Painful and Frequent Urination in Cats


PetMD Editorial

Published Jan. 22, 2009

Dysuria and Pollakiuria in Cats

While the urinary bladder and urethra normally serve to store and release urine, there are two disorders that affect the lower urinary tract by damaging the bladder wall or stimulating the nerve endings in the bladder or urethra. Dysuria is a condition that leads to painful urination, and pollakiuria refers to abnormally frequent urination. In other words, you'll have a cat that goes to the bathroom often; the cat may even have pain or show discomfort while urinating.


  • Extreme irritability
  • Discomfort or pain during urination
  • Frequent "accidents" occuring outside the litter box


Dysuria and pollakiuria are generally caused by lesions, stones, cancer, or trauma to the urinary bladder and/or urethra. (Lesions and stones are good indicators of a lower urinary tract disease.)

Other factors include:

For the Urinary Bladder

  • Anatomic abnormalities
  • Malfunction of bladder muscles
  • Chemicals/drugs
  • Medical procedures

For the Urethra

  • Anatomic abnormalities
  • Kidney stones
  • Urethral plugs
  • Increased tension of the urethral sphincter (the muscle used to control urine flow)
  • Medical procedures

For the Prostrate Gland

  • Cancer
  • Cysts
  • Inflammation or abscess



A complete blood profile will be conducted, including a chemical blood profile and a urinalysis. You will need to give a thorough history of your pet's health, onset of symptoms, and possible incidents that might have precipitated this condition. After establishing a thorough medical and behavioral history of your cat, your veterinarian will be able to rule out a variety of causes, using differential diagnosis methods, so that a diagnosis can be made. Dysuria and/or pollakiuria may have come about as the result of repercussions from surgical procedures or drug usage, and behavioral symptoms, such as spraying, or marking territory will give your veterinarian a better idea of the underlying cause. These conditions and symptoms will be either confirmed or ruled out until your your veterinarian is able to settle on the most obvious cause of the illness.


Cats with less serious, nonobstructive lower urinary tract diseases are typically seen on an outpatient basis, while others require hospitalization.

Treatment mainly depends on the fundamental cause of the condition(s). If an illness has led to dysuria and/or pollakiuria, it will include supportive therapies, along with any medication needed to help with the symptoms. Nevertheless, these conditions often clear up rapidly after proper treatment has been prescribed and given.

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