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7 Reasons Your Cat is Peeing A Lot

White Persian cat stepping out of the litter box
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Cat pee is a natural and expected aspect of feline life. But if your cat is peeing a lot, it may be a sign your kitty has an underlying health concern that needs attention.

This article explains reasons behind increased urination in cats and provides tips to care for your whiskered companion. But first, let’s cover some basics.

How Often Do Cats Pee? 

Understanding what’s normal when it comes to your cat’s bathroom habits is the first step to identifying any potential health concerns. On average, cats urinate between 2 to 4 times a day, says Dr. Paige Adams, veterinarian at Etowah Veterinary Hospital in Marietta, Georgia. 

However, this frequency can vary depending on a few factors, which Dr. Adams says are mostly related to water intake:  

  • Diet: Cats that eat wet food may urinate more frequently. This is due to the higher water content in wet food. Cats that consume only (or mostly) dry food might pee less often.
  • Hydration: Cats that drink more water will urinate more frequently.
  • Activity: Cats that are more active tend to drink more water, which results in more urination.

Age and health conditions can also be factors. Kittens might urinate more than adult cats due to their smaller bladder capacity. Senior cats might experience an increase in urination due to health issues like kidney disease or diabetes.

Signs of Excessive Urination in Cats 

There are a few key signs that pet parents should look for says Dr. Beth Waisburd, a principal veterinarian at Small Door Veterinary in Brookline, Massachusetts. 

These include: 

Increased Frequency of Urination

The most obvious sign is when your cat starts visiting the litter box more often than usual. Keeping track of how often your cat uses the litter box can help you notice any significant changes.

Urinating Outside the Litter Box

If your cat is peeing outside the litter box, it could signal they are experiencing urinary tract discomfort. Some cats might pee right next to the litter box, while others might pee all around the house. Don’t scold or punish your cat for inappropriate urination, as it’s likely not something they can control. Plus, added stress might make the condition worse. Calmly clean it up and schedule an appointment with your vet. 

Straining to Urinate

A cat who is straining to urinate may sit in their litter box trying to pee, with nothing coming out. This is an emergency that should be addressed by a veterinarian immediately.

Blood in Urine

Normal cat urine should be a light yellow color. The presence of blood in your cat’s urine (which can appear either red or pink) is a serious symptom. Other color changes — such as dark yellow, orange, or brown — should also be brought to a veterinarian’s attention.

Drinking More Water

If your cat is drinking a lot of water, their urine output will also increase.

The best way to catch differences in your cat’s urination habits is to observe and track their behavior. This provides a baseline for what’s normal. You’ll then be able to notice if and when changes occur.

Using Great Pet Care’s health journal allows you to note how often your cat is peeing. You can also track if there are other symptoms to discuss with your veterinarian.  

7 Possible Reasons Your Cat Is Peeing A Lot

If you’ve noticed a marked increase in your cat’s urination or any of the other symptoms above, underlying health conditions could be to blame. Dr. Waisburd and Dr. Adams share common reasons that may be behind your cat’s frequent trips to the litter box.

Kidney Disease

Kidney disease is prevalent in cats, especially as they age. The kidneys play a crucial role in filtering waste from the blood. They also maintain the body’s balance of fluids and electrolytes. 

When the kidneys are compromised, they may not concentrate urine effectively. This leadins to increased urination, says Dr. Waisburd. Other symptoms of kidney disease may include weight loss, vomiting, and increased thirst.


Diabetes is a condition that affects the ability of a cat’s body to properly use sugar (glucose) for energy. In a healthy cat, food is broken down during digestion to produce glucose, which then enters the bloodstream. The pancreas produces insulin, a hormone that helps glucose move from the blood into the cells of the body where it can be used for energy. 

In a cat with diabetes, the body either doesn’t produce enough insulin or can’t effectively use the insulin it does produce. This causes high levels of glucose in the blood. Two of the key symptoms of this condition are increased thirst and increased urination. 


Hyperthyroidism is a condition where the thyroid gland produces an excessive amount of thyroid hormone. “An overactive thyroid can result in increased water intake and urination,” says Dr. Waisburd.

Other symptoms of hyperthyroidism might include weight loss, increased appetite and hyperactivity.   

Urinary Tract Infections

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are a common cause of increased drinking and urination,” says Dr. Adams. Some symptoms of cat UTIs include increased frequency of small amounts of urine, straining to urinate, blood in the urine and, sometimes, urinating outside of the litter box, she adds. 

