There are many different conditions that can become present in your cat’s urine. These most often indicate a specific factor about the health of your cat and maybe a sign that something is wrong.
When your cat’s urine is thick and sticky, this is usually a sign of an underlying medical problem. These problems range from mild to severe, some being easily treatable and others requiring lifelong accommodation.
This article will discuss how to identify thick and sticky cat urine, the different causes of this urine condition, and what you should do when your cat is experiencing it.
Identifying thick and sticky cat urine
Thick and sticky cat urine is often described as being thick like syrup or jelly.
Cat urine of this consistency may tend to clump up on its own and, therefore, will not absorb into litter properly, making it noticeable when you are working to clean out your cat’s litter box.
Additionally, thick and sticky cat urine can sometimes have abnormal colors. These colors include the urine being dark yellow or orange, and may also involve urine presenting as cloudy rather than clear or transparent.
It is not always easy to tell the color of your cat’s urine, especially in the litter box, but if signs of abnormally colored urine are noticed, they are likely related to the same problem.
Cat urine with a thick and sticky consistency is more likely to have a strong, foul-smelling odor.
Contrary to popular belief, healthy cat urine should not produce any strong smells, especially if your cat’s litter box is kept adequately clean.
Because of this, any noticeable odors that occur, in addition to a change in urine consistency, are typically signs of a health problem.
Sometimes, unhealthy cat urine can have a sweet smell to it; this smell can be related to hormonal changes in unspayed or unneutered cats.
But if the sweet smell in your cat’s urine is especially strong, it could be a sign of sugar being present in your cat’s urine.
Unhealthy cat urine that does not contain concentrations of sugar may otherwise have a musty, pungent odor that can begin to smell like ammonia in more humid environments.
Cats experiencing urine with an unusual consistency or odor are also likely to show other abnormal behaviors related to urine problems.
These behaviors include spraying more than normal, even in female cats or neutered male cats, and typically also include patterns of urinating outside of the litterbox or in otherwise unusual areas.
Cats with thick urine are likely to show an increased need for drinking water, and may prefer to seek out water from multiple sources throughout the day.
They may also refuse to drink water that does not seem fresh or sanitary to them.
Cats with any urination issues are also likely to experience fatigue and extra tiredness as their bodies attempt to cope with the underlying cause of the issue.
3 causes of thick and sticky cat urine
#1 Bladder infection
Bladder infections are one potential cause of thick and sticky cat urine. Other symptoms of a bladder infection in cats include difficulties passing urine, increased attempts to urinate, and only passing a small amount of urine at a time.
Cats may cry out in distress when urinating, may make failed attempts to urinate, and are also known to lick themselves more excessively during this type of illness.
Bladder infections often result from unsanitary conditions in your cat’s litterbox. A litterbox that is not scooped and regularly refreshed with clean litter can harbor harmful bacteria for your cat, even if odors are well-masked by your choice of litter.
Bladder infections and related urinary tract infections can also be caused by other temporary health disturbances, such as occasional diarrhea if your cat consumes something that is not intended for pet consumption.
Bladder infections in cats can be caused by bacterial and yeast infections, each of which requires a different approach to treatment.
These types of infections can also indicate other more serious problems, especially if they are reoccurring. These more serious problems that can develop include kidney stones and other kidney or liver diseases.
#2 Post-spay infection
Urinary tract infections that occur after the spaying process are known as post-spay infections, and are not considered to be especially uncommon.
Like bladder infections, these infections are more likely to develop if your cat’s litterbox is not adequately sanitary, or can indicate a hygiene problem.
In a post-spay infection, the infected area is typically a remaining portion of the cat’s uterus, but bacteria often enter through the urinary tract.
Post-spay infections are very likely to develop post-operation if your cat did not remain in their Elizabethan collar or head-cone for the required amount of time.
Cats that are allowed to lick fresh wounds almost always distribute unwanted bacteria to these areas, which is why enforcing the use of these collars as prescribed by your veterinarian is essential.
#3 Feline diabetes
Feline diabetes occurs more often among senior cats, typically as a sign of old age. Just like in humans, this disease happens when your cat’s pancreas loses its ability to produce insulin.
Insulin is necessary for the proper breakdown of any sugars in your cat’s diet.
This inability to properly digest these sugars leads to them being passed into the urine, creating urine that has a thick, sticky consistency and a sweet smell.
There are also other signs of feline diabetes that are not related to the urine qualities we have already discussed, such as an increased appetite coupled with unexplainable weight loss.
Feline diabetes is manageable, but typically requires long-term treatment and administration of insulin.
What should you do about it? (4 steps)
Step 1: Contact your vet
If your cat is experiencing thick and sticky urine, it is important to contact your veterinarian or another licensed animal care practitioner soon.
Although this condition is usually not immediately life-threatening, it can quickly develop into a more serious problem if left untreated for too long.
We recommend taking your cat to the vet for a check-up. If you cannot do so for any reason, you might be able to describe your cat’s symptoms to your vet on the phone to receive medical advice.
Your vet should be able to determine the source of your cat’s sticky and thick urine, and will be able to direct you toward the most appropriate treatments for your situation.
Step 2: Get a urinalysis
A urinalysis, or urine analysis, is a test that vets often recommend for cats experiencing any urination issues.
A urinalysis test is the best diagnostic tool for these types of problems because it can determine the health status of many of your cat’s vital organs.
A urinalysis can sometimes be difficult because it involves collecting a urine sample from your cat.
Luckily, most veterinarians have advice for this procedure that is dependent on the specific type of urinalysis test that is used in their practice.
Step 3: Follow medical advice
After receiving instructions for treating your cat’s condition, it is essential to follow all medical advice. This includes giving your cats any prescribed medicines, such as antibiotics.
Often, cats will refuse to ingest these medications, making it necessary to mix them into a special treat to entice your pet.
Some pet owners use canned fish to dose medicines, as most cats will consume this without question. While this is a reliable method of getting your cat to take their medicine, we recommend doing it only as a last resort due to the high sodium content of canned fish products.
Even options that are considered low-sodium for humans can have devastatingly heavy doses of sodium for your pet, which will exacerbate any health issues that they are experiencing.
If your cat is recovering from an infection, it is recommended to keep their litter box even cleaner than you normally would throughout their healing process.
This will prevent the chances of any reinfections from occurring and keep your cat from collecting infectious waste materials on its paws and fur. This step is crucial if your cat shares a litter box with other cats.
Step 4: Pay attention to the water
One final important step in aiding your cat’s healing process is providing clean and fresh drinking water.
Although most owners leave water out for their cats on a constant basis, many cats find water that has become stale, stagnant, and unappealing.
While humans sometimes cannot recognize it, cats have a delicate sense of smell that can detect when unhealthy bacteria have begun to develop in a stagnant water source.
Any pieces of backwash or other debris in your cat’s water container can lead to bacteria developing. While not always immediately harmful, the presence of this bacteria can deter your cat from drinking enough water, so it is important to regularly provide fresh and clean water containers.