Feline urinary blockage is a serious medical problem affecting male cats. It is a urinary tract disorder that falls under the general medical condition known as Feline Urinary Syndrome (FUS). A cat that has this condition has an obstruction in his urethra that causes him to be unable to urinate.
A blockage is extremely painful for a cat and can quickly become life threatening within a matter of hours if it is not treated by a veterinarian. A build up of toxins that are normally expelled in the urine can cause complete system failure. Whenever a cat, male or female, has difficulty urinating, it should be considered a medical emergency regardless of whether or not it is feline urinary blockage.
Crystals, mucus or kidney stones that become lodged in the urethra, the tube in the penis that transports urine from the bladder out of the body, cause feline urinary blockage. Symptoms may include frequent trips to the litter box or requesting to go outside with very little or no urine being expelled. A cat may also meow or wail in pain when he is blocked. In late stages, the cat will become obviously ill and may not be able to stand. The cat may also vomit and have a swollen belly, which is the result of a dangerously full bladder.
This urinary problem commonly occurs in the springtime. It is caused by a poor diet or a genetic predisposition to developing stones, mucus, or other elements that cause blockage. Feeding a cat high quality food designed to promote feline urinary health can help to prevent FUS and blockage. The condition often recurs in male cats, and these cats are often prescribed a special food by veterinarians.
After diagnosing feline urinary blockage, a veterinarian will immediately attempt to remove the obstruction. This procedure is done by placing a catheter inside the urethra and flushing it with sterile solution to remove or dislodge the blockage. Usually, the catheter is sewn in place and remains for a few days until the risk of subsequent blockages is gone.
When blockages repeatedly occur, a surgery called perineal urethrostomy (PU) is recommended. This procedure creates a larger urethral opening to pass urine and involves the removal and reconstruction of the cat’s penis. This surgery does not solve urinary complications caused by FUS, but almost always prevents the life threatening condition.