooled by hard foods that claim to be "urinary formula".  They can still lead to other similar urinary conditions.

Dr. Tony Johnson 
March 20, 2014

Mahshtay. Sorry your cat was afflicted! I hate this disease, and your wonderment and mystification are shared by many a cat owner. If you are not into Hill'sm every company makes a diet for this condition, and you could also get a nutrition consult (UC Davis offers them) and get a home cooked version. I think Hill's may be the best commercial version, but more importantly than any prescription diet is offering  100% canned food for these cats. It's not easy to do, and some cats won't tolerate it, but it does cut down on the recurrence rate.

March 19, 2014

Thanks for this article. I rushed my cat to the emergency vet at midnight when he couldn't pee and started making the scariest noises.  Luckily, I think I caught the problem early. The vet removed the block with a catheter and flushed his system and put him on Prazosin to relax the urethra. He's been peeing on his own since.  But my cat has never had problems peeing before, always uses the litter box and is very good about drinking water and eating his wet food. I'm mystified about what caused this. They want me to put him on the c/d food but I looked at the ingredients and I'm not impressed.  Has anyone had any luck managing this with other food?  Any suggestions?

Justin Braxton 
March 14, 2014

I really like the way this article is written. It's very useful information but it's also interesting and easy to read. I wish more veterinary medicine articles were more like this.

Kate Johnson 
March 14, 2014

My Sammy has lived with this for about 7 years he's been eating urinary so for all that time I spend about 100 dollars every time I buy food. but still can't afford vet bills.



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