A Quick PSA About Cat Urination

I didn’t plan to write about this, but it occurred to me today that my cat is still alive today because a friend had once told me something about her cat. I figured if this could save someone else’s cat too, it’s worth writing about.

On Wednesday, Walter hopped out of his litter box, made an odd sound, and immediately started to groom his crotch. Walter frequently grooms himself–including that area–but something seemed a little odd about his behavior, as he seemed perturbed. I thought maybe he had some poo residue stuck to his fur, so I took a quick look and was surprised to see something I’d never seen before: a little cat penis, out in the open.

It was weird, but I didn’t think much of it until a few hours later when Walter used the litter box again. This time when he got out, something was definitely wrong. There was no pee in the litter box, and Walter was moaning and hissing (he never hisses). He stumbled over to the bed and again began to groom his crotch. I tried to calm him down by petting his head, but he continued to whine. He was clearly in pain.

That’s when I recalled that a friend’s male cat had issues urinating a few years ago. When my friend took him to the vet, they discovered crystals in his bladder that were blocking him, and they did such damage to his internal organs that some of them had to be removed (fortunately the cat is okay now).

So I decided not to take any chances, and I took Walter to animal urgent care. Sure enough, they found that his bladder was blocked and that there were tons of little crystals in his urine. Fortunately, the vet was able to assist Walter in relieving himself without resorting to surgery.

He did, however, need to spend the night at the vet. They put in a catheter and an IV, and they managed to fully flush out his system. He was discharged to me the next night with good news about his internal organs (no permanent damage), some medicine that he’s very good at not swallowing, and a special diet for the rest of his life. Oh, and he has some cute (and sad) shaved ankles:

I’m lucky that I caught this in time, and I wish I had caught it earlier in the morning before it got really painful for Walter. Hopefully this will never happen to your cat, but in case it does, now you know some signs to look out for.

Do you have any stories about your pets that might help to save another pet’s life? Feel free to share in the comments!

13 Responses to “A Quick PSA About Cat Urination”

  1. Katy says:

    It’s great to hear that Walter is feeling better and I’m glad you were able to catch it in time to get him treatment without needing surgery!

    One other warning sign (which is the main one I noticed when Hodor went through his ordeal a few years ago) was that after attempting to take a drink of water, he immediately vomited it back up. Looking back, I wish I had known the severity of his condition and that I had taken him to the cat urgent care the night he started showing signs instead of waiting until the next morning, since the surgery and losing some of his anatomy may have been preventable with quicker treatment of the crystals.

  2. Helen says:

    Oh, poor Walter! I’m glad the vet managed to fix him up.
    Ski has had UTIs and bladder stones before and she’s also on a special diet forever now.

  3. […] Walter’s health scare 2 weeks ago (his first ever–he’s a very healthy cat), I decided to celebrate his birthday by taking […]

  4. Noel Dillabough says:

    Very good information I had no idea this could happen. Glad you found out sooner than later too

  5. David Kodeski says:

    Glad to hear Walter’s on the mend. One thing I always remember my vet saying when my cat was nearing the end of her days (after twenty years!) – was that cats are extremely resilient and are very good at masking their pain- it makes it difficult for owners to recognize potentially serious issues. Good on you for recognizing fairly early that he was in distress.

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      David: I’ve definitely found that to be true with my cats! They’re very vocal about being fed, but not about pain.

  6. Sidney says:

    Oh man. Glad you caught it in time! For anyone else reading this, there are home UTI test kits you can order through PetCo or Amazon that assist in indicating a few potential health problems. Nothing beats a vet test! Cats are such funny creatures and they’re so good at hiding when they don’t feel well.

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      Sidney: Thanks for letting me know! I didn’t know about home UTI tests for cats.

    • Miriam Herrmann Szatrowski says:

      Have you ever tried Pretty Litter? I keep seeing ads for it, but I don’t know if it’s any good. As my older cat ages, it’s something I have been thinking more about.

  7. Miriam Herrmann Szatrowski says:

    My 14-year-old, Storm, has had this problem. Luckily, she would pee near the box instead of in it, so I know that if there is pee near a clean litterbox, we need to go to the very. Purina Pro Plan urinary tract health kibble (+some wet food twice a day) solved the problem. No more UTIs; no more crystals. If I could switch her entirely to wet food, I would, but she is a grazer, so she would starve while her little sister got super fat if I did that.

    So glad that your cat is doing better. My advice to people with cats is that cats are EXTREMELY subtle about pain and illness, so if you notice something out of the ordinary with eating, drinking, litterbox, behavior, gait, coat, or anything else, go to the vet.

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      Thanks for sharing, Miriam. I’m glad Storm is in better shape now. Walter’s now on the exact same urinary tract kibble. I haven’t tried Pretty Litter.

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