Cat Catheter Removed (Recovery Questions Answered)

cat having problems peeing

Has your cat been straining to pee or has just been catheterized at the vet? As a cat owner myself, I can understand how worrying to see our cats in such a predicament.

A urinary blockage or urethral obstruction are rather common problems in cats due to their lack of thirst and it is something that you need to try and prevent.

In this article, we will be discussing in greater detail about:

  • What to expect after the catheter has been removed from your cat
  • How to care for your cat (the first few days are crucial)
  • And how to prevent urinary blockage in your cat

Causes Of Urinary Blockage In Cats

A urinary blockage happens when the tube that carries your cat’s urine or the urethra gets blocked or clogged.

When this happens, your cat is unable to pass urine which can cause damage to the bladder and kidney very quickly.

More commonly a problem in male cats due to their narrower and longer pee tube, it can happen to female cats too.

Symptoms of a urinary blockage:

  • Difficulty peeing
  • Frequent usage of litter box but with little to no pee
  • Excessive licking of genitals
  • Peeing outside the litter box
  • Lack of appetite
  • Meowing or yowling when peeing

This condition is considered to be life-threatening to cats and requires immediate medical attention.

Here are some known causes:

Urinary And Bladder Stones

Some cats are more prone to getting urinary stones than others. A cat’s diet that is very high in minerals can also be a contributing factor to both urinary and bladder stones.

Urinary stones are formed when urinary crystals start to lump together and can develop anywhere in your cat’s urinary system like its bladder, kidneys, urethra, etc. Whereas bladder stones tend to develop in your cat’s bladder.

Urinary Infection

There are times when your cat’s urinary tract can become infected by bacteria, parasites, fungi or even viruses.

These triggers will usually originate from your cat’s gastrointestinal tract and make their way down to the urinary system.

It is also possible for these foreign bodies to enter via your cat’s urinary opening and infect its urinary tract.

This was what my cat had a few months back. He was fine in the morning and when evening came, his appetite became bad and he was going in and out of the litter box frequently.

It didn’t occur to me that he had a urinary infection until I brought him to the vet. He started peeing blood and that scared the life out of me.

Thankfully it cleared up after 2 weeks with an antibiotic injection.

Stress And Anxiety

We all have that one friend or relative that is rather highly strung.

You know, the one that thinks every car ride is going to end in an accident and the risk of a grand piano falling on your head is high when you are walking on the street.

There are some cats that are naturally this way too. They are more prone to feeling stressed and anxious than your average cat.

Some of us get irritable bowel syndrome when stressed, these cats tend to mess up their own urinary systems when feeling this way.

Lack Of Water

cat drinking water

Personally, I do think that this is one of the biggest causes of urinary blockages in cats. Cats in general are not big water drinkers.

They originated from the desert and are able to survive on little water by concentrating their urine.

Hydration comes from the prey that they catch and eat.

Our cats no longer have to hunt for their food, but many cat owners are feeding their cats dry food which is very bad for the cat’s bodies.

There’s no water in dry food which means that the cat isn’t getting enough liquid in its diet. This puts the cat at a higher risk of getting UTIs and urinary blockage.

If you care for your cat’s well-being, start feeding your cat wet food or a raw meat diet.

What To Expect After Your Cat Has Its Catheter Removed?

When the time comes for the urinary catheter to be removed from your cat, it can be a rather traumatic experience for your cat.

Having a tube pulled out from its pee hole can be painful so the vet might need to sedate your cat before doing so.

It might take your cat some time to recover from the sedation. Most cats will take about 24-48 hours to expel the anesthetic from their system.

Your cat might not be eating much and have unnaturally dilated pupils for the time being.

Once the catheter is removed, you need to keep a very close watch on your cat’s litter box habits.

The next 1-2 days are very crucial as the risk of another urinary blockage is very high.

It’s possible that your cat might also pee on itself a little after the catheter is taken out.

Your cat might still be going in and out of its litter box frequently and peeing only a few drops of urine.

But that is ok even though your cat isn’t peeing much. It means that there isn’t a blockage.

If you have more than one cat at home and they share the same litter box, make sure to give the affected cat its own litter box to make it a lot easier to monitor its pee.

Look out for signs like nausea, straining to urinate and meowing when using the litter box.

This could mean that your cat’s urinary blockage hasn’t improved and you need to take your cat back to the vet asap.

How Long Does It Take A Cat To Heal After Urine Blockage?

cat wearing collar

I’m not going to sugarcoat it for you but the road to recovery for cats with a urinal blockage can be long and challenging.

My friend’s cat took close to 2 months to reach a point when it was peeing somewhat normally again.

Before that, the poor cat would be so exhausted from using the litter box that at times, it would just flop on its side while its pee leaked out and soaked its fur.

Simply heartbreaking.

It takes time for the urinal crystals and stones to fully disappear so don’t expect a quick turnaround unless it is caused by a bacterial infection that can be cured by a course of antibiotics.

The best form of treatment for your cat is to make sure that you continue with the medication and try to keep its stress levels as low as possible.

There is progress if your cat starts to pee more and uses the litter box less.

Is It Normal For A Cat To Strain After Using A Catheter?

Remember that catheterization does make your cat very sore for quite a while even after it has been removed.

Urination can be painful or uncomfortable until the irritation and inflammation go away. So the vet might prescribe some pain medication for your cat to take as well.

You can expect your cat to not be able to pee normally for some time after the catheter is removed.

Truth be told, I doubt any human would be able to as well if you just had a tube removed from your pee hole.

Catheterization Process

If there is a chance that your cat needs to be catheterized, here is a brief overview of the process.

As necessary as this procedure is to save lives, it isn’t something that is pleasant to go through.

Cats that are brought in to the vet for a urinary blockage will have to go through a series of tests to ascertain the severity of the blockage.

The vet will apply some gentle pressure to the cat’s bladder to check how full it is. A urine culture and blood test will also be carried out to get to the root cause.

For cats that are unable to pee naturally, a tube will be inserted into their urethra to drain out their bladder and to also flush out any debris that might be causing the blockage.

The catheter is sewn to the cat to prevent the cat from pulling it out.

This whole process is usually done under general anesthesia as it is a painful procedure for the cat.


By making sure that your cat is on a good diet and has access to clean water on a daily basis are great ways to maintain a healthy urinary tract in your cat.

It might not be a foolproof way of stopping a urinary blockage from happening but it sure does reduce the risk of it.

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