When you think about your cat urinating, what usually comes to mind is a litter box and cleaning up after your furry friend.
But there is actually much more to urinating than making its aftermath disappear because the details of a cat’s urination pattern can tell you a lot about its health.
So, in order to understand that better, you have to get a good idea about what is normal. How often do cats pee anyway? Here is everything you need to know about cat urination.
How many times do cats pee every day?
The answer to this question is that it all depends on what’s normal for your cat. While some cats use the litterbox only twice a day and are in perfectly good health, others go as many as six times in a single day.
The average number of times that a cat pees is three or four, but it all depends on your cat and its metabolism.
How many times is normal for your cat?
To find out what the normal number of trips to the litterbox is for your cat, you have to observe your kitty for a few days up to a few weeks.
Keep in mind that there are going to be days when your cat will pee one time more or one time less that the established normal. This normal amount of times is an average, which may vary according to certain factors such as:
This is probably the most important factor influencing your cat’s urination pattern. Cats that drink more water (or that get more water through their food) will also urinate more. So make sure that your cat drinks enough water every day (unless she or he is on a diet where drinking water isn’t necessary – such as frozen/thawed raw, fresh raw, wet food only with water added).
As any cat owner knows, cats are not very keen on drinking water. Using a water fountain for your cat could improve its water intake because it keeps the water cold and refreshing. Also, cats are more attracted to water that flows, so a fountain can provoke them to drink more.
Your cat should also get liquids from its food. This is why it is important to alternate dry food meals with wet food.
A cat’s urination pattern is dictated by its metabolism. Kittens have a faster metabolism, which makes them digest food quicker and burn more calories. It also makes them pee more often.
As the cat matures, its metabolism starts to slow down and the digestion process becomes slower with it. Senior cats have a slow metabolism, which also makes them pee less often than when they were young.
Keep in mind that these changes are entirely normal. Also, make sure you analyze your cat’s urination process according to its established normal patterns. So, you might get more information on your cat’s health if you compare its current urination process to the one it had a few months or years back rather than to that of a different cat its age.
If your cat suffers from certain illnesses, acute or chronic, these will influence its urination process. Cats with diabetes will urinate much more and much more frequently than normal, as will cats with kidney disease.
If you notice any changes in the way your cat pees, it’s important to take your cat to a veterinarian as soon as possible because it can prevent an acute issue from becoming chronic.
When your cat is taking certain meds, its urination process may change. For instance, corticosteroids such as dexamethasone, which is used to treat allergies and inflammation, will make your cat urinate much more than usual.
Your doctor should always warn you about the side effects of the medication used on your cat so that you know what to expect.
Stress can cause cats to pee more than usual or, quite the opposite, to not be able to urinate. For instance, if the litter box is placed in an area of your house with high traffic, your cat could be stressed when it urinates.
As a result, it might wait to use the litter box when the area is less crowded, or just avoid it as much as possible, and, ultimately, urinate less. Some cats urinate when they feel scared or when they feel pain.
What does it mean if a cat pees less?
If you notice that your cat is urinating less than usual, then the first thing you should do is begin a surveillance process. There are some modern litterboxes that can actually tell you all about the cat’s activity on an app on your phone.
But if you don’t have that, you can just keep an eye on your cat. Your aim is to find out how much less your cat is urinating.
What does it mean when a cat isn’t urinating at all?
If your cat has not peed at all for one day, then it is time to go to the veterinarian. If you notice that your cat goes to the litter box, but it is not able to pee, then it is a clear sign that it is in distress and most likely has a urinary tract infection or blockage, which can kill them.
Your cat will most likely keep trying to urinate, and if it can’t, then it becomes a medical emergency.
The doctor will have to find out why your cat can’t urinate and help it empty its bladder as soon as possible. When the urinary bladder becomes full, it sends signals to the brain so that the cat knows it has to pee.
If the cat is unable to do that, the bladder becomes fuller and fuller and it starts to press on the organs around it. The entire process is painful for your cat. You will feel its belly become hard when you touch it.
This is a very serious situation and you shouldn’t postpone going to the vet because the bladder could actually burst, thus filling the cat’s belly with urine. If this happens, your cat will need surgery to clear the urine from its belly and to try to save the urinary bladder.
Please note that if the situation comes to this, there are low chances for your cat to survive because it is very prone to infection and sepsis. There is no time to waste if your cat can’t urinate.
What could cause a cat to stop urinating?
