Cat Urine Health

"Cat Urine health is a window into the well being of your cat. Urine appearance that is red or brown in color, has a cloudy look and has a strong ammonia odor could indicate a problem. Many diseases can be indicated after testing urine such as infection and kidney function problems."

Cat urine health is an important indicator used by your veterinarian regarding the health of your cat.

Most veterinarians will do a urinalysis as part of an ordinary checkup after age 7 or if your cat is sick. The sample should be ideally collected and provided to your vet within 1/2 hour to 2 hours prior to testing.

How To Collect Cat Urine

The best way to collect a urine sample from your cat is as follows:

1. Empty your cat’s litter box.
2. Wash it and rinse it thoroughly.
3. Dry and fill it with styrofoam packing peanuts or plastic pebbles you purchase from an aquarium shop. Anything that your cat accepts and is non-absorbent will do.
4. After your cat urinates in the box, remove the packing peanuts and pour the urine into a clean, dry container. Store the urine in the refrigerator until it is time to go to the vet.

If this doesn't work you could try covering the litter box with saran wrap and then pouring the urine into the cup before your cat starts to push it into the litter.

If your veterinarian needs a completely sterile sample he or she will either wait for your cat to urinate in the office, knead the bladder to encourage urination or collect it from the bladder using a needle which is inserted through the abdomen wall (called cystocentesis) or by using a catheter which is a tube which is inserted into the bladder via the urethra.

Cat Urine Health Signs

Your veterinarian will check the color, cloudiness, odor, and another measure which is called the gravity of the urine (a measure of what is in the urine - see below).

Healthy Urine Color:

Healthy urine is has a clear yellow or amber color. Don't be overly concerned with dark color since that might mean that your cat hasn't had enough to drink and is dehydrated.

If you see a reddish or brown color that could mean that blood in present which could indicate a problem with your cat's liver.

Healthy Urine and Cloudiness:

Turbidity refers to the cloudiness of the urine. Very cloudy urine is an indication of white blood cells in the urine, which can be a sign of infection.

Cat Urine Health and Urine Gravity:

Specific gravity refers to how well the kidneys are concentrating urine. To test the specific gravity, a drop of urine is placed in an instrument called a refractometer. It lets your vet know how well your cat’s kidneys are functioning.

Cat Health Urine Odor:

Normal cat urine has a slight ammonia smell. If the odor is strong it probably indicates a bacterial infection. Let your veterinarian know if this is the case.

Chemical Analysis of Feline Urine

Your vet will then perform a chemical analysis of the urine. The vet will use a dipstick, a plastic stick with little pads attached to it. The stick is dipped in the urine and the pads react with the urine and change color according to various substances in the urine. The pads are then compared to a color chart and the vet can read the measurements of the different substances.

Some of the things the chemical analysis of the urine will check for include the pH value of the urine, the presence of protein in the urine, glucose in the urine (this is a sign of diabetes), ketones in the urine (fatty acid broken down by the liver and kidney), bilirubin in the urine (this can be a sign of liver disease), and blood in the urine.

Finally, the urine will be placed in a centrifuge where the liquid is separated from the sediment, and the sediment is then examined under a microscope. Your vet will be looking for white blood cells, which indicate inflammation; bacteria; and crystals, which indicate bladder stones.

As you can see, cat urine health tells your vet a great deal about your cat’s overall health, not just the health of her urinary system. From urine your veterinarian can detect a urinary tract infection, bacterial infection, yeast problems and fungal infection not to mention problems with the kidneys.

If glucose is present it could indicate the onset of diabetes mellitus. The urine can also be checked for the presence of tumors or cancerous cells.


Urinalysis: Testing a Urine Sample
Katharine Hillestad



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