Q: My 9-year-old cat Princy is having trouble urinating. Please help.
– Priya, Goa
A: Dr KG Umesh: Such urinary problems can result from behavioural or medical disorders. Behavioural causes are associated with toileting preferences/aversions and marking. Typical aversions/preferences may include substrate, location, cleanliness, and style of box. When there is a toileting issue, the cat typically seeks out a preferred alternative toileting spot. Cats who mark with urine do so for a variety of reasons, including territorial delineation, anxiety, and sexual advertisement, with the basic premise being communication.
Feline lower urinary tract disorders are most common medical cause of such a sign. Feline Lower urinary tract signs (FLUTD) in cats include variable combinations of frequent attempts to urinate, straining to urinate, urinating in inappropriate places in the house (periuria), crying out during attempts to urinate, and blood tinged urine. These signs are not specific for any particular disease; they can be seen in cats who have stones in urinary tract, bacterial infections, cancer, or other mass lesions in the bladder. If investigations (urine analysis, blood tests, radiography, scan etc) are unable to find the cause for the clinical signs, it is referred to as Feline Idiopathic Cystitis syndrome. This may be obstructive and non-obstructive. Appropriate therapy to alleviate life-threatening urethral obstruction should not be withheld anticipating self-resolution. Therefore take him to your vet ASAP for complete examination.