How Often Do Cats Pee?


Updated: November 13, 2023

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Typically, a domestic cat will urinate between two to four times within 24 hours, but the term “average” is pivotal in understanding variations. Factors such as the cat’s size, fluid intake, and specific health conditions influence its daily urination frequency. Notably, cat urine is highly concentrated, and a ten-pound cat is expected to produce approximately half a cup of urine in a day.

Originating from desert-dwelling ancestors in the arid expanses of the Middle East, cats have evolved over the past 9,500 years. This evolution is reflected in their physiology, featuring a smaller bladder and urethra—the duct responsible for urine discharge. Proponents of this perspective assert that the fluids obtained from an average small bird are sufficient to satisfy a cat’s inherent thirst.

For a ten-pound cat, a daily water intake of seven to nine ounces is recommended, although a lesser amount can suffice if the cat’s diet includes wet food (comprising 70 to 80 percent water). Beyond being a waste product, cat urine serves multiple purposes, including territorial marking and signaling availability for mating. Veterinarians analyze urine to detect potential diseases.

It is crucial to acknowledge that a single bacterium in the water can undergo exponential multiplication, reaching 38,000 within 48 hours after a cat takes a single sip.

Water Good for What Ails the Urinary Tract

The act of drinking water doesn’t directly lead to the production of urine, but it plays a crucial role in optimizing the efficiency of the urinary tract. When mammals consume water, it undergoes a journey through the digestive tract, ultimately being absorbed into the bloodstream. The kidneys, integral components of the renal system or urinary tract, then proceed to filter the blood.

Cat urine is composed of approximately 95 percent water and 2 percent urea, a byproduct stemming from protein metabolism. Additionally, it contains trace amounts of chloride, sulfate, phosphate, sodium, creatinine, ammonia, and uric acid. Under normal circumstances, cat urine appears clear and yellow; however, the introduction of medications can alter its color, causing it to turn blue or other hues.

The presence of blood can cause urine to darken, manifesting as a deep red or brown hue, while liver issues may result in urine displaying shades of green, yellow-brown, or developing a foamy consistency.

Cats That Are Peeing a Lot vs. Peeing More Often

When urine clumps increase in size or frequency in the litter box, it’s termed polyuria, indicating an above-average amount of urine. To diagnose polyuria in most cats, they need to produce more than 50 ml/kg/day (a calculation your veterinarian can perform if necessary). With polyuria, the clumps are generally larger than before and may occur more frequently.

On the other hand, if there are numerous small clumps, it signals a different issue—pollakiuria. In this case, your cat is using the litter box more frequently but urinating only small amounts each time.

The most alarming scenario occurs when your cat assumes the “peeing” position in the litter box, yet there are no urine clumps afterward. If this happens, especially in male cats, it constitutes an emergency that requires immediate attention.

Male cats are susceptible to urinary tract blockages, which can be rapidly fatal. Therefore, prompt action is crucial if your male cat repeatedly visits the litter box to urinate without producing urine or only minimal amounts. Keep an eye out for signs like howling while in the litter box.

Felinine Is the Culprit Behind the Odor

According to Catster, cats, being carnivores, have urine that contains an amino acid known as felinine. Interestingly, felinine itself is odorless to humans, but over time, it breaks down into sulfur-containing compounds that emit ammonia-like odors. Nonneutered males produce approximately three times more felinine than neutered males or females, as the excretion of felinine is regulated by testosterone.

Cat urine odors are notoriously challenging to eliminate for two primary reasons. Firstly, cats possess a highly developed sense of smell, allowing them to detect pheromones left behind by felinine that may go unnoticed by humans. Secondly, conventional cleaners often fail to eradicate these sulfur-containing compounds, leading cats to persistently mark their territory if the odor is not completely eradicated.

The aroma of ammonia in cat urine can also be influenced by the feline’s diet, with certain types of litter, such as wood, corncob, or paper-based options, exacerbating the ammonia smell.

In the mammalian urinary tract, there are two kidneys responsible for filtering blood and producing urine, two ureters that transport urine to the bladder, the bladder itself for holding urine, and the urethra—a tube through which urine flows from the bladder and exits the body.

Diabetes May Be Behind Urine Volume

When the kidneys fail to operate correctly, waste products can enter the bloodstream, jeopardizing vital organs and leading to severe, even fatal, illnesses. Insufficient urine production in your cat may signal dehydration, kidney failure, or a urinary blockage. Conversely, excessive urine production may point to diabetes or another underlying illness.

