When nature calls, cats usually answer right away. But sometimes, for one reason or another, they hold it in. And while it’s not necessarily harmful to a cat to delay urination or defecation for a short time, prolonged abstinence can lead to serious health problems.
So how long can a cat go without peeing? Let’s figure that out.
How Long Can a Cat Go Without Peeing
The specifics regarding toilet habits may vary from one cat to the next, going anywhere from two to six times a day. The number depends mainly on the age, health, and diet of the cat in question, as well as additional factors such as chronic health problems, medication, environmental heat, and humidity.
With that in mind, how long can a cat go without using the bathroom to pee?
Well, the answer is between 24 and 48 hours, with the average feline being able to hold it for about 36 hours. While it’s not ideal to have your cat do this, it’s not necessarily harmful. Anything that exceeds 48 hours is a cause for concern, and you should consult your veterinarian as soon as possible.
As for the number two, felines usually go once or twice a day, although some may only go every other day. What applies to one cat may not necessarily apply to another, so it’s best to keep an eye on your cat’s bathroom habits and look for any changes that may occur.
But how long can a cat go without pooping? Kitties that usually poop once a day can hold it in for up to 36 hours without any health consequences. Those that typically take a trip to the litter box every other day shouldn’t go any further than 48 hours without pooping. Anything over that may be an indication of a more severe problem.
Why Is Your Cat Not Peeing or Pooping
Changes in the number of bathroom visits are usually a combination of several factors. Felines tend to be creatures of habit, so anything that disrupts their daily routine can cause a change in their bathroom habits. The usual culprits include:
Stress and Anxiety
Much like humans, cats can get stressed out by changes in their environment. This may include anything from a new pet or baby in the house to renovations and construction work. Even a change in the type or brand of litter can cause some cats to hold it in.
The easiest way you can soothe a frustrated or anxious kitty is by making an introduction to new people or animals gradually and keeping their litter box in a quiet, out-of-the-way place. The transition should be smooth as possible to prevent stress and anxiety from disrupting your pet’s bathroom habits.
If your cat has separation anxiety, give them plenty of attention and playtime when you’re home. Spending quality time with your feline friend will help ease their mind and make them feel more comfortable when you’re not around.
An injury, no matter how minor, can interfere with how your cat uses the litter box. If the pain is bad enough, your cat may start to associate the act of urinating or defecating with discomfort and start avoiding the litter box altogether.
Simple accidents like falls or bumps may damage the cat’s pelvic nervous system, making it difficult or even impossible for them to urinate normally. In more serious cases, urinary blockages in the bladder and urethra may occur, which can be life-threatening if left untreated.
An undiagnosed urinary tract disease may prevent your pet from peeing or pooping normally. Cystitis is one of the most common conditions and is characterized by bladder inflammation. It’s usually caused by a bacterial infection that results in painful and frequent urination and blood in the urine in some cases.
If left untreated, it may lead to kidney disease and even failure. Your pet will start drinking more water to compensate for the increased urination, which may cause them to urinate even more and worsen the condition. Extreme tiredness and loss of appetite may also be present.
A rather unsuspecting medical condition called hyperthyroidism can also interfere with your cat’s regular bathroom visits. This occurs when the thyroid gland produces too much of the hormone thyroxine, which speeds up the metabolism and causes several different symptoms, including weight loss, increased appetite, and painful urination.
Finally, diabetes and fluctuations in blood sugar levels can make it difficult for your cat to urinate normally. High sugar levels in the urine create an environment ripe for bacterial growth, resulting in infections and tissue inflammation.
Dehydration and Constipation
Your cat’s water intake and output should be roughly the same. If there’s an imbalance, it may lead to dehydration, which can make it difficult for your cat to urinate. Symptoms include decreased urination, dry mouth, sunken eyes, and lethargy.
Similarly, if your kitty isn’t drinking enough water, it may become constipated. This means that their stool will be hard and dry, and they’ll have difficulty passing it. The less water your cat drinks, the more likely they are to suffer from constipation.
Your cat not peeing or pooping can be a direct result of certain nutritional deficiencies. For example, a lack of fiber in their daily meals can lead to constipation, while too much sodium can cause dehydration.
A change in diet, such as switching to wet food or a new type of kibble, can also cause some cats to hold it in. This is usually because they don’t like the taste or texture of their new food and may need some time to get used to it.
What Should You Do When Your Cat Can’t Poop or Pee
If your cat is having difficulty urinating or defecating, you might be able to try a few things at home to help them out.
Maintaining a clean and tidy litter box is essential. Hygiene is crucial in preventing infection and keeping your cat comfortable. A dirty box can put off even the least fastidious of felines.
If you don’t have the time or energy to do regular check-ups on its condition, consider investing in an automatic self-cleaning litter box. These can be a bit pricey, but they’ll save you a lot of hassle (and scooping) in the long run.
Next, place the littler box in a familiar and easily accessible spot. If your cat has to put a lot of effort to take care of business, they’re less likely to use it and resort to holding it in instead.
You can relieve their bladder through a process called manual expression. This is done by gently pressing the area around their anus to help them release urine. If you’re not comfortable doing this, take them to the vet so they can do it for you.
If your cat is constipated, try feeding them a high-fiber diet or giving them a stool softener. Foods that contain large amounts of fiber include pumpkin, wheat bran, and oats. You can also give them a small amount of mineral oil to help lubricate their stool and make it easier to pass.
Massaging their tummy in a clockwise direction may also help to stimulate their digestive system and get things moving along. You can even press down their lower abdomen with a warm, wet cloth to help them relieve themselves.
But if home remedies don’t seem to be working and your pet seems to be in great pain, it’s best to take them to the vet right away. They’ll be able to properly diagnose the problem and recommend the best course of treatment.
Frequently Asked Questions
How often do cats pee?
A cat urinates from two to six times a day on average, but this is based on age, health, diet, and water consumption.
How long can cats hold their pee?
Most felines can go without peeing for 24 to 48 hours without experiencing any adverse effects. However, if your cat is holding it in for longer, it may indicate more serious medical conditions.
There you have it—the answer to the question of how long a cat can go without peeing. As much as we love our furry friends, sometimes they don’t seem to understand the importance of using the litter box. The good news is that, in most cases, the problem can be resolved with a few lifestyle changes and a simple round of medication.