When you welcome a cat into your home, paying attention to litter box habits is a really important part of being a cat parent. If you have a male kitty, this is extremely important and if your male cat isn’t peeing like they normally do, something could be medically wrong such as a urethral blockage.
A urethral blockage is when debris such as crystals and sludge plug the urethra resulting in urine being unable to pass and the cat not being able to urinate. A blocked male cat can turn into a medical emergency quickly and can be fatal if not treated.
The symptoms of a blocked cat can include lethargy, inappetence, and being unable to urinate. When the cat tries to urinate, he may yowl out in pain. The cat may also continue to meow in a stressful way and have an extremely painful lower abdomen to the point that they may be aggressive when picked up.
The male cat should be taken to a veterinary hospital right away, if not treated, it can become fatal. Be sure to bring a detailed history of when you noticed there being fewer urine spots in your cat’s litterbox. The veterinarian will feel the lower abdomen of your cat, palpating a bladder. If hard and painful, the cat with most likely be sedated as soon as possible to relieve some pressure from the bladder by passing a needle into the bladder and extracting out urine. Next, the veterinarian will pass a urinary catheter to ensure urine can pass. Sedation is required because it is safer for the veterinary staff and to help with the pain your cat is experiencing.
The urine that was extracted will be analyzed by the lab, particularly looking for bacteria and look for crystals. An abdominal x-ray is also helpful to rule out any larger stones in the bladder that need to be surgically removed.
The kitty will need to stay hospitalized for the next few days hooked up to IV fluids to help flush the bladder out. The urinary catheter will be held in place by a skin suture until the veterinarian feels it is safe to pull it out. His abdomen will be palpated throughout the day to monitor the size of his bladder along with if he is able to urinate on his own.
Once in the clear, the veterinarian may want to put the cat on specific food that was designed to help dissolve crystals and help with bladder health.
Poor food choice can lead to bladder crystals and extra bladder sludge which can cause a urethral blockage in a male cat. Brands of cat food really do matter to help keep kitties healthy and happy.
A urethral blockage in a male cat can be a recurring issue if the veterinarian’s recommendations are not followed. At home, be sure to keep paying attention to urine spots in the litter box and follow up with your veterinarian as directed.