Urine samples can provide a lot of information regarding an animal's condition. A urine sample from a cat can be examined microscopically and can be used to perform a bacterial culture to rule out bacterial infections.
Urine can be used to help diagnose many different conditions such as:
It is useful when investigating feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD) which is not a specific disease, but rather is the term used to describe conditions that can affect the urinary bladder and/or urethra (the lower urinary tract) of cats.
Here are some simple instructions for getting a urine sample from your cat:
Check if your vet needs you to collect the sample at a certain time of day (for example, first thing in the morning). You should try to collect the sample as close to this time as you can to make sure the results are as accurate as possible.
Empty, clean, rinse and dry your cat’s litter tray before collecting a urine sample– this is important because dirt, chemicals, and even water can contaminate the sample.
Sprinkle some non-absorbent litter into your cat's regular litter tray.
Put the tray back in its normal place and wait for your cat to pee. You may need to lock the cat flap to stop them from going to the toilet outside – be sure to let them out if they find this distressing.
Check the tray regularly to see if your cat has used it. If your cat passes faeces, remove it (and any surrounding litter) as soon as possible to avoid contamination of the urine sample.
When your cat has urinated, put on some gloves and tip the tray to pool the urine in one corner. Suck up the sample using a syringe or dropper and place it into a sample pot. If you don’t have gloves, wash your hands before and after handling the litter tray.
Label your cat’s sample with your name, their name and the time/date it was collected.
Ideally, take the sample straight to your vet, but if this isn’t possible, store it in the fridge. The sooner the sample is tested, the more accurate it will be.
How quickly can I see the results of my cat's urine sample?
Many urine tests can be carried out in-house by your vet, but some need to be sent away to a lab, which will delay the results and if culture and sensitivity are to be performed, the results usually take 1 to 3 days.
Cat Urine Indications
What does the colour and clarity of my cat's urine indicate?
A normal urine sample is usually yellow in colour or clear/transparent. If it is cloudy, dark or bloody, it may indicate that something abnormal could be suspended in it (such as blood cells, abnormal cells, crystals, mucus, bacteria and remnants of damaged kidney cells).
What does the odour of my cat's urine indicate?
Cat urine has a powerful ammonia scent which can linger on soft furnishings and surfaces around the home. Male cats tend to have stronger-smelling urine than females due to different hormone levels. Some cats may have a particular medical condition, as indicated by a particular smell to the urine therefore if you notice any changes in odour, this should be reported to your vet.
What will a vet check a cat's urine sample for?
A urine sample can provide plenty of information for a vet. Some things that they will check from the sample include:
Concentration (dilute urine can indicate a number of problems, for example, kidney disease)
Glucose (which can indicate diabetes)
Protein, blood and inflammatory cells (which indicates inflammation of the bladder)