If your cat is not feeling well, a urine sample will often be requested by the vet to determine the extent of the problem. For one reason or the other, you, as the cat parent, could be faced with the task of getting a sample from your beloved feline. This is not the time to panic. Rather, it could be the ideal opportunity to learn how to get a urine sample from a cat.
If you’ve got a multiple cat household, this is one of those pieces of knowledge that never go to waste as it could be called into question at some other time—it’s a pretty common practice after all, and it’s not as difficult or messy as you think. Having looked at and researched the best practices ourselves, we have come up with various functional templates for collecting urine samples from your cat with no stress.
There are four simple methods you can try at home. Whether it is an indoor cat or one that spends most of its time outdoors, you will find something in here that applies to their needs. More than that, you also get to learn every other thing about the significance of a urine analysis that transcends the collection process.
Why Would You Need to Collect a Cat’s Urine?
From your cat’s urine, you/your vet can tell a lot about the cat’s health in general. The urine is one avenue to either confirm or rule out the possibility of some infections/diseases in the cat’s system.
Through a series of processes which have been termed under ‘urinalysis,’ a vet is able to determine the state of health of specific organs in your cat’s body. These organs are primarily the kidney or the liver.
More than organs though, a urinalysis on your cat’s urine sample could reveal a lot about the inner workings of their urinary systems. Metabolic diseases such as diabetes mellitus are not left out of what your cat’s urine could reveal about them.
Should your vet ask you to bring a sample of your feline’s urine, you shouldn’t assume the worst immediately. That is not always a sign of something serious or anything at all being wrong with your cat. Sometimes, a urine sample could be used to make a more comprehensive health judgment than other modes of testing will allow for.
How is a Cat’s Urine Professionally Collected?
There are several ways to collect a urine sample from your cat. Of these, there are two most recognized ways backed by vets worldwide.
Cystocentesis involves the passage of a sterile needle (connected to a syringe) through the abdominal wall of the cat’s bladder. This is done when the bladder is full so that a maximum sample can be obtained, removing the need to try again and cause discomfort to the cat.
Cystocentesis is an advantageous method in the sense of there being a lower risk of urine contamination as it is being collected. However, it is also a very invasive method which poses a lot of difficulty in unwilling cats.
Urine obtained via this method proves very useful in the determination of kidney and bladder problems. Furthermore, bacterial infections can be easily diagnosed from urine acquired by this method.
In this method, a very narrow catheter is passed through the cat’s lower urinary tract (otherwise known as the urethra) into the bladder. At the other end of the catheter, there will be a sterile syringe which is used to pull out the urine from the bladder.
Being less invasive than cystocentesis, cats will tend to find this a more agreeable method. The problem with catheterization, however, is that bacteria can be moved up from the lower urinary tract into the bladder in the process. That is, not to mention the issue of irritation that could start a few hours or days after the procedure is completed.
Collecting Cat Urine at Home
If there is one thing we can all agree about on the two methods above, it is that they are better suited to a professional (the vet) and an established office with the right set of equipment.
You can’t go about poking your cat’s bladder with a needle at home, neither will we advise you to put anything into their body.
When the situation thus presents itself that you take some of your pet’s urine sample at home, here are some methods you can try.
#1: Use Non-Absorbing Cat Litter
For this method to work, your cat has to be an indoor pet that has been trained to use the litter box. Else, it would be a frustrating process for the both of you
Clean out the litter material in your cat’s litter box and replace it with a non-absorbing cat litter material. You can usually find these in general stores and pet stores. When you find them, they are usually in plastic granules form and are made to resemble normal litter material
When your cat pees, the material does not absorb any of the urine. As soon as the cat is out of the box, use an eye-dropper/pipette to pick up some of the urine and transfer it into a clean, sealable container. Screw the lid tight as soon as you’re done.
It is not advisable to tip the urine from the litter box directly into the collection jar. If you don’t have an eye dropper, ask the vet if they could give you a syringe instead.
A more economical approach is to cut up some plastic straws instead and use them as the filler material. That helps you save money as you won’t have to go buy some plastic granules. Note that some cats will see past the façade and know that the litter material is not normal—in which case, you can try the next approach.
See Also: DIY Cat Litter Box
#2: Collection from a Puddle
This method will be applicable to cats that have not been litter-trained.
