When Your Cat Is Not Peeing (5 Possible Reasons)

cat is not peeing

When it comes to the well-being of my cat, there are a couple of signals that I always look out for. The most important one is my cat’s appetite. If my cat isn’t eating, something is terribly off with him.

Secondly, if my cat isn’t peeing, that signals something isn’t right with his urinary system. This isn’t a good sign either as such issues can be life-threatening at times.

But what could cause your cat to not pee all of a sudden?

When your cat is not peeing, that usually means that it is suffering from a urinary obstruction. The most common cause for this is a urinary tract infection which can happen rather commonly in cats. There are other factors that can also cause your cat to not pee or have trouble urinating.

In this article, we will be covering the most probable reasons that can cause your cat to stop peeing. And most importantly, the dangers of not being able to pee.

Why Are Cats So Prone To Urinary Blockages?

Your cat is very prone to getting a urinary blockage because of its relationship with water. Do you know that your cat is originally a desert-dwelling animal?

And the one thing that is extremely scarce in the desert is water.

You might not realize it but your cat is very comfortable surviving on very little water. Cats do not have a strong thirst as compared to dogs as they get most of their hydration from their food.

Your cat isn’t feasting on dry food or kibbles in the desert under the scorching sun. It survives on eating live prey and hydrating itself with the blood and other bodily fluids of its catch.

It might seem impossible for a cat to take a piss when its water intake is so low. But nature has given your cat the special ability to flush out its toxins via very concentrated urine.

Fast forward to the present day, the reason why many cats suffer from urinary obstruction is that they are not drinking enough water or any water at all.

Even though cats can concentrate their urine with very little water, they still need SOME water in their bodies.

If your cat isn’t urinating enough, it can lead to kidney stones and bacteria build up in its urinary tract.

Unfortunately. male cats are more at risk of dying from a urinary blockage due to the shape and size of their urethras as compared to female cats.

Common Symptoms Of Urinary Obstruction In Cats

cat in litter box

When cats have an issue with their urinary systems, there are certain symptoms and signs that they will exhibit:

  • Going in and out of the litter box frequently
  • Excessive thirst
  • Peeing outside of the litter box
  • Little or no urine while peeing
  • Straining to urinate
  • Blood in the urine
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Hiding more than usual

A loss of appetite or noticing your cat hiding more than usual isn’t usually a sign of urinary obstruction. There should also be signs of your cat having trouble peeing.

Below are the common culprits when your cat isn’t able to pee.

1. Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

The majority of cats will experience a urinary tract infection at least once in their lives regardless of gender. I find that cats tend to get a UTI more often as adults.

A urinary tract infection is caused by a bacterial infection in your cat’s urethra. This tube is the one that carries the pee from the bladder and out of your cat.

The infection can be caused by the bacteria in your cat’s own gut or when your cat comes into contact with contaminated feces which can infect your cat’s urethra.

When your cat’s urethra gets infected, it becomes inflamed and swollen which makes peeing painful.

Don’t be surprised to find your cat peeing in its food bowl due to the negative association with its litter box.

Your cat will also have difficulty urinating as the swollen urethra tube makes it harder for the urine to pass through.

Try forcefully pinching your garden hose and turning on the tap.

That’s how it feels like for your cat.

It is also common for cats to have blood in their urine which can appear like tiny blood spots on the floor or litter tray.

There was once when my cat stopped eating out of the blue and started drinking a lot more water than usual.

He would basically camp by his water bowl and drank large amounts of water.

I knew that wasn’t a good sign and took him to the vet immediately. When he was at the clinic, the doctor knew that he was having UTI when he started to pee out bloody urine.

2. Feline Cystitis

Feline cystitis is a condition whereby the cat’s bladder or urinary tract is affected which in turn makes it difficult for the cat to pee.

Although there are many health conditions that can cause a bladder inflammation in your cat, many cats with feline cystitis get it without a known underlying cause.

This means that your cat can be in good health and yet suffer from feline cystitis.

One rather interesting fact that scientists have discovered about feline cystitis is that it doesn’t stem from the cat’s bladder but more from the central nervous system (CNS).

A cat’s CNS can be largely affected when it is under a lot of stress. A cat that is stressed will start to experience inflammation in its bladder which makes peeing painful.

Your cat won’t be able to rationalize that it is having urinary problems.

All it knows that is when it tries to pee in the litter box, it hurts a great deal. This can cause your feline friend to not want to pee at all resulting in a blocked cat.

3. Crystals And Stones In The Urine

There can be times when your cat can’t pee because it has developed crystals or stones in its urine or urinary tract.

The condition of crystals forming in your cat’s urine is called Crystalluria. These crystals are made up of minerals and other substances that are expelled in the urine.

For most healthy cats, these crystals can dissolve thoroughly in the urine and not cause any issues.

However, for some cats, these crystals tend to fuse together and form bigger crystals which can cause a urinary blockage.

Besides urinary crystals, your cat can also start to form bladder stones called struvite bladder stones. These stones are made up of ammonium, magnesium and phosphate.

Struvite bladder stones can also be caused by certain bacteria in the cat’s urinary tract which causes a change in the pH level of the urine.

The common causes of crystals and stones in cats can be attributed to a lack of water and poor quality food in the cat’s diet.

If you are feeding your cat kibbles or dry food, I do strongly feel that dry cat food will do more harm than good to your cat in the long run.

4. Kidney Problems

Your cat’s kidneys play a very important role in removing and reducing toxin levels in the cat’s body. However, many cats are prone to kidney problems and diseases as they get older.

My cat was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease a couple of years ago and has been on medication ever since.

Kidney problems in cats can also be caused by:

  • Toxicity and poisoning
  • Trauma to the kidney area
  • Low blood pressure

5. Dehydration

cat drinking from flowing water

Even though our cats can go for long periods of time without much water, they still do need a certain level of hydration daily.

For every 5 pounds of body weight, a cat should ideally be drinking about half a cup of water. That means a 10 pound cat should have a cup of water a day.

Your cat can be severely dehydrated if it isn’t drinking enough daily. This can be made worse if the weather is really hot and humid.

If your cat doesn’t have enough water in its body, it can’t pass sufficient urine to get rid of its toxins and flush its urinary tract clear of bacteria.

There are some cats that aren’t fans of drinking from a mundane water bowl. They prefer to drink from running water.

If you have a cat that frequently stares at its water bowl without drinking, try getting a water fountain for your pet.

You might be surprised by the change in your cat’s drinking habits.

How Long Can A Cat Go Without Urinating?

Most cats will at least pee a few times a day. Mine goes about 3-5 times daily, forming a fist size of pee in its litter each time.

You might have a strange cat that only pees once a day but that should be the bare minimum unless your cat has just gone through surgery. Its body might take a few days to return back to normal.

Otherwise, a cat that has not passed urine for more than 24 hours might have trouble urinating.

How Do You Unblock A Cat’s Urine?

There’s some talk about feeding your cat cranberry juice when it is having urinary problems to help it pee better.

But there’s no concrete evidence that cranberry juice can help.

What you should do is get your cat to the vet as soon as possible. Take a urine sample along with you if possible.

The vet will run blood and urine tests on your cat to check its levels. A scan or x-ray might even be needed to diagnose a bladder infection.

Your cat not being able to pee is no small matter. Cats can die within a short period if they can’t urinate properly.

In severe cases, the doctor will have to put your cat under general anesthesia and insert a catheter into the urethra and sew it into your cat’s body.

The catheter will help drain out the pee from the bladder and allow the vet to flush the cat’s baller clear of any debris.