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How to Collect a Urine Sample (at home) from your Cat
Urine sample analysis can tell your veterinarian a huge amount about the health of your cat. Infections, kidney disease, some poisonings, many types of bladder problems, and also several serious systemic disease like diabetes all show up in urine testing.
Major tips for collecting a cat urine sample:
Urine samples need to be as clean as possible. If your cat’s urine sample has regular litter or stool in it, we will not be able to analyze the sample.
We need to examine the sample within 24 hours of collection. If you can’t bring the sample right over to the hospital, keep it refrigerated until you can bring it in.
We’d really like a tablespoon of urine (15cc) but we will take whatever we can get! If the sample you bring in is too small, we may not be able to get all the information we need from the urinalysis test.
Any container you use needs to be completely clean and totally dry. A sterile urine cup is best, or you can use a urine collection kit (stop by and pick one up). If you need an alternate container, try a plastic soft butter tub, well washed with soap and hot water and rinsed well. Dry completely with absorbent paper towels before use. Or, run top and bottom of tub through the dishwasher first!
Cats normally only urinate once or twice in 24 hours, so be patient! It usually takes more than 24 hours for a cat to decide it’s OK to use different (non-absorbent) litter.
We need a liquid sample – if soaked into a paper towel, or into litter, it can’t be analyzed. If you have difficulties, call us! We may need to collect the urine sample for you, at the hospital.
Miscellaneous helpful things to know about collecting a urine sample from your cat:
Are you using one of our urine collection kits? If you have more than one cat, isolate the one you need the sample from in a room of it’s own until you get a sample. Make sure the cat has food and water in the room as it can take a day or two. Clean your cat’s litter box thoroughly (scrub with soap and hot water). Dry it with well, so there is no leftover moisture. Dump in the entire container of pellet litter, and set it out for your cat to use. Save the cup and lid. Wait. Then wait some more. Check it several times daily. Keep waiting. If your cat has a stool in the pellets, carefully scoop it out, then wash the remaining pellets and the litter box with hot soapy water and rinse well. Dry the box well. Dry the pellets by spreading them out on paper towels for a few hours. Then try again. If your cat urinates in the pellets, pour litter pellets and urine into the cup. Make sure you add all the urine! There is a new urine collection kit that we may have soon – it uses non-absorbent sand so the urine beads on top!
Other methods for urine collection for cats:
Some cats will allow you to slip a urine cup (or the lid of a urine cup) under them to get a clean, straight out of the cat sample. Wait until your cat squats to try this. Slide the container under your cat from the back. Some cats will use a bare litter box and you can just pour the urine into the cup.