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Dr L Simmon
Dr L Simmon, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 6025
Experience:  Veterinarian MVB MRCVS
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My male cat (who has recently had a urinary tract infection)

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Hi, my male cat (who has recently had a urinary tract infection) was squatting in the litter box for about 30 seconds without producing anything, then he got out, walked around for a few minutes, then went back into the litter box and successfully urinated. Is this normal or could it be a cause for concern?

Hi there, this is Dr Linda.

This is not normal but can occur when the bladder is inflamed, which isn't uncommon during a urinary tract infection / cystitis.

The main thing is that he can pass urine as if he strains and does not produce urine, he may have a blocked bladder which can be quickly life threatening.

Is he currently on any medicine?

Is he eating and drinking well?

Customer: replied 9 days ago.
He isn’t on any medicine and he’s eating and drinking fine. He had antibiotics for the UTI two weeks ago and I’m going to send the vet another urine sample so they can check if he still has it, but they want me to collect the urine within an hour of it being produced, which is obviously quite difficult.

Thank you for this additional information.

What age is he?

Before he was started on antibiotics, did a urine culture confirm he had a bacterial infection?

Customer: replied 9 days ago.
He’s 2 years old and he had a urine test which was positive for bacteria (although they didn’t ask me to bring that one to the vets within an hour of him producing it, they just asked me to keep it in the fridge overnight).

Ok, thank you.

I ask as bacterial infections are very rare in young cats. However, if confirmed, that's fair enough.

It can be that they are caused by an underlying issue, such as bladder stones.

In some cases, the infection does not clear with antibiotics and so I agree that it is vital we re-send the urine for analysis. This is especially true as he is continuing to have signs of bladder disease.

I would let your vet know about this new symptom as they may wish for you to bring the urine sample in sooner.

I would ensure he is being fed a wet diet and being encouraged to drink plenty of water with e.g. a water fountain. He should have access to 2 clean litter trays at all times and we need to try hard to keep his stress levels low and to keep him entertained / stimulated.

As I say, it is vital we continue to check he is passing normal amounts of urine.

Customer: replied 9 days ago.
Alright, thanks! He’s on a wet diet with plenty of water bowls around the house. Do you think it’s necessary for the urine sample to be taken within an hour of him urinating, or should I try and get the vet to accept a sample which has been refrigerated and then brought in the next day?
Customer: replied 9 days ago.
Oh, I should also mention that I did an at-home urine dipstick test a few days ago. It tested negative for blood and glucose but positive for small amounts of protein. It didn’t have a test for bacteria.

When testing for bacteria, your method is fine.

However, if we want to check for urinary crystals, the sooner the sample is examined the better and keeping it in a fridge can produce 'false' crystals. I suspect this is why the vet is so keen to get a fresh sample.

In the ideal world, the vet would collect the sample in their clinic using a needle, to ensure we are not getting any bacterial contamination. It may be worth discussing this with your vet.

Those dip sticks are not very reliable in cats and cannot be relied upon, except for a few of the sections. It is good there was no blood or glucose and we can be confident this is a true result.

The 'leukocyte' section is invalid in cats.

A small amount of protein is normal and expected in concentreatd urine.

Customer: replied 9 days ago.
Alright, thanks! I’ll see if I can get an appointment for them to collect his urine in the clinic. Fortunately, last time he tested negative for crystals even though the sample was refrigerated overnight. If I can’t get them to give me an appointment, should I try to find another vet that will, or should I just wait until I’m able to get a fresh sample and take it to my usual vet?

This is up to you.

Ideally, we would stay with the same vet for continuity of care, as they are familiar with him and his history.

However, if you would like a 2nd opinion and aren't happy with the current care he is receviing, you can certainly see another vet.

Customer: replied 9 days ago.
Ok, thanks! Would you say that this is an urgent issue, or is it unlikely to do any serious harm unless he develops a urinary blockage? I ask because, if my current vet won’t give him an appointment to have urine collected in the clinic, I don’t know how long it will be until I’m able to collect his urine immediately after he produces it (I’m out all day on most days) and it may be a week or more.

What we can say, is that there is some sort of urinary issue. This may be another infection, an inflamed bladder wall or crystals causing a plug.

He is likely in some sort of discomfort and could be at risk for a blockage.

However, if he is happy and eating and continuing to pass normal urine, this is not urgent.

Having said this, the sooner he can be seen the better. This is especially true as he may need some anti-inflammatories to reduce bladder inflammation and the sooner these are started, the more comfortable he will be.

Customer: replied 9 days ago.
Alright, thanks! I’ll try to get an appointment as soon as possible. I know urinary blockages are life-threatening, but if the cat is taken to the hospital immediately after developing symptoms, is there a high survival rate?

Yes, absolutely.

The main risk is from not being able to pass the urine and the bladder rupturing or the kidneys not being able to filter through the urine.

So, when treated promptly, the prognosis is excellent.

Customer: replied 9 days ago.
Ok, thanks! Would you recommend segregating him from my other cat so I can monitor how often he’s urinating? Or is it ok to just check that he’s not showing symptoms like straining, lethargy, licking his genital area etc?
Ideally we wouldn't keep him apart, as this can cause stress.
However, if you don't feel you can confidently assess his urine output, temporarily separating them is best.
Customer: replied 9 days ago.
Ok, thanks! How long would be concerning for him to go without urinating? (Sorry I’m asking so many questions)
That's what I'm here for!
Cats should pass urine multiple times a day. How many, is very dependent on the individual.We want to ensure he is passing good streams of urine at least 2 or 3 times a day and that he isn't straining to pee with nothing, or just drops, coming out.
Customer: replied 9 days ago.
Ok thanks! If he occasionally urinates only once in a day, is this a cause for concern, or is it fine as long as he’s not showing any signs of distress?
This tells us he is holding his urine in, which can predispose to bladder issues.So ensure there isn't a reason for this such as lack of outdoor access, intimidation from another cat, a dirty litter tray, generalised anxiety etc.

I do hope this has helped!

Customer: replied 9 days ago.
this was very helpful, thanks! I’ve called the vet and they said the procedure to get urine straight from the bladder would be invasive and difficult, so I’m going to continue trying to get a sample at home and make an appointment for that procedure if I’m unable to get the sample.
Ok, perfect!
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