Recognizing dehydration is crucial, with symptoms including heightened drooling, panting, ulcers, bacterial, viral, or fungal infections, vomiting, diarrhea, or obstructions in the digestive tract. Vomiting and diarrhea, stemming from various issues, are primary contributors to dehydration in both dogs and cats.

According to the Cornell Feline Health Center, over 30 percent of cats will experience kidney disease in their lifetimes, with more than half of those over the age of 15 already affected. Acute kidney disease may arise from toxin ingestion, urinary blockages, or untreated dental problems. While chronic kidney disease lacks a cure, proper diet and treatment can enable cats to lead a quality life despite the condition.

Factors That Affect How Much a Cat Pees

The primary factors influencing a cat’s urine output are its health conditions and diet.

A healthy cat following a canned food diet typically produces a substantial amount of urine two to three times a day. In contrast, cats on a dry food diet usually generate somewhat less urine, potentially contributing to urinary issues over time.

As cats age and develop health issues, particularly diabetes or kidney disease, they often urinate more frequently than they did in their younger years.

Certain medications, like diuretics, can also contribute to an increase in urine production. These factors may exhibit some variation from day to day, underscoring the importance of understanding what is considered normal for your pet

Severe Allergic Reactions in Humans

Cat urine is reputed to be harmful to humans. Allowing cat urine to linger without proper cleaning can result in the emission of ammonia, potentially triggering severe allergic reactions in humans. Common symptoms of cat urine allergy encompass red eyes, skin and nasal itchiness, sneezing, headaches, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and coughing.

The highly concentrated ammonia present in cat urine can also contribute to diseases such as pneumonia and bronchitis. Children, with their lower immunity and body weight ratio compared to adults, face a heightened risk of contracting these infections.

According to Catster, marking is typically executed vertically to signify the boundary of another cat’s territory. Urinating on vertical surfaces serves as a communication method, indicating the presence of other cats in the vicinity. Nervous urination often occurs when a cat cannot reach the litter box, potentially serving as a plea for assistance from the cat’s owner, typically manifesting on horizontal surfaces.

Root Causes May Be Bladder Stones, Cancer

The majority of urine is deemed sterile, devoid of bacteria, viruses, or fungi. However, in the presence of disease, the urethra can become easily obstructed, leading to infections that hinder urination. Symptoms of this condition encompass painful urination, minimal or complete absence of urine production, vomiting, lethargy, the presence of urinary crystals, frequent licking of the urinary opening, urinary accidents, blood clots, and bloody urine.

Potential underlying causes include bladder stones and cancer. The male urethra, due to its passage through the penis, is inherently narrow, making males more susceptible to blockages. If left untreated, these symptoms can escalate to a life-threatening level within 24 to 48 hours.

In such situations, an immediate visit to the veterinarian is imperative. The vet will conduct blood and urine tests to identify the root causes of the blockage, and X-rays or ultrasound may be recommended.

Typically, the blocked urethra in an affected cat is alleviated under heavy sedation or general anesthesia. The veterinarian will carefully thread a tube into the urethra to dislodge the obstruction and restore urine flow. Intravenous fluids, pain medication, and antibiotics may be administered to maintain the urethra’s relaxation.

Some Cats May Quickly Reblock

In the days following the procedure, there may be some stress as the cat may experience straining during urination and discolored urine. Additionally, there is a risk of blockage during this period, prompting the scheduling of rechecks.

To prevent a recurrence, it may be necessary to make lifestyle changes. Various factors, including household stress and inadequate access to or intake of water, have been identified as potential contributors to the condition.

The veterinarian might advise increasing the cat’s water consumption and closely examining its diet to promote the dissolution of stones. Meanwhile, Catster suggests several methods to enhance water intake in your cat’s diet, such as serving smaller meals, as they can encourage more drinking since eating tends to stimulate thirst.

Change the Water at Least Once a Day

Take into account the type of water you offer—whether it’s mineral, tap, or distilled—because each cat may have its preference.

Facilitate easy access to water for your cat by placing a few additional bowls around the house. Consider the cat’s preferences, as it might not favor the location of its current bowl. In the wild, cats prefer to keep food and water sources separate to ensure that the food doesn’t take on the taste of water.

It’s crucial to change the water at least once a day and regularly clean the bowl to prevent it from becoming slimy.

Incorporate water consumption into your cat’s routine by turning it into a form of exercise. Run the faucet several times a day to encourage your cat to drink more water.

Reasons Why Your Cat Is Peeing a Lot

There are numerous reasons why cats may alter their urine patterns or volumes. If you observe any changes, it’s crucial to consult your veterinarian for a proper diagnosis.

If possible, bringing a urine sample to the veterinary appointment can be beneficial. While the doctor may need to obtain a sterile sample, one collected at home can often provide initial insights.

