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How Often Do Cats Pee? What Is Normal & What Is Not?

Just like people, the amount a cat pees each day can vary. It depends mostly on how much water they consume. Cats who eat wet food may pee more than cats who eat kibble, as they usually take in more moisture.

Usually, a healthy cat will pee two to four times a day. However, different cats will have their own “normal.” If your cat usually pees five times a day and then suddenly starts peeing only twice, you should be concerned—even though it is in the range of “normal.”

We highly recommend keeping up with how much your cat is peeing, as it can hint at some underlying health problems. Cats are notoriously good at hiding their illnesses, so you often don’t get very many symptoms to go off of.

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Why Is My Cat Not Peeing?

If your cat is suddenly not peeing at all, there is likely an underlying problem.

If your cat hasn’t peed at all in 24 hours, you should be seriously concerned. An emergency trip to the vet is in order. This is a possible sign of a urinary tract obstruction, which can be deadly if not treated quickly. If your cat can’t expel their urine, it will build up until its bladder bursts. This condition isn’t always associated with pain or other symptoms. Sometimes the cat only stops peeing until the disease has progressed considerably.

This condition is most common in male cats, but it can occur in females as well.

Why Is My Cat Peeing in Small Amounts?

brown cat peeing
Image Credit: nanniezwawa, Shutterstock

Sometimes, cats will pee but only in small amounts. They may not pee as frequently as they once did, or they may pee more frequently. There are a few causes of this condition. In most cases, it is caused by a crystal in the urethra that is blocking the flow of urine. This is extremely troubling, even though the blockage is not complete.

Dehydration is another cause, especially if your cat isn’t visiting the litter box very often. Sadly, many cats are dehydrated. Even if you provide fresh water, you can’t ensure that your feline will drink enough to sustain their thirst. Cats don’t always have as strong of a thirst mechanism as other animals, so they don’t always drink enough.

Dehydration is especially common in cats that eat dry food. Often, cats that eat wet food get enough moisture from their food, though they should still be provided with plenty of freshwater.

If your cat is regularly becoming dehydrated, you should consider switching them to wet cat food. You should also speak with your vet, as some underlying problems can also cause dehydration.

How Can I Tell If My Cat Is Not Peeing?

Most cats use a litterbox, so it is pretty easy to tell if they aren’t urinating. If you’re in a multi-cat household, things can be a bit more complicated, though. Sometimes, you may notice a decreased urine output but not know exactly which cat isn’t peeing as much.

In many cases, cats will show other symptoms of discomfort if they have a urinary blockage. For instance, your feline may become lethargic, drink more, refuse to eat, or express discomfort. Some cats may be restless and pace.

However, not all cats show obvious signs. Therefore, it is often important to keep an eye on the litter box so that you can determine who is coming and going. A camera is sometimes helpful for this purpose.

With that said, a urinary obstruction can be extremely serious. If you’ve noticed a decrease in urine output and one of your cats is acting weird, you should visit a vet right away. Urinary obstructions can be extremely serious and deadly if not treated quickly.

Is It Normal for a Cat to Not Pee All Day?

No, 24 hours without urinating is not normal for a cat. There are several things that can cause decreased urine output. It may be inflammation and discomfort, which can be caused by an infection. Dehydrated cats also don’t urinate as much for obvious reasons.

Dehydration itself can be caused by a lot of things. Sometimes, cats may simply not get enough moisture from water alone. Wet food may be necessary. However, dehydration can also be caused by underlying problems.

If your cat hasn’t peed all day, start by calling your vet’s office and explaining the situation. They can tell you how best to handle the situation, including possibly bringing the cat in right away.

Can a UTI Cause a Change in Urine Output?

cat lying on the wooden floor beside litter box
Image Credit: Tanya Plotnikova, Shutterstock

Urinary Tract Infections (UTI) can cause all sorts of problems with urine output. In many cases, cats may avoid going to the bathroom because of discomfort. If it hurts to pee, many cats will avoid it for as long as possible.

However, a UTI will also make the cat feel like they need to urinate even when they don’t really need to. Often, your cat will attempt to urinate frequently, but not much will actually come out. They may strain to urinate without passing anything at all.

Most cats will urinate outside of the litter box when they have a UTI. This is due to a few factors. Firstly, cats will feel like they need to urinate more frequently, and sometimes this urge is so strong that they are unable to make it to the litter box. Secondly, some cats may hold their urine and then have accidents around the house.

Either way, cats often aren’t urinating elsewhere because they’re bad. They’re simply urinating outside of the litter box because of the underlying infection.

Can Stress Cause a Cat Not to Pee?

scared kitten hiding
Image Credit: Khamidulin Sergey, Shutterstock

Stress can affect many cats in weird ways. For instance, if a cat is scared of the litter box or something around the litter box, they may avoid it for as long as possible. This can cause infections, as the cat is not emptying their bladder often enough.

However, in most cases, your cat will not hold their urine for 24 hours. This simply isn’t possible for most cats. They will have an accident before they hold their urine for that long. Therefore, you shouldn’t just rule out your cat’s problems as stress-related without speaking to your vet first. If your cat hasn’t urinated in 24 hours, it is still an emergency, even if you suspect that stress might be involved.

Some seemingly normal changes can cause serious stress in your cats. For instance, changing your cat’s litter can make them avoid the box, even though it doesn’t seem like a very big change to you. The introduction of any change in routine can also cause stress. For instance, remodeling or bringing home a new family member can also cause all sorts of stress for a feline.

You can sometimes tell what is stressing out your cat by paying attention to when the behavior started. Figuring out the cause isn’t always helpful, though. Sometimes, you can’t change the source of your cat’s stress. Perhaps their old litter was discontinued, and you can’t exactly send babies back.

Either way, you may simply have to wait it out. We also recommend looking into stress-relief options for your feline, such as pheromone spray. Speak to your vet if your cat seems extremely stressed out, as they may be able to provide medication that can help.

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Final Thoughts

Tracking your cat’s urinary output is important. There are several serious conditions that can mess with urinary output. One of the most serious is urinary obstruction, which involves the cat being unable to pass any urine. As you might imagine, this can be extremely serious and even deadly. Immediate veterinary attention is important to ensure that the obstruction is cleared so that your cat can urinate properly.

A healthy cat will usually urinate between two to four times a day. However, there are normal cats on either side of this spectrum. It is important to note your cat’s normal so that you can notice any changes. A serious decrease or increase in output can indicate a problem—even if the urine output is technically normal.

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Featured Image Credit: Light Hound Pictures, Shutterstock