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nina can;t pee
An_257722 posted:
my cat start today that she can't pee and I can't afford a vet , what I can do.she has been healthy for 13 years , I need help. I can't afford a vet my income is very low . I need help
rohvannyn responded:
Call around to your local animal shelters, and local pet advocacy places, to see if you can get any help. There may not be much anyone can do but it's worth trying. This is something you can prevent with proper diet and adequate hydration, but not something you can treat. This is a serious medical condition that could kill her within a day or two, unfortunately, without medical attention.

I really wish you the best and hope you find some help for your kitty.
mercei68 replied to rohvannyn's response:
thanks. it happen so fast when my husband and I are retired and no money. I am looking around but nothing yet. thanks very much
srstephanie replied to mercei68's response:
Hi mercei68,

Try not to panic over the suggestion that this could kill your cat within a day or two. While the inability to pee can quickly become life threatening for MALE cats ... it is "possible" but quite rare for a complete urinary blockage to happen in female cats, because they have a wider urethra than males.

In cats under 10 yrs of age, the most common problem is Feline Indiopathic (or Interstitial) Cystitis ("FIC") ... i.e. an inflammation of the bladder. That is NOT a bacterial infection, so antibiotics do not treat it. In older cats, like yours, it is more likely to be a bacterial infection, particularly if she has other health issues that cause a dilute urine (e.g. chronic kidney disease, diabetes, hyperthyroidism, etc). Without a vet check, there is no way of knowing.

There are also other possibilities that a vet would rule out by examination or an x-ray (or ultrasound) ... such as bladder stones (that is different than "crystals" which are generally not a factor) or a tumor, etc. The only way to confirm a bacterial infection is for a vet to take a sterile urine sample (by using a needle to extract it directly from the bladder ... sounds bad but most cats are not bothered by it at all) and then sending it out for a culture and sensitivity test.

If the problem is continuing, 2 days after your original post, I'd also encourage you to see if you have friends or family members who would help pay for a vet visit ... or ask your vet for suggestions of alternate payment plans.

Without a vet check, you can't rule out the other possibilities ... but I can give you a little info on FIC since it is common in younger cats and is something you can do something about. I've recently been corresponding with Dr Dennis Chew who is one of the top veterinary nephrology/urology specialists. He is now emeritus at The Ohio State University, though still very active in giving continuing education lectures, etc. He, along with his colleague at Ohio State (Dr Tony Buffington) is a leading expert in FIC.

What are your cat's symptoms? Is she straining for a long time in the litterbox? Is she attempting to go elsewhere (very common with cats when they have pain ... and they associate the pain with location, i.e. the litterbox, so they try elsewhere). Is she producing any drops? Have you noticed any blood? Bleeding is a common sign of FIC.

Most cats that are prone to FIC will have episodes that last for 5-7 days (my own cat had one that took a couple weeks to get over). Since it is not a bacterial infection, they usually get over it on their own. However, it is VERY painful, so giving pain medication can be important (buprenorphine/Buprenex is commonly given).

The main point that Dr Chew and Dr Buffington make on FIC is that they feel the bladder inflammation is just one sign of a problem that is really neurological ... and more specifically, caused by an inappropriate response to STRESS. They call it Pandora Syndrome.

Cats with FIC/Pandora Syndrome appear to have smaller than normal adrenal glands. Stress causes an activation of the sympathetic nervous system ("SNS", which causes the "fight or flight" response) which produces a hormone called norepinephrine. In normal cats, the response to stress both activates and then turns off the SNS. But FIC cats have trouble turning off the SNS after stress. The norepinephrine causes changes to the bladder wall that allows urine to get into the bladder wall and cause inflammation.

Relieving stress is key to controlling FIC (which includes your own stress which cats pick up on easily). Dr Buffington has a website dedicated to environmental enrichment at: I highly recommend it.

Increasing water intake is very beneficial ... IF your cat is not currently blocked. A vet can easily palpate the bladder and feel whether it is full or not. Feeding any canned food with added water is best, if possible.

Hope that helps ... and that you can get to a vet soon.

Stephanie in Raleigh
mercei68 replied to srstephanie's response:
Drew Weigner, DVM, ABVP responded:
I'm assuming your female cat is actually urinating very small amounts very frequently. If so, these are typical signs of cystitis, an inflammation of the urinary bladder. While there are many possible causes, the most common is a urinary tract infection. This is diagnosed with a urinalysis and culture, but it may be safe to just put her on an antibiotic to see if that solves the problem. You'll need a veterinarian for this, but your cost may only be an office examination fee. If that's still unaffordable, your local animal shelter may be able to help.

If, however, your cat actually cannot urinate at all, this is an emergency and immediate veterinary care is needed.

Drew Weigner, DVM, ABVP
The Cat Doctor
Board Certified in Feline Practice


William Draper, DVM, better known as "Dr. Will," is a well-known small animal practitioner in the Atlanta, GA area. He grew up in Inglewood,...More

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