First aid for a cat that can’t pee

isolated cat

Overview

  • Being unable to pee is a life threatening condition.
  • If your cat is unable to pass urine, this could indicate a blocked bladder.
  • Call your vet for advice ASAP is having trouble peeing.

What to do if your cat can’t pee

Step one: Check your cat

  • Being unable to pee is a life threatening condition.
  • Check for symptoms such as straining, crying, vomiting, a painful belly, blood in their urine and licking a lot around their belly and genitals.
  • If your cat is unable to pass urine, they may be suffering from a blocked bladder which is an emergency that can cause death.
  • If your cat is passing small amounts of urine, they may be suffering from a urine infection or a condition called Feline Idiopathic Cystitis - both which can lead to a blocked bladder if left untreated.

Step two: Check your cat’s urine

  • Check your cat’s litter tray to see if they have passed anything at all.
  • Also check around the house, especially cold/hard floors, the bath, sink behind furniture and on beds - many cats change where they pee if they are in pain.
  • Check for blood in their urine.

Step three: Call your vet

  • Never attempt to treat your cat at home, call your vets ASAP if your cat is unable to pee.
  • Call your vet for advice if your cat has any other urine problems.
Published: March 2020

PetWise Pet Health Hub – brought to you thanks to support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery 

Written by vets and vet nurses. This advice is for UK pets only.

Illustrations by Samantha Elmhurst