Lack of Bladder Control in Cats

PetMD Editorial
By PetMD Editorial
Published: January 30, 2009
Lack of Bladder Control in Cats

Urinary Incontinence in Cats

Problems with the bladder often are caused by an impaired bladder or from some kind of obstruction in the bladder. Disorders of this type are referred to as incontinence. Incontinence is most likely to affect middle-aged to older cats and large cat breeds.


  • Involuntary urine leakage
  • Wet hair on their lower abdominal area, or between the rear legs
  • Wet spots or puddles in the bedding or sleeping area
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Inflammation of the skin around the genitals
  • Moist areas around the penis or vulva


Obesity is a common risk factor for incontinence in cats. Neutering is also one of the primary risk factors for incontinence, however, most cats will not develop this medical disorder as a result of the procedure; it is fairly uncommon. Other causes for incontinence may include:

  • Disruption of the nerves around the bladder
  • Lesions on the spinal cord
  • Lesions in the brain
  • Overactive bladder syndrome
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Chronic inflammatory disease
  • Pressure on the bladder caused by a mass
  • Underdevelopment of the bladder or other birth defects


Your veterinarian will review and address the causes for the incontinence, so that a treatment plan can be properly prescribed. In most cases, prescribed medication will resolve the issue.


If the condition can be treated with medication, there are several options available. For example, incontinence caused by obesity will require a weight management and diet plan; antibiotics may be used if the incontinence is due to inflammation of the urinary tract or bladder.

For serious medical cases, surgery may be performed to remove a bladder or tract obstruction, or for reparation of the bladder or urinary tract.

Living and Management

Most cats suffering from incontinence will respond well to medications and will have a full recovery. Inflammation is one of the most common issues associated with this medical condition, but it, too, can be treated with topical ointments and antibiotics.


There are currently no known preventative measures for this medical condition.

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