Ask Dr Claire
My desexed male domestic tabby is having trouble urinating, seems to be intermittent pain while that is happening. Unsure of whether to call after hours local vet. Please advise.
The term we use to describe problems with a cats urinary bladder or urethra is Feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD). Having trouble urinating is really just a symptom and can be the result of many underlying causes.
In this case, we really need to find the cause of his trouble urinating so that we can treat his problem (not just the symptom). This will help us reach the best treatment plan too.
Some of the underlying causes of trouble urinating might be:
- Idiopathic (most common – basically means we don’t know the cause)
- Urethral obstruction or plugs (usually due to crystals or stones in the bladder)
- Urinary tract infection (less common)
- Neoplasia (less common)
Male cats have narrow urethras (where they pass urine through), and as such they can easily become blocked with crystals or inflammatory cells causing obstruction.
Even if he is not fully blocked now (i.e he can pass some urine), it could progress to a complete blockage through the night, which is life threatening. Given he is in pain and having trouble urinating, I do want you to head straight to the emergency vet ASAP tonight.
Let me know how you get on and if you have any questions- but don’t delay in getting to the local vet as soon as possible.