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Cat having trouble urinating.

Species: Cat
Breed: calico
Age: 5-8 years
I have a cat, a very lively talkative cat, who is displaying health problems. She spent a lot of time in the litter box the past couple of weeks and on the plastic bags around the apt. leaving small bloody drops. I gave her vitamin E doses and now there is no more blood. She still crouches in the litter box a lot and on the plastic leaving little drops of urine. Once it was smelly, the rest of the time it was just like water. She may have let out stools ok, but I'm not sure because I have three cats up here and another one visiting. I feed them holistically and they usually don't have many problems, but I'm afraid this one has some sort of blockage preventing her from letting out much urine. She is lively and racing around the place as usual, but she may be looking down a bit more. She hasn't been to the vet in a while because it's too expensive. If she has a problem they can fix however, I'm willing to make an appointment. Can you advise me?


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Poor ZoZo. She sounds very uncomfortable.

If ZoZo were a male cat I would be advising that you take him to the vet immediately. This is because the small urethra that male cats have make them very prone to a life threatening urinary tract blockage. A urinary tract blockage is extremely uncommon in female cats though. I have seen it, but only a couple of times in my career.

The most common reason for a female cat to have urinary straining and blood is a condition called interstitial cystitis. This is an unusual situation where there is inflammation in the bladder. It feels just like a urinary tract infection but there is not any bacteria there.

We don't know what causes interstitial cystitis. For some cats they get bouts of it when they are stressed. I have some clients that know that when company comes over at Christmas time the cat will probably have another bout. But, most of the time no cause is found.

We don't know the exact cure for interstitial cystitis. Sometimes it will just go away on its own within a few days. But usually I will prescribe small doses of an oral anti-inflammatory drug called Metacam to use when a cat has flareups.

There are other possibilities though. A urinary tract infection is possible although not as common as interstitial cystitis. Also, bladder stones or crystals are possible.

Really the best option is to have a vet examine ZoZo. They will get a urine sample and find out what the problem is. If it is interstitial cystitis they can get you medication that you can use during flareups.


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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

Customer reply:

I'm happy that it doesn't seem as serious as I thought it might have been, but I will follow your advice and set up an appointment for her. Thank you for your input.


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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.