How to Treat a Cat That Has Urinary Tract Disease

©2006 Publications International, Ltd. Steps 2a, 2b, and 2c

An area of concern to cat owners and veterinarians is lower urinary tract disease, medically known as Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD). This disease is not limited to male cats but is of great danger to them because of their anatomy. The male cat has an extremely small tube (urethra) leading from the bladder through the penis.

In most cases the inflammation of the bladder causes the formation of a crystalline substance in the urine, which will clog the urethra of male cats and make urination impossible. This will be evidenced by the cat straining in the litter pan as if constipated and producing only small drops of urine, crying while straining, squatting outside the litter pan, and licking its genital area frequently.


If the cat is plugged and cannot urinate, the kidneys will lose the ability to remove the waste products from the blood. This causes a buildup of nitrogen byproducts in the blood known as uremia, which can lead to death. A blocked male cat that is vomiting is probably uremic and will die if not treated immediately. Call your veterinarian, regardless of the time of day or night.

Female cats also get FLUTD, and though the symptoms are the same as those of a male, females will not plug up, and the midnight emergency does not exist.

Some of the signs to watch for are a cat urinating outside the litter box; straining to urinate evidenced by going in and out of litter box and squatting for long periods of time; blood in urine; excessive licking of genital area; vomiting with these signs. If a cat is showing signs of urinary tract disease, use the following cat care tips:

If the Cat is Male


Method A

Step 1: Approach the cat carefully. If your cat is nervous or anxious, restrain the cat if necessary.

Step 2: Check for possible obstruction of the penis, which is life-threatening.


Step 2a: Place the palm of your hand on the cat's abdomen immediately in front of the rear legs.

Step 2b: Close your fingers toward your thumb.

Step 2c: If the cat cries out in pain or you feel a large, firm object in the abdomen, which is the distended urinary bladder, the cat is probably obstructed; proceed to Step 3. If not, proceed to Step 6.

©2006 P Steps 3, 4, and 5

Step 3: Have an assistant use one hand to apply pressure on the cat's shoulders, forcing the cat firmly down, while he uses his other hand to hold one or both of the back legs.

Step 4: Lift the cat's tail to expose its hind end.

Step 5: To provide some relief, use your fingers to gently roll the tip of the penis back and forth. This will help to dislodge any crystalline obstruction. Success will be evidenced by production of urine.

Step 6: Contact the veterinarian immediately.


If the Cat is Female


Method B

Step 1: There is no effective home treatment. Contact your veterinarian, even though the condition is not life-threatening.

©Publications International, Ltd.