What could cause my cat’s urine to smell strong?



We have a 14-year-old, female, half feral, cat. During the past couple of weeks we have noticed that her urine smells very strong, very different than ever before. She is eating
and drinking normally and does not appear to have difficulty urinating and the amount she is passing seems normal. Do you think that her strong scented urine is an indication that there is something sinister/pathological going on?

Portsmouth, England

A sudden change in the odor of an animal’s urine is usually a sign of a medical problem. A bladder infection is most likely, but diabetes and other diseases also may contribute to urine that does not smell normal.

Bladder infections lead to a variety of symptoms. An affected cat may urinate more often, or may attempt to urinate unsuccessfully. Blood may be present in her urine, or her urine may have an unusual smell. She may cry while urinating, or urinate outside of the litter box. Some cats vomit, hide, refuse to eat, or lick their abdomen in the area of the bladder. Some cats show many of these symptoms. Some show only one, or none.

Bladder infections are very painful, and they can spread to the kidneys. However, most bladder infections can be cured with antibiotics if they are caught early.

A veterinarian should assess your cat as soon as possible. Even if she does not have a bladder infection, it is important to determine what has caused the change in her urine and treat it appropriately.

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