When it comes to their litter box business, cats try to be fairly private. Most of the time, we cat parents don’t mind, but sometimes knowing how often your cat pees, the color, odor, or consistency can help us tell if our feline friend is sick or dehydrated. So, what’s normal when it comes to cat pee, and what’s not? Let’s find out.
Is My Cat’s Pee Normal?
Most kitties pee between two and four times a day. With that being said, for some cats, it’s normal to pee more or less often than that.
The frequency of urination can be affected daily by water intake, whether it’s hot or humid, how active your cat is, and what they have eaten.
What’s more important than the number of times your cat pees per day is noticing any different trends. Maybe your kitty is usually a five-a-day urinator but has only gone once a day for three straight days. Or maybe they go just a couple of times but flood the litter box with each visit. Noticing sudden changes in your cat’s urination habit will help you know if something could be wrong.
Peeing more than normal, coupled with increased water intake, can indicate kidney disease, diabetes mellitus, or a urinary tract infection. Peeing less than usual is a sign of dehydration or a urinary blockage. All of these issues should be addressed by your veterinarian.
What Color Should My Cat’s Urine Be?
You may hear the term “straw-colored” to describe the normal color of cat pee. That just means a light yellow color. Some cats may even have urine that’s more clear but is still considered normal. What you don’t want to see is cloudy urine with ‘floaters’ in it.
Cloudiness or debris in urine is often white blood cells or bladder epithelial cells. Both can signal issues such as a urinary tract infection or a bladder tumor. Other changes in the color, whether darker or lighter, can also indicate that something is wrong, and of course, pink or blood-tinged urine definitely warrants a trip to the vet.
Should Cat Urine Have an Odor?
If your kitty is spayed or neutered, their urine shouldn’t pack too much of an odorous punch. However, if you waited a bit too long to get your male kitty fixed, they may have developed that telltale tomcat, testosterone-fueled ammonia odor that will drive you out of the house.
Urinary tract infections can also lead to a foul odor in your cat’s urine and possibly some discoloration. Let’s not forget that neglecting the litter box cleaning for even one day in a multi-cat household can also create unwanted and unpleasant odors.
Why Is My Cat Peeing Outside of the Litter Box?
Even though most of the time, using a litter box comes as second nature to a cat, there are times where you may find accidents outside of those four walls. Not using the litter box can happen for several reasons, including:
1. Not Cleaning the Litter Box Frequently Enough
Kitties like a clean space, so much so that even one dirty clump will have some kitties searching elsewhere to do their business. Clean your litter box at least daily, especially if you have multiple cats. You can also increase the number of litter boxes in your household or get a self-cleaning one if this frequency is a problem.
2. They Don’t Like the Litter
Some cats can be picky about the litter in their box. They may not like the texture, fragrance, or the way it sticks between their toes. Unfortunately, some cats decide that the living room rug is a better place to do their business.
3. They Can’t Get Into the Box
If your kitty is getting older or has some medical issues that impede their mobility, getting into a high-sided or top entry litter box can be hard to do. Some kitties might have the ability but lack the desire to enter one of those harder-to-get into litter boxes. For these kitties, choosing a litter box with a lower entryway or a more open design may help.
4. Other Medical Issues
Besides mobility issues, other things like urinary tract infections, kidney disease, or diabetes could have your kitty peeing outside the litter box. This is often because they are drinking and urinating more, and sometimes, they have to go…now! They just can’t make it to their litter box.
Sometimes, as with urinary tract infection or blockages, it’s painful to pee, and they associate that pain with the litter box. Their fix for this is to avoid the litter box to prevent the pain.
Anytime your kitty isn’t using their litter box properly, see your veterinarian. They will be able to rule out medical issues and recommend products that may help your kitty love their litter box again.
How often your kitty pees and what that pee looks like can tell a lot about their health. If, as a cat parent, you’ve come to take your feline friend’s potty breaks for granted, it’s time to get nosy. Understanding what’s normal urination for your cat will help you to determine when something is abnormal. It can also help you and your vet quickly get a handle on an issue before it becomes a more serious problem.
Dr. Chyrle Bonk has been practicing veterinary medicine since 2010. She lives in Idaho with her husband and two sons, where they spend their free time exploring the great outdoors that is right in their backyard.