You should be aware of some likely points in the house or outside the house where you cat does their business by now. Observe such spots closely and see if they have been filled up any with puddles of urine.
With the aid of a syringe, get some of the urine sample into the sealable jar and seal it shut.
While this is a preferable method for cats without litter training, it also presents its challenges. For one, there is no telling how long the urine has been left standing for before you found it and took a sample. The most important reason that could rule out this approach is the sterility of the urine in question.
It is almost certain that environmental contamination would have made some changes to the structure of what would have been a preferred, sterile sample. In the end, that could mean poor results after urinalysis.
See Also: How to Train a Cat to Use Toilet
#3: Use Dried Beans
The concept of using dried, uncooked white beans for collecting your cat’s urine sample is almost like the first point on this list.
Start by thoroughly cleaning out the cat’s litter box. In fact, we recommend that you bleach the litter box. You should then go on to pack the litter box with dried beans in the place of the cat’s normal litter material.
If you’ve got multiple cats in your household, the best bet would be to lock up only the cat whose urine sample you need. That way, you can be sure that you’re getting the urine of that specific cat, not of others.
As soon as the cat has done her business, let her out and drain the beans into a waiting jar. We need not reiterate that the jar should be a sterilized one that can be sealed tightly.
Of course, your cat could look through your attempt and see that the dried beans are not litter material. For no reason should you use dried rice though. These tend to get soggy fast, contaminating the urine sample in the process.
#4: Get it While the Cat’s Peeing
This method is self-explanatory. Should all else fail, this is the one we recommend. To make it work, the cat parent needs to choose a time when they are less busy or can be with the cat for long periods at a stretch.
It starts with getting your cat as comfortable as possible and then keeping her in a confined space with you. You could use a cat cage for this stage. Find something interesting (but not totally distracting) to pass the time while your cat’s bladder builds up the fluids.
It could take a while before your cat has to go. If her feeding time is being encroached on and she is still yet to have a bladder movement, don’t wait till she pees before feeding her. You can always try again.
As soon as she starts peeing, set a cup underneath her to collect some of the pee. It is perfectly okay if you miss the first couple of times of trying this. With more trials, you’ll be able to get your sample.
Likewise, we prefer that you collect the urine with another cup (likewise sterile) and then transfer it to the sealable jar afterward. That way, you don’t get the transport jar all messy.
Understanding the Mid-Stream Urine Principle
When collecting your cat’s urine, you should aim at collecting that from the mid-stream. This means the urine that comes out after the first spurt and before the last one.
The importance of sticking to this model is to ensure the sample collected is affected by neither bacteria from your hands nor from the walls of the urethra.
Encouraging the Cat to Pee
To make the process faster, we recommend providing water for your cat in an enclosed space. The aim of the enclosure is to aid with proper monitoring for the collection of the urine when it comes out.
There is only so much water a cat can take. If there’s some moist cat food around, now’s the time to break them out.
See Also: How to Make Homemade Cat Food
That said, at no point should you force the cat to take more water or overfeed them with the moist food. Peeing is a natural process, such that you don’t want to get your cat uncomfortable before they go.
How Long Can You Store the Urine For?
It is advisable to take the urine sample to the vet’s office immediately after you’ve collected it from your cat. Letting a urine sample stand for just 2 hours under room temperature can lead to significant changes in the composition, causing possible inaccuracy in the resulting urinalysis.
If you won’t be taking it to the vet’s immediately, you can keep the sample in a cooler or store it on ice. With a warm prevalent temperature, it is also advised that you keep the sample on ice during transport to the vet’s.
However, take caution that you must not freeze the urine sample in the process of preserving it.
When there are no other alternatives to getting to the vet’s office right way, you can keep the sample cooled for up to 24 hours.
With the proposed methods above, you should be able to get a relatively uncontaminated or even a pure urine sample from virtually any type of cat. On the off-chance that you are finding it difficult to get through to your cat still, a visit to the vet is deemed necessary.
If you’ve got even more creative methods of collecting urine samples from a cat, let’s hear about them in the comments. Share your story with us below! When encouraging your cat to pee, chances are you will end up making her drink more water. This isn’t harmful in itself, but how much is too much? Read our article on how much water should cats drink to find out.