The most common cause for your cat suddenly not being able to urinate is a mechanical blockage. This means that it might have a blockage on its urethra. Other causes could include acute kidney failure or internal bleeding.
Whichever the cause, the priority remains to empty the cat’s bladder. Then, the doctor can focus on running tests to find out what the cause is and treat that as well.
What does it mean if a cat urinates fewer times?
If the change is small and it spans out over a short period of time (a couple of days), then you should look into the factors listed above on the list. It is most likely not something serious, but be sure to mention it to your vet the next time you take your cat for a checkup.
To give you an example, let’s say your cat urinates 4 times a day normally. If the cat urinates only 3 times a day for 2-3 days, but then goes back to 4 times and maintains this frequency, then you have nothing to worry about.
On the other hand, if the pattern of 3 persists for a week, then you should take your cat to the vet, just to be on the safe side. If the pattern persists for two weeks or even longer, then it is that more important that your doctor runs some tests to see if your cat is in good health.
Moreover, if the pattern of 3 shifts to 2 times a day from the regular 4, then your cat might be in distress. The usual suspect is kidney disease, but there are plenty of other issues that could be causing the changes.
What does it mean if a cat pees more than usual?
To continue on our example, if you notice that your cat is going to the litter box 5 times a day instead of its regular 4, then you should be on the lookout and see how this changes over the course of a few days.
If the 5 times persist for more than one day, then you should probably also look at the litter box. Here’s what you should pay attention to:
The quantity of urine in the litter box (after each time your cat goes)
Aside from how many times your cat is going to the litter box, you should also take a look at how much it is urinating each time because this could be a big clue.
If the quantity of urine, as well as the frequency of the urination, is increased, then you should take your cat to the vet, especially if this persists for a few days. A sudden increase in urine flow could indicate feline diabetes.
On the other hand, if your cat is going to the litter box more times than usual, but the quantity of urine it produces each time is very little, then it is a clear sign of distress. It is not an emergency like the situation described above when the cat is entirely unable to urinate, but it is very serious nonetheless.
The likely causes are the inflammation or the infection of the urinary tract (commonly referred to as UTI’s), kidney stones, or even kidney sand. The cat should be taken to the veterinarian and examined as soon as possible.
The color of the urine
Normal: The normal color for cat urine is clear, pale yellow. If you notice golden, straw-colored urine in the litter box, then rest assured that everything is in order.
Abnormal: Anything straying from the normal yellow color is a sign that something has changed. Red urine means fresh blood in the urine. This indicates a lesion on the urinary tract.
Dark brown-colored urine could indicate bleeding further up on the urinary tract – the bladder or the kidneys or even kidney failure. Dark yellow or light brown-colored urine could indicate that the urine has been stored in the bladder for a long time. It is also abnormal if the urine is too pale in color. This is a sign of diabetes or kidney failure.
If you notice urine of any abnormal color, you should take your cat to the doctor. It is very helpful for your veterinarian if you take a picture of the urine or even collect a sample. Seeing the actual sample will make the diagnostic process much easier.
The smell of the urine
Normal: Cats have a pretty specific odor for their urine and this is less intense in adult spayed cats.
Abnormal: Identifying a change in the smell of your cat’s urine could be quite difficult because most cat owners develop odor fatigue from all the times they clean up their cats’ litter boxes.
But if you notice that your cat’s urine suddenly has a much more intense smell, then you should take your cat for a checkup. Most bad odors are associated with UTI’s or other types of infections, as well as hormonal problems.
Please note that a strong urine odor is normal for your male cats that are not neutered. If this is the case, then your cat is most likely spraying and there is nothing wrong with him.
The consistency of the urine
Normal: Urine is normally clear, a clear golden yellow liquid without any type of residue.
Abnormal: It is extremely difficult to observe the consistency of a cat’s urine in the litter box because it gets mixed with the sand. On the other hand, if your cat urinates outside of the litter box, then you might get a chance to take a better look. If you notice any residue in your cat’s urine, then you should try to collect a sample.
Blood clots are particularly worrisome and if you find those in your cat’s urine, you should take your cat to the doctor right away. Other types of abnormal residue include sand and crystals, which will make the urine appear opaque, cloudy.
As you can see, your cat’s urination patterns can tell you quite a bit about its health. Observe your cat’s litter box patterns and find out what the normal number of trips is for it.
How often do your cats pee? Tell us all about it in the comment section below.