Excessively Frequent Urination (Pollakiuria) in Cats

Key Takeaways

Pollakiuria refers to frequent urination of small amounts. 

• It is a common symptom of conditions affecting the lower urinary tract, including urinary stones, bladder inflammation, urinary obstructions, and urinary tract infections (UTIs)

• Pollakiuria rarely suggests a severe illness, but many urinary tract conditions are painful, and warrant prompt veterinary attention

• Bloodwork and urinalysis diagnose the cause of pollakiuria, alongside diagnostic imaging, and a physical examination

• Treatment varies depending on the underlying condition, but antibiotics or anti-inflammatories are common options for conditions associated with pollakiuria

A Closer Look: What is Pollakiuria in Cats?

Pollakiuria is common in cats. It does not immediately suggest a medical emergency, however many conditions resulting in this symptom are very uncomfortable, indicating a need for prompt medical attention. Some causes, such as urinary stones, may lead to an emergency if left untreated.

Possible Causes

The bladder’s internal lining protects it from the caustic and acidic nature of urine. If the bladder lining is inflamed or otherwise unhealthy, urine can cause irritation. This causes frequent urination to keep the bladder empty. There are a wide variety of urinary tract conditions that may lead to pollakiuria, including:

Feline lower urinary tract disease

• Stones or crystals (urolithiasis)

• Cancers, such as bladder cancer

• Injuries

• Interstitial cystitis

• Prostate inflammation (prostatitis)

• Urinary tract abscesses or cysts

• Vaginal inflammation (vaginitis)

• Ectopic ureter

• Some toxicoses, such as ethylene glycol or organophosphate toxicosis

• Pyometra 

• UTIs, in rare cases

Risk Factors

Pollakiuria varies in how often a cat uses the litterbox, but this does not always reflect the severity of the underlying condition.

Testing and Diagnosis

The sex and neutered status of the cat helps determine the diagnosis, as some conditions only affect cats of a certain sex. 

Diagnostic evaluation includes:

• Physical examination

• Diagnostic imaging

• Cystoscopy

• Bloodwork

• Urinalysis and urine culture

• Biopsy

Treatment for pollakiuria varies widely depending on the underlying cause, but commonly include

• Anti-inflammatories

• Antibiotics

• Painkillers

• Fluid therapy

• Surgery

In rare cases, inpatient care may be required.

Similar symptoms

Pollakiuria (frequent urinary trips, little urinary volume) is distinct from polyuria (excessive urination), stranguria (difficulty urinating), or urinary incontinence (urinating involuntarily).

Associated Symptoms

Cats with pollakiuria may ‘have accidents,’ and urinate outside their litterbox or pan.

Other symptoms include

Excessive thirst

• Excessive urination

• Painful urination (dysuria or stranguria)

Bloody urination (hematuria)

• Abdominal pain

Want to speak to a vet now?

Book an appointment

Health concern with your pet?

Start a video chat with a licensed veterinary professional right now on Vetster!

Book an online vet