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Cat Urinary System: Vet-Verified Facts, Health Tips & FAQ

Written by: Lorre Luther

Last Updated on April 18, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

cat coming out of a litter box

Cat Urinary System: Vet-Verified Facts, Health Tips & FAQ


Dr. Lauren Demos (DVM) Photo


Dr. Lauren Demos (DVM)


The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Cats’ urinary systems remove waste products, ensure proper electrolyte balance, and help with vitamin D processing. The urinary system has several organs, including the kidneys, bladder, urethra, and ureters, which run from the bladder to the kidneys.

The urethra is the tube through which urine leaves the body. Kidneys help remove waste from cats’ bodies and contribute to the maintenance of electrolyte and mineral balance. They also make the hormones and enzymes required to maintain blood pressure and produce red blood cells. The bladder holds urine until it’s released through the urethra.

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Feline Kidney and Bladder Anatomy

The kidneys are composed of the medulla, renal pelvis, and nephrons. A cat’s bladder anatomy is relatively simple; each has an apex, body, neck, and a series of muscles that allow cats to hold and release urine.

Female Cat Urinary System
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Male Cat Urirary System
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Common Urinary System Health Issues

Cats can suffer from infections almost anywhere in their urinary systems. They can also develop urethral blockages, which are emergency situations that can make it impossible for them to urinate.

Disorders such as amyloidosis and polycystic kidney disease can create severe kidney problems, and cats can be born with bladder, kidney, and urethral deformities. They can also develop conditions such as chronic kidney disease, as well as cancerous and benign tumors.

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Ways to Support Feline Urinary System Health

Pet parents can take several steps to support their companions’ urinary system health, including ensuring they drink enough water, exercise, stay at appropriate weights, and have squeaky-clean litter boxes.


Cats often drink less water than they should for their modern diet, which is hazardous to their health, and ensuring they stay properly hydrated is incredibly important for maintaining healthy urinary systems. Cat fountains can encourage drinking, and wet food is an easy (and tasty) way to boost their hydration.

Cats can be very particular about many things, including the water they drink. The right water fountain can provide your cat with clean, fresh water.

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Weight Management

Obese cats may be at increased risk of developing certain urinary system conditions. Ensuring they stay at appropriate weights is one of the most important things pet parents can do to support their companions’ health.

Ensuring your cat doesn’t gain too much weight is far easier than getting them to drop a few pounds. Most cat food comes with handy feeding information on the package that you can use to determine how much their cats should consume. However, you can also consult your veterinarian for feeding tips and brand recommendations.

Cat paws stand on smart scales that makes bioelectric impedance analysis, BIA, body or weight fat measurement
Image Credit: Koldunov Alexey, Shutterstock

Stress Management

Stress can play a role in the development of urinary problems, and ensuring your cat has a comfortable environment where their needs are met and doing everything possible to minimize stressful events are vital to supporting their mental health.

Cats thrive when they have activities and toys to keep them engaged and entertained. You can buy several toys, including interactive products and food puzzles, that provide mental stimulation and physical activity. Interactive toys can keep your cat happy when you’re away, and plush toys or teasers are ideal when you can engage with them.

They also benefit from having scratchers to keep their claws healthy and high perches to survey their territory. Sticking with routines and providing enough time to adjust to new foods, schedules, and pets makes it easier for them to acclimate to changes.

Looking for toys that cater to the many needs of your cat? The Hepper Hi-lo Cat Scratcher is one of our favorite cat products. Its clever thee-angle design offers multiple ways for your cat to climb, stretch, and exercise. Made of a sturdy plywood base and a replacement cardboard insert, this scratcher is an option that can be enjoyed by cats for years to come. If your cat requires a little encouragement for self-play, the Hepper Plush Mouse Kicker is a fantastic choice. Equipped with bite and kick-resistant fabric, an enticing internal bell, and organic catnip, cats can satisfy their natural prey instincts while getting the physical activity they need to thrive. 

Hepper Mouse kicker toy white cat playing on a scratching postscratcher
Hepper Plush Mouse Kicker Toy Hepper Hi-Lo Scratcher
Multi-level play
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Interactive :
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Promotes exercise
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Satisfies prey-instincts
Satisfies prey-instincts:
Satisfies prey-instincts:

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Litter Box Management

Cats prefer to have clean litter boxes, and daily scooping is essential for their happiness and health. Setting up litter boxes in places where they can’t relax, such as busy hallways or locations where other pets can interrupt them, can make going to the bathroom a less-than-pleasant experience.

When your cat is unhappy with the condition or location of their litter box, they may avoid going to the bathroom as often as they should, which is harmful to their urinary system.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How Do Cats Pee?

Ureters bring urine from the kidneys to the bladder, which stays relaxed until it’s full. When it’s time for a cat to urinate, their bladder wall contracts and their urethral sphincter muscle relaxes to allow urine to leave the body.

Is Spraying the Same as Peeing?

Cats spray to mark their territories, not to relieve themselves. They do so standing up, while most pee squatting.

cat spraying the bush
Image Credit: Helen Liam, Shutterstock

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A cat’s urinary system consists of two kidneys and ureters, a bladder, and a urethra. The kidneys filter waste from the body and are essential for maintaining proper electrolyte balance.

Hormones and enzymes made by the kidneys also play critical roles in red blood cell development and blood pressure regulation. If your cat’s litter box habits change suddenly or you notice other troubling signs, contact your veterinarian to ensure they’re not suffering from an illness or behavioral condition.

Featured Image Credit: Natasha Zakharova, Shutterstock

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