How often do cats pee? The simple answer is that a healthy cat will go several times per day.
If you own a house cat, the first thing that probably comes to mind when you hear that question is a litter box and cleaning up after your feline.
But there’s much more you can tell about a cat’s health from their urine. Being aware of sudden changes in the color, consistency, and amount of urine can help you detect early health problems in your furry friend.
This will allow you to act quickly to prevent any severe and long-lasting health conditions.
If you want to learn more about what’s normal and what’s not when it comes to your cat’s urination, read on. We’ll discuss and answer the following questions:
- Do cats pee a lot?
- How often should a cat urinate in 24 hours?
- How long can a cat hold its pee?
- Why is my cat peeing in small amounts?
- What could cause my cat to stop peeing?
- When should I take my cat to the vet?
- Why is my cat peeing outside the litter box?
- How much water do cats need to drink each day?
- What’s the best cat food for urinary tract health?
Do cats pee a lot?
It really depends on what’s normal for your cat. Healthy cats will typically pee between two and four times a day, but some can go as many as six times a day and still be completely healthy. Several studies say that an average 10-pound cat produces about half a cup of urine per day.
To determine the normal amount and frequency of urination for your furry friend, you’ll have to observe your cat and their number of trips to the litter box for a few days or even a few weeks.
Of course, their number of visits to the litter box might not be the same every day, but you can get an average sense of how often they pee after some careful observation.
How often should a cat urinate in 24 hours?
The average frequency of visits to the litter box for a healthy cat is between two to four times in 24 hours.
But several factors can affect how often your cat urinates per day. Food, water intake, age, medication, and even stress can influence or change your feline’s peeing schedule.
If you feed your cat lots of wet food then they’re also getting extra moisture from their food. A can of wet food contains at least 75 percent water, so this could be a reason why your cat is urinating more frequently than average. This is why it’s a sensible choice to alternate between dry kibble and wet food.
This one is obvious. Cats who drink more water will urinate more often.
If you don’t think your cat drinks enough water, try adding ice cubes to the water, placing more water bowls around the house, or investing in a cat water fountain as many cats prefer drinking running water.
Kittens have a faster metabolism, meaning that they digest food quicker and burn more calories. So, naturally, they also pee more frequently.
When a cat matures, its metabolism will slow down, and so will the amount and frequency of urination.
Senior cats have a much slower metabolism than younger cats, so they typically use the litter box less frequently than younger cats.
Certain medications, such as corticosteroids, can also affect how often your cat pees per day. However, these are short-term side effects and typically are nothing to worry about. Your cat’s urination frequency should become normal once they finish taking these medications.
Stress can also contribute to the frequency of your cat’s urination. Some cats will pee much more than usual, while others can pee less. They may also pee outside of their litter box. If you notice that your cat is acting anxious or on edge, the first thing you should do is find out what’s causing it. Then, make an appointment with your veterinarian to rule out any potentially serious medical causes.
How long can a cat hold their pee?
Cats can hold their urine and go without drinking water for long periods of time. Of course, indoor cats should have a litter box available to them at all times to relieve themselves when they feel the need to go.
But sometimes you’ll need your kitty to hold their pee, for example, while you’re traveling together. Don’t worry though, because according to experts, cats can hold their pee somewhere between 24 and 48 hours.
If possible though, it’s best to give them a chance to pee at least every 6 hours, as holding their pee in for long periods can be dangerous to their health. They could be at risk of potential injury or death as the toxins from their unexpressed urine build up inside their body.
Why is my cat peeing in small amounts?
Seeing your cat enter the litter box more than usual, and only pee small amounts is never a good sign. Peeing should be an effortless and comfortable process for your cat, and they should release a steady and adequate amount of urine each time.
If you notice your cat is peeing in smaller amounts than usual, first try to give them more wet food and encourage them to drink more water.
If this doesn’t change anything, then there might be a more serious medical issue behind it. Straining to pee with a small amount of urine output could quickly become an emergency that requires medical attention.
What could cause my cat to stop peeing?
Straining to pee is never normal in cats and requires immediate medical attention.
Common medical issues that could cause your cat to stop peeing or pee very small amounts include:
- Bladder inflammation (cystitis)
- Bladder stones or urethral obstructions
- Bladder infections (Urinary or FLUTD)
Some of these conditions, like bladder stones or urethral blockages, can be lethal if not treated immediately.
When should I take my cat to the vet?
When you notice unusual urination behavior from your cat and see that they are peeing too much or not peeing at all, you should seek help from a vet immediately.
Straining To Pee
If you notice any of these signs, you should take your cat to the vet as soon as possible:
- Frequently trying to pee, with little or no urine
- Crying out while peeing
- Urinating outside the litter box
- Excessively licking their genital area
- Lethargy or fatigue
Peeing Too Much
If you notice that your cat is peeing more than usual, this might also be concerning. A possible reason why your cat suddenly starts to urinate more frequently might include:
- Diabetes: You will notice that your cat started drinking water excessively and urinating more frequently and in greater amounts.
