Do you look at your cat’s urine when you are cleaning out their litter tray? You should. Their urine may contain some important clues about their health.

Cats are masters of hiding illness from their owners. In fact, changes in urination behaviour and urine appearance might be the first sign you notice that something is wrong with your cat.  

To identify abnormalities in your cat’s urine, you must first learn what normal is. “Normal” will differ slightly between individual cats, but here are some typical characteristics to look for.  

What is the normal urine output for a cat? 

Most healthy cats urinate two to three times a day. The exact amount of urine they produce each time is influenced by hydration status, age, body size, diet, kidney function and many other factors. With how frequently you clean out your cat’s litter tray, you will quickly get an idea of what is a normal volume of urine for them. 

Watch for changes in urination volume and frequency 

Take your cat to the vet if they suddenly start: 

  • Producing larger volumes of urine every day 
  • Urinating smaller volumes, more frequently 

 

Drinking excessively and urinating larger volumes of urine can be a sign of kidney disease or other health issues, such as diabetes, in cats. If you notice these in your cat, it is important to take them to the vet for a checkup. 

If your cat is urinating smaller amounts more frequently, this could be a sign of a blocked urinary tract, which is an emergency in cats. If not a blockage, it is usually triggered by significant irritation within the bladder, causing them to have feelings of urgency and discomfort with their urination.  

If your cat is showing signs of urinary blockage (multiple attempts to urinate with either no on or very small amounts of urine produced), take them to your closest emergency vet ASAP 

What is a normal colour for cat urine? 

Normal cat urine should be a pale-yellow colour and, if you held a vial of it up to the light, it would be see-through. It might be a darker yellow depending on how hydrated your cat is.  

If you use a cat litter that is coloured or dark, it might be hard to assess the appearance of your cat’s urine. Get to know what your litter looks like wet when your healthy cat is using it. If it looks different one day, inspect it closer.  

Watch out for abnormal colours in your cat’s urine 

Abnormal colours in cat urine include: 

  • Red, pink, or red-brown urine – This could be caused by blood in your cat’s urine. 
  • Dark brown – This may be a sign of muscle breakdown or high levels of blood in the urine  
  • Yellow-brown or yellow-orange – This could indicate your cat may be very dehydrated or have a medical condition, such as a liver issue. 
  • Completely clear urine – this could be a sign your cat’s kidneys aren’t functioning properly, or they are drinking excessively because of another medical condition. 
  • Cloudy urine, that is difficult/hazy to see through – this could be a sign of inflammation, infection, or another issue.  

If you notice any colour variation outside the usual light yellows in your cat’s urine, take them to your veterinarian for a thorough check-up and investigation. 

What about crystals? Can you see them in cat pee? 

Urinary crystals are invisible to the naked eye, but they can be seen under a microscope. Urine that contains a large number of crystals may have a cloudier appearance or have a thicker layer of sediment form at the bottom when left to sit in a container, but you cannot see the individual crystals. 

What is the normal pH of cat urine? 

Cat urine is normally mildly acidic, with the normal pH range being between 6.0 to 6.5. Carnivores tend to have more acidic urine because of their diet, whereas herbivores have more alkaline urine. 

Unless you are using health monitoring cat litter, which changes colour depending on the pH of urine, or using a urine dipstick test, it is very unlikely you will detect a change in pH in your cat’s urine.  

pH can be influenced by urinary tract problems, like a urinary tract infection (UTI), systemic health problems such as diabetes and hyperthyroidism, diet, and other factors. Both increases and decreases in pH can increase the likelihood of urinary crystals and bladder stones forming. 

What are the signs of urinary tract health problems in cats? 

Common signs of urinary tract health problems in cats include: 

  • Blood in the urine and other changes to urine colour and appearance 
  • Urinating more frequently but producing little to no urine 
  • Urinating larger volumes  
  • Straining to urinate 
  • Urinating in unusual places 
  • Licking genitals (urinary tract exit point) excessively 
  • Excessive water intake 

 

If you notice any abnormal changes to your cat’s urine or urination behaviour, please have them seen by your local veterinarian