Urinary problems are common in cats, but actual incontinence is rare. Most often it is due to spinal or tail injuries.
Incontinence is when urine is passed without control. Controlling the passage of urine requires a combination of voluntary actions and involuntary reflexes. Voluntary control can be affected by serious damage to any part of the spine. Reflexes can be affected by damage to nerves near the base of the tail. If the bladder is very distended it can lead to overflow and leakage. All of these problems are very serious and a vet check is urgently needed.
What to do
What to do if your cat is leaking urine
See a vet straight away if:
- an adult cat is leaking urine
- they appear to be in pain or are not acting normal.
Handle them gently and carefully, as they may be injured. Wrapping their body up in a thick towel may make things easier and safer.
Most common causes of urinary incontinence in cats
- Tail pull injury
- Traumatic spinal injury
- Partial urinary blockage
- Damage to the bladder due to chronic or severe urinary disease
When to worry
When to worry about urinary incontinence in cats
Leaking urine in cats is usually due to severe disease. See a vet straight away.
Urinating outside of the tray without leaking may sometimes be serious as well. Discuss this with a vet as soon as possible.
How to prevent urinary incontinence in cats
Neutering a cat reduces how far they roam, fighting and other behaviours that put them at risk for injury.
Encourage regular water intake and provide a balanced diet to reduce the risk of chronic urinary problems.
How to know if your cat is leaking urine
- Spots of urine where they sit
- Wet patches on their back legs or around penis/vulva
- Hiding away or restlessness
- Pain when tummy is touched
Home Remedies for urinary incontinence in cats
Finding the cause of the urinary incontinence is extremely important and medical treatment should be started as soon as possible.
If your cat has been diagnosed and is under treatment for urinary incontinence, it is very important that they are cleaned frequently to avoid damage to the skin from the urine. A damp cloth or wet wipe works well.
Vet Treatment for urinary incontinence in cats
Treating incontinence caused by spinal or nerve damage is difficult. Pain relief is crucial and anti-inflammatories may help. Bone fractures may need to be stabilised.
Partial blockages need a urinary catheter to be passed as soon as possible to relieve them.
Cats at higher risk for urinary incontinence
Roaming cats are at higher risk for injuries that lead to incontinence.
Other causes of urinary incontinence in cats
- Rarely kittens are born with abnormal structure of the ureters or urethra, leading to incontinence
- Conditions that affect nerve and muscle function, such as dysautonomia or lower motor neuron disease, can affect bladder control
- Tumours can disrupt control of urine if they affect the bladder, urethra or the nerves in the area