Whether you’ve got a diabetic cat, a cat with frequent UTIs, or it’s just time for the yearly exam, these usually all involve collecting urine. If you’ve never had to do this before, you might be asking yourself, “How in the heck am I supposed to do that?” Or if you’ve done it before but you’ve always wondered if there were easier ways to do it, continue reading!
Do I have to collect urine from my cat?
First of all, yes, if your vet asks you to do it, it is important that you follow through. Next, if you are not successful in collecting urine, there is a second option, but it is a little more uncomfortable for your cat to go through. It is called cystocentesis, and it is a process where a veterinary technician or veterinarian will use a long needle to insert into the lower abdomen and into the bladder to quickly collect urine with a syringe. It is a quick procedure that doesn’t take but a mere 10 or so seconds, but it can be difficult to do in frightened or aggressive cats. So, unless your vet needs a “sterile” sample for something like doing a culture to see what’s causing the frequent infections, then just a home-caught urine sample will do.
How do I collect cat urine?
There are two choices for doing this at home; buying special kitty litter or making your own. There are two types of kitty litter that were created specifically for the purpose of collecting urine at home. One is non-absorbent litter, which are pellet-like beads that do exactly that, not absorb the urine. You can just sort of sift the urine through the pellets and pour directly into the sample container. The second one is called hydrophobic, which doesn’t allow the urine to mix with the litter. Instead, the urine ends up magically floating on top, where you can then use a pipette or syringe to suck it up and put into the container.
If you prefer to make your own and save some cash, then you can just use plastic as “litter”. Many vet offices, for example, collect syringe caps and use those when a sample is needed from a patient. You could also use straws cut into smaller cylinders, bottle caps, and other similar plastic objects, as long as they aren’t sharp and can be washed/disinfected. Of course, you’ll want to wash them with soap and water (as well as the tray) and then thoroughly dry before using to avoid dirt and debris from interfering with the results.
Things to Keep in Mind
*If you have more than one pet in the household, separate your cat by placing them in a room or bathroom until they urinate.
*You can speed up the process by offering chicken broth or fish broth to increase their water intake.
* Keep an eye out. You’ll want the sample to be as fresh as possible. So, try collecting it right after your cat urinates, then place it in the refrigerator or take it to the vet immediately after.
*Watch out for poop! If your cat has a bowel movement, you’ll have to remove it and disinfect the area (or all of it). This is because the stool can contaminate the urine and cause an error in the results.
Below are three of the most common cat litters used for collecting urine…if you go to the bottom page of the third link, you’ll see a reviewer has posted a photo of how the urine stays on the surface of the hydrophobic sand, in case you want to see how that looks. Pretty cool, if you ask me 🙂