Urinary Crystals and Bladder Stones

Urinary crystals are tiny, microscopic crystals that can form in a cat’s urine. When minerals in the urine crystallize, bladder stones can develop in a cat’s bladder. These hard, stone-like structures can vary in size, from as small as a grain of sand to as large as a pebble or even bigger. 

“The most common way we find these is by looking for the cause of inappropriate or overall changes in urinary habits,” says Dr. Adams. “This is usually an incidental finding related to looking for a urinary tract infection. And usually, if a cat has crystals and/or stones then we tend to also find a UTI.” 

Medication Side Effects 

Some medications can cause increased urination as a side effect. “The most common medication that causes increased drinking and urination is steroids,” says Dr. Adams. Some conditions for which a cat may be placed on steroids include itching, allergies, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and gastrointestinal lymphoma, adds Dr. Adams.


Aging alone is not an underlying cause of increased urination, explains Dr. Adams. “That being said, if an older cat changes behavior and is displaying abnormal urination, I would encourage the [pet parent] to bring the cat to the vet so they can look for the underlying cause (likely one of the other reasons above),” she says.

What to Do If Your Cat Is Peeing More Than Normal 

If your cat’s urination habits have changed, it’s crucial to consult with your veterinarian. “The urgency of the appointment depends on the cat’s overall behavior and clinical signs,” says Dr. Adams.

For instance, if your cat is frequently visiting the litter box, straining during urination with minimal or no urine output, or persistently licking his genital area, take him to your veterinarian or a pet emergency clinic immediately. These symptoms, particularly straining to pee, might indicate a urinary blockage — a condition in which the urethra (the tube that transports urine from the bladder to the exterior) is obstructed. A urinary blockage is a medical emergency that requires immediate veterinary intervention. Failure to promptly diagnose and treat this condition can be fatal. 

“If the cat is able to urinate and is just doing so more often, then an appointment with the veterinarian should still be scheduled, but waiting for the first available appointment may be okay,” says Dr. Adams.

The veterinarian will perform exams and tests to diagnose the cause of excessive urination. According to Dr. Waisburd, this might include:

  • A physical examination: During a physical exam, the veterinarian will assess your cat’s overall health. As a pet parent, your observations are invaluable. Sharing detailed information about signs and symptoms you’ve noticed can assist in forming a more accurate diagnosis.
  • Urinalysis: A urinalysis is a common test. It analyzes the cat’s urine for the presence of blood, crystals, bacteria or other abnormalities.
  • Blood tests: Blood tests can help identify conditions such as diabetes or kidney disease.
  • Imaging: Ultrasound or X-rays visualize the bladder and kidneys. This helps to detect the presence of bladder stones, tumors, or other abnormalities.

Treating Excessive Urination in Cats

The treatment for excessive urination in cats will depend on the underlying cause. Here are some of the possible treatments: 

Kidney Disease: For cats diagnosed with kidney disease, treatment may include medication, dietary changes, and possibly intravenous or subcutaneous fluids to help manage dehydration and electrolyte imbalances.

Diabetes: If diabetes is the cause of excessive urination, your vet may prescribe insulin injections to help regulate your cat’s blood sugar levels. Dietary modifications and regular monitoring of blood sugar levels may also be necessary.

Hyperthyroidism: Treatment for hyperthyroidism involves the use of medications – like methimazole or Felimazole – that reduce the production of thyroid hormone. Other treatments may include radioactive iodine therapy to destroy the overactive thyroid tissue or surgery to remove the affected gland.

Urinary Tract Infections: UTIs are generally treated with antibiotics to clear the infection. Your vet may also recommend dietary changes or supplements to prevent future infections.

Urinary Crystals or Bladder Stones: Treatment for urinary crystals or bladder stones may include dietary changes, increased water intake, medication or, in some cases, surgery to remove the stones.

Medication Side Effects: If excessive urination is a side effect of a medication your cat is taking, your vet may adjust the dosage or prescribe a different medication.

Aging: If your senior cat is experiencing increased urination, work with your vet to determine the underlying cause and develop a tailored treatment plan.  

While it can be concerning to notice your cat peeing a lot, it’s important to remember that many underlying causes of excessive peeing in cats are manageable with the right care and treatment. 

By being observant of changes in your cat’s behavior, consulting with your veterinarian promptly, and following through with the recommended treatment plan, you can help ensure your feline friend maintains a healthy and comfortable life.