There are a number of different reasons that your cat may start urinating more frequently including medical conditions and behavioural reasons. Discussed below are some of the common medical causes to be aware of.
Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
Urinary tract infections are common in cats and occur when a bacteria gets into the usually sterile urinary tract. A UTI can often be identified by frequent urination, pain on urination, urinating outside the litter box and/or blood in the urine. It can also be a sign of other underlying issues like kidney disease.
Feline interstitial cystitis or feline idiopathic cystitis or FIC is inflammation in the bladder. The direct cause is unknown however stress seems to be a likely factor as well as abnormal bladder lining or neurological inflammation. Other signs of cystitis include blood tinged urine, passing only small amounts of urine at a time, pain when urinating, irritability, lying on cold surfaces (tiles or showers) and/or tiny crystals or sand like grit in the urine.
Renal failure can occur over a long period of time or be an acute sudden onset, either way it can be a life threatening condition. In renal failure the kidneys stop functioning correctly causing a buildup of toxins in the bloodstream. There are a lot of causes of renal failure and it is particularly common in older cats. During early stages of chronic renal failure symptoms can be hard to identify. As the disease progresses or becomes acute, symptoms such as increased urination, weight loss, lethargy, increased thirst, decreased appetite and vomiting may be seen.
Diabetes mellitus is a common disorder in cats and occurs when the body does not produce enough insulin to balance the cat’s blood sugar or glucose levels. The exact cause of diabetes in cats remains unknown however cats that are overweight, older, have other underlying hormonal diseases, on some medications or certain breeds seem to be more at risk. Frequent urination, weight loss, increased water intake, lethargy, vomiting and a dull coat are all signs of diabetes in cats.
Sometimes frequent urination is due to incontinence or a weak bladder. A weak bladder can develop as cats age or can be caused by an injury. Other signs of incontinence include urinating when moving from lying to sitting or when jumping and a frequent wet bottom.
If your cat does seem to be urinating more frequently or in larger volumes, observe them closely for other signs, symptoms or unusual behaviours and contact your veterinarian. For your veterinarian to correctly diagnose the cause they will conduct a physical exam and usually run blood and urine tests to check organ function.
Originally published in My Pet Magazine Issue 11.
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