- Kidney disease: If your cat has kidney disease, it might cause them to urinate frequently, and you might notice they’re in pain or distress while doing so.
- Thyroid disorders: This might also cause your cat to pee more often and requires medical attention and proper medication.
Urine color and smell
A healthy cat’s pee is a clear, pale yellow color. However, if you notice any other color or consistency of your cat’s pee, you might need to pay a visit to the vet.
If you notice that your cat’s urine is cloudy, there is probably pus or mucus in their pee. This indicates that there’s probably an infection in your cat’s upper or lower urinary tract, and they will need treatment with antibiotics.
If you notice a pink or red color, it’s undoubtedly blood. Other colors your cat’s urine can change to are brown, orange and in some weird cases, even green! The two most common causes of blood in a cat’s urine are feline lower urinary tract disorder (FLUTD) or cystitis. Both require medical attention.
Normal cat pee will have a slightly pungent and acidic smell to it, but it’s still bearable to smell. If you start to notice your cat’s pee is suddenly stinking up the house, this might indicate that they have a bladder infection or cystitis. If you notice drastic changes in the smell of their urine, especially in male cats, it could be a sign of a hormonal disorder or even a tumor.
Why is my cat peeing outside the litter box?
There are many reasons why cats begin to pee outside the litter box. Sometimes the cause for this behavior is not medical at all and can be a result of:
- An unclean litter box
- The litter box is placed in a difficult-to-reach location
- The texture and type of their cat litter
- Stress and anxiety
- Major life changes like moving or getting a new roommate
If you know for a fact that none of the possibilities above are a potential cause for your cat’s unusual urinating behavior, then they might have a medical problem.
When cats have kidney or bladder problems, they might start to urinate outside of the litter box. This is because they’ll associate their litter box with the pain that they experience during urination. Or, they simply can’t get to their litter box fast enough.
How much water do cats need to drink each day?
Cats need 3.5 to 4.5 ounces of water per 5 pounds of body weight per day. This means that an average 10-pound cat needs to consume between 7 to 9 ounces of water per day. That’s about half of a standard-sized bottle of water.
Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean they consume this water just by drinking, as they get plenty of fluids with wet food. Cats who eat mostly wet food may drink less water, whereas cats who eat mostly dry food will most likely drink much more water.
Your feline should have constant access to a full bowl of clean and fresh water. You should change the water at least once per day and regularly wash their bowl with unscented, mild detergent.
If your cat is drinking excessive amounts of water then you should visit the vet. Excessive drinking and urinating is a sign of diabetes and requires medication.
Signs of dehydration
If your cat is not drinking enough water or getting enough fluids, it might result in dehydration.
This may be a symptom of an underlying disease or infection and requires medical attention.
The signs that your cat is dehydrated are:
- Skin tenting: If you pinch some skin over the cat’s shoulders and pull it up gently, their skin should snap back into place when released. If a cat is dehydrated, its skin will fall back into place slowly.
- Dry, pale gums: Another way you can check if your cat is dehydrated is by its gums. If they seem dry and discolored, it’s a sign of dehydration.
- Not eating: While this might be an indication of many health problems if you notice that your cat refuses to eat while also having some of the other symptoms mentioned above then this might be due to dehydration.
What’s the best cat food for urinary tract health?
Urinary issues are a common problem for cats. Cats are especially prone to bladder stones and urine crystals, which form when cats have too much calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, or protein in their urine.
Feeding your cat wet food is best for overall urinary health. If you are currently feeding only dry cat food, try supplementing your cat’s diet with some canned food every day.
If your cat refuses to eat wet food, there are some high-quality dry foods available on the market that have been carefully pH balanced and present less risk of urinary tract problems.
We recommend feeding your cat food specifically formulated for maintaining urinary tract health. To find out which cat food is best for urinary health, check out our article on the “best urinary cat foods.”
In addition, prescription urinary diets like Hills c/d, Royal Canin SO, and Purina UR are all excellent choices but you’ll need to schedule a trip to the vet to get these.
You should also be careful about feeding your cat fish. Because fish is high in phosphorus and magnesium some veterinarians and experts have noticed a link between diets heavy in fish and higher rates of crystal formation.
The bottom line
The most important thing is to know your cat and their bathroom habits, as every cat is different. Some cats may use their litter box only two times per day, while others will use it up to six times per day and still be completely healthy.
Urinary problems are common with cats, so knowing how often cats pee and what’s normal is essential for all cat owners. With these facts in mind, you should be able to recognize if anything goes awry.
If you notice any unusual behavior or sudden changes in the amount, color, smell, or frequency of your cat’s urine it might be time to pay a visit to the vet. Knowing what signs to look out for ensures that your feline friend will be as healthy and happy as possible.