Signs of a Blocked Cat and What You Need to Know

It is upsetting for a pet parent to see their fur baby in pain. When a cat is blocked or has an obstruction, the waste products accumulate in the system, which is not only toxic to the cat, it causes pain in the urethra and other unpleasant symptoms.

signs of blocked cat in Plantation, FL

It is essential to understand the signs of urinary obstruction and what to do in the situation.

When your cat is blocked, you will see signs such as urinating only small amounts mixed with blood or making frequent but unsuccessful trips to the litterbox. Obstructions are painful for cats, and they can also be life-threatening.

When you see the first signs that your cat is blocked, you must get them to the vet as soon as possible.  Read this article and learn the symptoms of a blocked cat and what you need to know.

What Are the Symptoms of Urinary Obstruction?

Urethral obstruction can be a life-threatening emergency. Male cats tend to get blocked (see video) more than females. Their urethra is longer and narrower in male cats. Therefore, male cats are more prone to having urinary obstruction. Urethral plugs are the most common reason for obstruction.

With this condition, diet can be a significant part of the problem. Poor nutrition can contribute to urinary issues. Cats who have had urinary obstruction before are more at risk for getting it again. Some of the most common symptoms for a blocked cat include:

  • Frequent trips to the litter box – Your cat is trying to empty their bladder but cannot. The irritation of the urinary tract gives them the sensation that they need to urinate more often.
  • Inappropriate urination – Your cat urinates outside the litterbox. It can be due to blockage by crystals in the urethra.
  • A small amount of urine with blood – The irritation from the blockage triggers bleeding
  • Pain caused by inflamed urethra – It is painful for your cat when they are urinating. They may cry incessantly in their litterbox.
  • Vomiting – Pain, and discomfort can make cats nauseous, which can make them vomit
  • Loss of appetite – Having a full bladder can make it difficult for your cat to want to put more into their bodies

As you can see, there are several markers that your cat may be in trouble with their urinary tract.

What Are Crystals in the Urethra?

Crystals that form in the urine result from typical minerals in the urine binding to each other. The crystals have the appearance of fine sand. The formation of crystals puts your cat at risk of having a urinary tract infection or kidney stones.

There are two major types of crystals that include calcium oxalate and struvite. Struvite is the more common type. Crystals in male cats are especially dangerous, as they block the urethra and prevent urination. The urine builds up in the body and ultimately poisons the cat.

Cysteine stones are another type of stone that can occur in your cat. These stones are more significant than the other kinds of stones and can be even more painful. They also tend to be recurring.

It is crucial to get your feline to the vet at the first signs of obstruction. Cats can die within 24 to 48 hours if left untreated. There are instances in which the crystals bind together and form larger stones that need surgical removal.

What Are the Causes of Crystals in the Urine?

Many crystals are expelled from the urine and are not detrimental to your cat’s health. However, the formation of larger crystals that become stuck in the urinary tract is the primary concern. The following are some of the causes of crystals in the urine:

  • Oversaturation of minerals in urine – When there is a high amount of minerals and salts, they can form stones
  • Dehydration – Keep fresh, clean water available to them. It helps your cat to expel more urine.
  • Unbalanced urine pH – If urine is too acidic or too alkaline
  • Urinary tract infection – When bacteria enter your cat’s bladder, it causes it to grow and reproduce, prompting an infection
  • Certain medications – Cortisone, Tetracycline, and Sulfa drugs may trigger bladder stones when they are used for long periods
  • Poor diet – Cats who consume a lot of sodium, calcium, and phosphorus are susceptible to having urinary blockage. Cats who have a healthy diet are less prone to blockages.
  • Stress – Your cat could even be stressed that their litterbox is not cleaned. Cats can be finicky, so it is best to maintain a clean litterbox
  • Breed – Himalayans, Persians, and Siamese tend to have an increased risk for blockages

Any condition that alters your cat’s urine pH can cause crystals. Having a history with crystals is the most accurate determiner of whether they will have them again.

A complete urinary obstruction causes a build-up of urine, which can ultimately cause kidney failure. There is an increase of toxins in the bloodstream, and the imbalance of electrolytes can potentially lead to death. It cannot be stressed enough that immediately getting your cat to the vet is of the utmost importance.

Countless pet owners do not realize that their cat is suffering from obstruction until the cat is very ill. If you see your feline straining in the litterbox, that is when you need to take action. Your cat needs to get checked out by your Veterinarian.

What is Treatment for Obstruction?

If your cat has a urinary blockage, they need medical attention right away. The veterinarian may put an intravenous catheter to correct dehydration and give your cat medication, such as sedation or general anesthesia. The urinary catheter is placed to eliminate the obstruction and help your cat to relieve their bladder.

The catheter has to stay in position for a few days to allow the urethra to heal and promote a smooth recovery. Many blocked cats must remain in the hospital for several days.  When your cat starts urinating normally, the veterinarian will send your cat home with antibiotics and pain medicine. They may also be prescribed a special diet for their urinary health.

The following chart gives examples of the special food given to your cat for prevention of urinary obstruction, as well as healing from having a block:

Special Diet for Urinary Health

Your cat’s diet can support their urinary system by prohibiting the formation of stones in the urethra. Below are some examples of specialized cat food for prevention, treatment, and management of urinary problems:

Hills s/d prescription Urinary care dry Chewy $  28.99  4 lb.
Get Naked Urinary health treats Chewy $    4.99
Hills c/d prescription Urinary health dry Chewy $  28.99  4 lb.
Royal canin vet Urinary 50 Chewy $  57.36
Forza 10 Actiwet renal support Chewy $  39.99
Iams Urinary health Chewy $  28.22


As you can tell, there are numerous selections to take care of your cat’s urinary health and nutrition. If you do everything to help your cat and are still having urinary trouble, it may be prudent to have your veterinarian perform surgery to rectify the issue.

Keep an Eye Out for the Signs of a Blocked Cat

As a pet parent, you need to be aware that if your cat has trouble urinating, you should not hesitate to take them to see your veterinarian. Blockages are serious, and you do not want to take chances with your fur baby’s life.

The urinary blockage could be due to stones in their urethra, and they may need a catheter or even surgery. You would like to give your feline the best possible outcome.