How do I trick my cat into peeing?
May 3, 2005 6:20 PM   Subscribe

How do I trick my cat into peeing?

One of my (three) cats has a urinary tract infection or some related problem. The vet wants us to get a urine sample from her so they can test it. The problem is that she is a VERY willful little beast and has refused to give us a drop for the last 14 hours or so. We have basically locked her in the bathroom with food, water, & a clean litter pan with the "little black plastic pellets" the vet gives out that I guess are supposed to trick cats into thinking they're litter.

Of course, the vet always gives out about a quarter cup of pellets, which sit forlornly in the empty litter pan and do nothing to fool the cat.

Anyone have any tips or tricks for (gently!) forcing a cat to urinate? Something we could make her eat? Some way of making the litter pan seem more realistic--like something more bulky we could put in it that would make it seem like a full pan, yet wouldn't contaminate the sample?

Normally she would have used her regular litter box two or three times in this time period.

We're trying to avoid the last ditch effort of leaving her at the vet overnight or for an entire day as it seems cruel and she tends to hyperventilate and go nutty when around doctors. (Plus, it's expensive)
posted by bcwinters to Pets & Animals (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
The best opening question since "What's a good way to get shards of glass out of my underwear?"
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:26 PM on May 3, 2005 [2 favorites]

Could put normal litter in, and a layer of clear plastic wrap on top. Sure, kitty will scratch through it, but at least a portion of urine should stay on it, untouched. Preferably with the center mounded up just a bit in litter, so the urine would collect at the side, easy to retrieve?

Do keep an eye on kitty though, don't want her to get in trouble with the plastic wrap.
posted by Saydur at 6:30 PM on May 3, 2005

I've found that styrofoam peanuts do the job for my cat.
posted by ontic at 6:42 PM on May 3, 2005

Our vet has been able, as long as the cat's bladder is not empty, to manipulate his bladder in such a way as to make him pee for the sample. Is this a male vs. female difference?
posted by redfoxtail at 6:54 PM on May 3, 2005

You're probably already doing this, but make sure the new kitty litter is in the same container and sitting in the same place as usual. Cats seem to more easily accept new kitty litter when it's clearly theirs, in their container, in their spot.

This isn't a very useful response, but prior to surgery, when the cat is under anaestehtic, a cat's bladder is "expressed", by pushing on the right place. The relaxed muscles allow them to empty the bladder this way. So as a last resort, perhaps the vet might be able to do it with a sedative, which might avoid the overnight thing, but wouldn't be any cheaper.

I'm kind of curious as to whether this could be done while a cat is simply sound asleep. I suspect not, and I don't recommend anyone without training in expressing a cat's bladder even attempt it, as you can probably damage organs by putting the pressure in the wrong place, but I'm still curious :-)
posted by -harlequin- at 6:58 PM on May 3, 2005

What redfoxtail said. If the cat pees, great, if not, the vet can normally get a sample another way (with a needle aspiration directly from the bladder, manual expression (no sedative needed), catheterization, or by giving the cat subcutaneous fluids and waiting - all of which should not require more than a few hours at the vet).
posted by biscotti at 7:04 PM on May 3, 2005

I found my cat wanted to pee after a good bout with catnip but not sure about how that will affect your cat or the sample.

Be careful! If your cat isn't peeing because she has a bladder stone your cat could die (although this is rare in female cats). Here's a link (it sounds like your vet isn't worried).
posted by fleacircus at 7:20 PM on May 3, 2005

I had a male cat who we took to the vet after he started peeing on floormats around the house. Although he hated being held and hated the vet more, they were able to get urine from him during a regular appt with no sedative. The vet said he ran something in and grabbed a "few drops" of urine to test with. They never even asked me to collect it for him.

However I wasn't present - they took him in the back to do it. He was a vocal cat and I never heard him yowl, so I assumed they didn't outright hurt him.

(not totally related, but maybe useful for you in the long run: My cat had crystals in his urine and we had to switch him to prescription food. After switching him we found the cost was only slightly higher and his attitude improved tenfold!)

The plastic wrap over the litter sounds promising, although I'd keep a close eye on her if she's the sort of cat who chews plastic.

Sorry I can't be more helpful! Cats can be so challenging sometimes.
posted by routergirl at 7:29 PM on May 3, 2005

I'm not a cheapskate, I want my cat taken care of, but anaesthesia or an overnight stay at the vet around here could be $200 or more so that was why I decided to see what I could accomplish on my own. Rest assured, if I can't figure anything out tonight, she will be spending the day tomorrow with the doctor.

When we took her to the vet, she did feel the (apparently bone dry!) bladder and didn't come across any evidence of stones. And I forgot to mention here that this cat did have crystals a year ago, and they cleared up then with prescription food. But we were told it was only necessary as a short term thing. Guess not!

I'm going to fill the litter box with some styrofoam peanuts and see if it changes her attitude towards it. It's our spare litter box, which she has used before and I put it in the same spot as the regular box. And I'll give her her catnip toy! Other than waiting, I have a feeling there isn't much else to do.

Thanks for all the advice so far everyone! Now I feel like slightly less of a giant doofus sitting outside the bathroom door with a cat toy. Only slightly, though. :)
posted by bcwinters at 8:30 PM on May 3, 2005

Biscotti's got it right. On the most recent vet visit, our vet took a urine sample right from the bladder, using a syringe. Not so pleasant to watch [and I'm guessing to suffer through], but it worked like a charm.
posted by yellowcandy at 1:34 AM on May 4, 2005

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