How to collect a urine sample?

This forum is for cat lovers seeking everyday advice and suggestions on health-related issues. Remember, however, that advice on a public forum simply can't be a substitute for proper medical attention. Only your vet can say assuredly what is best for your cat.

Mr. Spot

they call me MR.- Spot
Purred: Mon Jul 4, '11 8:24am PST 
I am taking Mr. Spot to the vet on Thursday for a check up. In an effort to keep costs down they said I could bring a urine sample. HELP!!!
I have 3 cats and they all use the various litter boxes. I know to put him in a room alone with a litter box but then what? They said I could put plain popcorn in the litter box. How much? Does this work.


Merlin - An Angel- Forever

Purred: Mon Jul 4, '11 8:49am PST 
You can use any non-absorbent material in the litter box: fish tank gravel, decorative stones/pebbles, etc. Popcorn kernels may be ok if you can get the urine before it gets absorbed thinking

Just put a inch layer into the bottom of the litter box. When there is urine, just tip the box to empty the urine into a cup.

A free catch urine sample may pick up bateria as it exits the body. If your vet needs to the urine to determine urinary infections and such, you're better off asking the vet to do a cystocensis to get a sterile urine sample.

Miss Puff

carma works,- wish I never- chaced Meow
Purred: Mon Jul 4, '11 11:15pm PST 
Yes, I love your suggestion of the gravel. applause
Just make sure it is rinsed and clean out the pan also.Because the vet would have to use a needle or squeeze the bladder, to retain a sample.

Gumpy Sweet- Boy

Love wrapped in- fur
Purred: Tue Jul 5, '11 6:49am PST 
There is also bacteria in a litter box, if you're going to use that method. Also a sample shouldn't be kept too long before it's looked at because crystals can form if it's sitting around too long before it's looked at. Cystocentesis (urine sample obtained with a needle in the bladder) is the way the vet can get the most uncontaminated sample.

wave Mr Spot, did the vet give you any instructions about getting a sample?

Edited by author Tue Jul 5, '11 6:53am PST


Mr. Spot

they call me MR.- Spot
Purred: Wed Jul 6, '11 7:17am PST 
Jen knows about cleaning the litter box with bleach. It was the vet's office that suggested the plain popcorn. They also said to collect it within 24 hours of the appointment. I think I like the gravel idea.

I unnerstand about the vet using a needle. Problem is Jen is unemployed and that costs more money. That's why we were trying to collect it at home.

Any idea how much needs to be collected?


let no food bowl- be empty
Purred: Thu Jul 7, '11 5:28pm PST 
Hi, Just wondering what the urine is being collected for? They need a sample around 5mls. I would of course get as much as you can. The problem with urinalysis being done from a catch sample, is that there is always bacteria in everything. So there can be bacteria on the fur and the sample can be contaminated just leaving the cat. I totally understand about funds being short. I just don'e want to see you wasting your money on a test that will not be accurate. Of course it depends on what they are looking for. There is no way they can check for bacteria in a catch sample because you cannot create a steril enviornment for the urine once it is outside the body. Refridgerater or not. Also if you are looking for crystals they can break apart and not be there by the time the urine is looked at.

Just a quick little thing about what happens with a urine sample once it is obtained. The urine is collected usually in a 6 cc syringe and then 5 mls go into a sterile test tube and it is spun down in a ceterfuge with low rpms for about 5 minutes. The remaining urine is dripped onto a dipstic and in one minutes the color squares on the strip are compaired to the guide on the bottle. Those test for protien, blood, urobillirubin (bile), nitrate, ph, and a couple of other things that elude my memory rite now. Then a drop of urine is put on the refractometer and the specific gravity is checked. That test shows how concentrated or dilute the urine is. The remaining sample is held up to the light and tested for clarity and color etc. By then the urine is done spining and the majority of the urine is discarded from the test tube and the sediment on the bottom of the test tube is placed onto a microscope slide and examined at a very high power. What they look for is different crystals and bacteria as well as different cells, such as epithelia or white and red blood cells. Along with different casts and such the results are counted and recorded. The test should be done right away as like I said things will change even in a sterile sample once it leaves the body.

Urine is very hard to read and I know the specialist I work with is the only one that will read and record the results of a microscopic urine slide in the hospital where I work. That is because it is very complicated and allot of training and experience goes into understanding what everything is and how to identify what is there. I have read them in other hospitals but still would not trust what i see or think I see.

Some vets prefer to obtain the sample and send it to the lab to be checked. I have done that with Rusty. This is what I found. When I read the slide from a sterile sample obtained with a needle and saw massive bacteria rods and cocci the lab result came back as negative. When I saw cells the lab saw nothing. The strip samples were basically the same. I know i once saw crystals and the lab also saw the same kind of crystals. I have had samples that I saw o ton of bacteria cutured and had the results come back as no growth. Why? Probably a million reasons. But I cannot say I trust a sample being looked at other than immediately. Of course that is just me and I think vets would dissagree.

Now if they are just looking to see what the ph is of the urine or something like that a catch sample is just fine. But and this is important you should not use a cleaner on the little pan that is plastic because the plastic will absorb things and change the ph level. As will bleach or any cleaner. even water if it is left in the pan. So I feel the best way to get a sample if you are just checking the strip results is to try to have no outside influence on the urine. I do this by either using a fake non absorband litter product (which is expensive and not worth it for you I think) or you can try to get lucky and slip a cup or tube or shallow pan under him when he goes. The thing is that you can make your cat neurotic and afraid to urinate by doing this. Also if you lock him up and wait for him to use a litter box he doesn't want to use and a substance he doesn't want to use you run the risk of him holding his urine to long and if there is a problem making it much worse or if has no problem causeing one.

No real easy answer here. Sorry. Try to find out why they want to run the test. Then think about your cat and what his attitude and personality are like and try to go from there. What is his normal litter? There are some litterpans that allow the litter to fall to the bottom of the pan and then are collected with a litter pad of sorts I guess you could use one of those without a pad in it. I don't know. It is hard with cats because the last thing you want to do is to stress him out.

~Caspurr- SnowBerry~- missing an

No one needs- that many toes,- Purrcy.
Purred: Thu Jul 7, '11 6:02pm PST 
I was spraying around the house and my vet wanted to obtain a urine sample to make sure that I didn't have any problems. The vet people gave my mom some plastic litter (it looked like little clear plastic beads) that didn't absorb urine. Mom put it in a new litter box that she cleaned and aired before she put in the beads.
She would put me in the bathroom with the box for an hour or so...it took a few days, but she finally got a sample. The main thing is to try to keep things as clean as possible I guess.
Good luck