How to Spot a Urinary Blockage and Save your Cat’s Life.

Hi everyone,

The below is a guest submission from Maureen in response to our recent post on Urinary Disease in cats. As this is such an important topic we of course had to share this:

How to Spot a Urinary Blockage and Save your Cat’s Life.

This is Mittens. He doesn’t have a fancy name. He was a little kitty in 2012 when we got him and his mommy to come in the house. They were the very first cats I ever had in my life.
A few years (and a few cats) later when Mittens got sick I barely even caught on to it, not really knowing much about cats.
The first signs were smaller pees in the litter box. His were never the really large ones, but these were definitely smaller. Then smaller still.
Then we would see him spend a lot of time in the box and there would be no pee or maybe a penny sized spot.
STOP HERE! Take your cat to the vet right now!
I was very ignorant about cats and didn’t know the emergency had already started.

Next there was a day of not peeing; he became lethargic and didn’t want to eat. Lots of licking himself, didn’t want to curl up.

I called my vet the next morning and asked him to come over, told him he would probably have to euthanize my cat.

My vet – truly a wonderful, wonderful guy, Dr Eric Griffin, a mobile vet – came that afternoon, diagnosed him,  was able to push on his bladder and force the obstruction, gave him subcutaneous fluids, medications. Saved him.
My vet told me if they don’t urinate for a day it is already too late and don’t wait.
We started keeping a calendar/journal for Mittens, recording size and quantity each day.

We changed his diet to Hill’s Science Urinary.

Two years later, it happened again. My vet came out, but it was more serious this time, a larger blockage or scarred from the last time. Mittens needed to be inpatient to get IV’s and be watched. My vet advised us to go to emergency hospital, but we really had no way to get there, so he rearranged his appts and took Mittens back to his place. He was there a week, had some stones removed, had IV’s. He came home a new kitty.
We are still vigilant about his litter box, still mark the calendar every day. He is still pretty skinny.
Remember: small pees, straining to pee, get to the vet. No pee for a day, go to the emergency room vet.
Throw away the old food or give it to the birds. Slugs like it too.
I didn’t know how serious it was when it first presented. I could have lost him. He is the only one who sleeps in my bed, on my pillow, in my arms.
Thanks from
Maureen Sheehan
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18 thoughts on “How to Spot a Urinary Blockage and Save your Cat’s Life.

  1. Holly G. says:

    Wow. Poor baby! That sounds terribly painful 🙁 This is great advice. Thankful the awareness is being spread. Love that photo, by the way. Mittens is a cutie pie! 😍

  2. Léa says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. Even those among us who are “old hands” with f elines, may not have had that particular experience and it is kind of you to inform us. Our feline masters trust us to care for them and that includes being informed. That is one issue I’ve not encountered with any of the felines that I or my children have been adopted by. But rest assured, it is something I shall be vigilent of.

  3. maryltonks says:

    I’ve had 2 cats with UTIs, both males. It’s difficult to manage the food change when there are other cats in the family.

    • Maureen says:

      Thank you all for your kind comments. Yes feeding two different foods is a little difficult. I could feed everybody the high end, they like it well enough, but it is costly. There are just some rooms off limits to Mittens. And to be fair no one else sleeps in the bed with me, if they only knew what they were missing.

  4. kittiesblue says:

    So happy you didn’t lose Mittens. A good post and lesson for all cat parents. XOCK, angel Lily Olivia, Mauricio, Misty May, Giulietta, angel Fiona, Astrid, Lisbeth, Calista Jo, Cooper Murphy and Sawyer

  5. Correne Sinclair says:

    I’m so glad Mittens is alright. It’s scary seeing them go through this. I had a cat with this problem as a kitten and he was put on the urinary food too. Like you I didn’t know how serious this could be.

  6. floridaborne says:

    I also mix a little water into OBCC’s wet food. Once in a while, I’ll open a can of tuna in water. Often, he will lick up the water and leave some of the fish. This seems to help, too.

    As you know from your own experience, a kitty can go months, or years, without a problem. Every day, I’m digging through his kitty litter and if something doesn’t look right, he goes to the vet.

  7. dorothyberrylound says:

    I am glad Mittens is all right. It was a shock to us when it happened with our cat Malteser and we nearly lost him. A casual visit to the vet because I thought he was a bit off colour (with my husband thinking I was fussing) led to mayhem and a full blown medical emergency. I wrote about it in my blog https://www.shannathshima.me.uk/artblog/could-your-cat-suffer-a-urinary-blockage/ Malteser now has problems with his kidneys (and developed asthma, but that is a whole other story!).

  8. Linda Arthur Tejera says:

    So happy that Mittens recovered and is doing well. Years ago we brought in three male abandoned kittens (two ginger and one black). One day, Charlie, one of the ginger, began crying and we could tell he was in pain. We rushed him to the vet. We very nearly lost him but our wonderful vet worked tirelessly for two weeks and saved him. He even got by without having to have surgery. But some time after that Charlie’s brother, Moxie (the black kitty) was rushed in for the same reason. He didn’t make it and my heart aches to this day.

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