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How to Get a Urine Sample from a Cat: Effective Tips & FAQ

A urine sample can help your vet check for a number of conditions in the urinary tract and kidneys. If your vet has asked you to bring in a sample of urine from your cat, you might be feeling a bit bewildered as to how to actually get one. After all, how likely is your cat to cooperate with you if you attempt to hold a collection pot under them as they pee? Not very.

Though you might be imagining all sorts of bizarre or messy scenarios, take a deep breath—obtaining a urine sample from a cat is not that difficult. The only potentially frustrating aspect of the procedure is waiting for your cat to actually use the bathroom! Read on for the easiest way to get a urine sample from a cat.

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Before You Start

This is a simple procedure, but you do need a few pieces of equipment and there are important steps you should take and things to keep in mind. The most important thing is to thoroughly clean your cat’s litter box—this will encourage the cat to use the bathroom and gets rid of any dirt or feces that may contaminate the urine.

If your cat does poop before urinating in the litter box you’ve cleaned for the purpose of urine collection, remove it and any surrounding litter to avoid contamination. Try your best to remove any traces of the cleaning products you used as these can also affect the sample.

Most veterinarians will request a fresh sample. It must be in an appropriate sample pot and collected with a dropper or syringe. If you don’t have a sample pot, a clean jam jar is an ideal substitute.

What You'll Need
  • A sample pot/glass jam jar
  • A dropper/syringe
  • A clean, dry litterbox
  • Non-absorbent cat litter/shredded magazine paper
  • Gloves
  • After thoroughly cleaning the litter box, fill it with a good helping of non-absorbent litter. We need to use non-absorbent litter to avoid the sample getting soaked up before we can collect it. If you don’t have any, you could use shredded paper from an old magazine.
  • Wait for your cat to use the litterbox. You may need to wait for a while—unfortunately, there aren’t many ways to encourage a cat to pee if they don’t want to. Just offer clean water throughout the day as usual and wait it out.
  • Once your cat has urinated, put on your gloves and suck up some of the urine with the dropper.
  • Empty the contents of the dropper into the container. Label the pot with your pet’s name and the time the sample was collected if your vet has provided you with a label to stick on.
  • Take the sample to your vet as soon as possible. If you can’t take the sample immediately, put it in the refrigerator to keep it cool.

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How Much Urine is Needed for a Sample?

Not much. As a rule, around 1–2 ml should be sufficient, though in some cases your vet may need a larger sample. This depends on whether the test will be done in-house or needs to be sent to a laboratory.

cat owner collecting urine sample from her pet cat
Image Credit: Yaya Photos, Shutterstock

What if I Can’t Collect a Urine Sample?

If you’re unable to collect the sample for any reason, speak to your vet and they’ll be able to advise you and help you out. Sometimes, a vet will invite you to leave your cat at the clinic for a day so the staff can collect the sample there. In some cases, vets will extract the sample from the bladder itself rather than doing so externally.

Why Does My Vet Need a Urine Sample?

Your vet could ask for a cat urine sample for a variety of reasons, including the need to check for:
Conditions they may be looking for when examining a urine sample include:

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Final Thoughts

Getting a urine sample from a cat is pretty straightforward. Granted, your cat may make you wait a while for that sample, but apart from that, you should be able to collect it without too much stress. As long as you’ve got a spotless litter box, the right kind of litter, and a whole lot of patience, you’ll be just fine!

Remember, don’t worry if you’re having a really hard time collecting a sample—your vet is always there to help.

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Featured Image Credit: Yaya Photos, Shutterstock