When a cat produces a larger amount of urine in substantial clumps, common reasons include:

Diabetes: Frequently observed in middle-aged, overweight cats primarily on a dry food diet. These cats tend to drink a lot of water and may flood their litter boxes with large clumps.

Kidney disease: Typically seen in middle-aged and older cats with symptoms such as a picky appetite, weight loss, and occasional vomiting or diarrhea. The urine is usually clear, odorless, and produced in large clumps.

If a cat exhibits more frequent urination with numerous small clumps, common reasons include:

Urinary crystals: Often found in young cats consuming dry food, the cat’s metabolism of the food can lead to crystals that irritate the bladder lining, causing discomfort and increased frequency of urination. These small urinations may contain blood.

Urinary infection: Frequently occurring alongside urinary crystals, it requires a urine sample examination to diagnose both crystals and infection, differentiating between the two. These smaller urine puddles may also show signs of blood.

Add Flavor to the Ice or Water


Enhance your cat’s water appeal by experimenting with a touch of flavor. Consider adding chicken broth or tuna juice, and for a more inventive approach, freeze the flavor into an ice cube.

Explore various types of water bowls to identify your cat’s distinct preference.

For proactive health monitoring, visit the pharmacy and acquire easy-to-use reagent strips. These strips can be employed to check for the presence of glucose (sugar) and/or ketones in your cat’s urine. The presence of glucose may indicate diabetes, while the detection of ketones might signal a severe metabolic emergency related to an undiagnosed or uncontrolled condition.

Dispel the Myth That Cats Hate Water

Contrary to popular belief, the notion that cats despise water is not entirely accurate. While they may not appreciate being fully immersed, many cats are actually captivated by running water and often prefer drinking from a flowing source rather than a stationary bowl.

A significant number of cats also enjoy playing with water. It is believed that their preference for running water stems from a natural inclination developed in the wild, where they would drink from running streams, perceiving them as safer than stagnant water.

According to Catster, the consensus is that all mammals, including your cat, can benefit from increased water consumption. Encouraging your cat to drink more water carries numerous advantages and helps prevent the potential health risks associated with dehydration.

How frequently do cats typically urinate?

Cats usually urinate two to four times within a 24-hour period. However, individual variations exist based on factors such as size, fluid intake, and health conditions.

What influences a cat’s urination frequency?

The cat’s size, fluid intake, and specific health issues play a role in determining how often it urinates. These factors contribute to variations in the average urination patterns.

Why is cat urine highly concentrated?

Cat urine is concentrated due to the evolutionary adaptation of cats, whose ancestors inhabited arid regions. Their bodies evolved with smaller bladders and urethras, influencing the concentration of their urine.

How has the evolution of cats affected their urinary systems?

Over the past 9,500 years, cats have evolved with smaller bladders and urethras, reflecting their adaptation to desert environments in the Middle East.

What is the significance of a ten-pound cat’s daily water intake?

A ten-pound cat is recommended to drink seven to nine ounces of water per day. However, a cat can manage with less if its diet includes wet food, which contains a significant water content.

Why is cat urine more than just a waste product?

Cat urine serves multiple purposes, including marking territories and signaling availability for mating. Additionally, veterinarians examine urine to detect potential health issues.

How does cat urine relate to disease detection?

Veterinarians analyze cat urine as part of routine examinations to identify signs of diseases or abnormalities. Changes in urine composition can indicate underlying health issues.

What is the impact of bacteria in a cat’s water source?

A single bacterium in a cat’s water can multiply significantly, reaching 38,000 within 48 hours after ingestion. This highlights the importance of maintaining clean water sources for cats to prevent potential health risks.

Conclusion

The frequency of a cat’s urination is essential for responsible pet care. While the average domestic cat typically urinates two to four times in a day, various factors such as size, fluid intake, and health conditions contribute to individual variations. The concentrated nature of cat urine reflects the evolutionary history of these feline companions, adapting to the arid environments of their ancestors.

Recognizing the significance of a cat’s daily water intake, especially for a ten-pound cat, underscores the importance of hydration in their overall well-being. Wet cat food, containing a substantial water content, can complement their hydration needs.

Beyond being a waste product, cat urine serves crucial purposes, including territorial marking and signaling availability for mating. Veterinarians rely on urine analysis to detect potential diseases, emphasizing the role of regular veterinary check-ups in maintaining feline health.


Michael R

Michael R

I'm a publisher and editor at Cat Guide 101. I imagine that since you’re here, you likely own a cat — or two! — so helping you better understand them is my aim. I'd like to invite you to check out our about page to learn more about the Cat Guide 101 story.

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