A closer look: Straining to Urinate (Stranguria) in Cats
There is variation in stranguria in terms of frequency and whether it is consistent or intermittent, productive or unproductive. Variation does not necessarily correlate to the severity of disease. The exception to this is unproductive urination, which is an emergency.
Stranguira may be caused by a number of conditions related to the urinary tract.
Stranguria in cats is a common, but also very serious symptom and merits immediate veterinary treatment. If straining to urinate does not produce any urine at all, this is a life-threatening emergency.
Testing and diagnosis
Diagnostic tools to investigate stranguria include:
- Physical exam
- Blood work
- Urinalysis/urine culture
- Diagnostic imaging
Treatment is dependent on cause, and can include medication, surgery, or both. Further supportive care may be recommended as well, such as reducing stress, implementing a weight management plan, and increasing water intake.
It is important to differentiate between straining to urinate and straining to defecate. They can look very similar, but straining in the litter box is more likely to be a urinary, rather than fecal, problem in cats.