Cat Pee 101: Is My Cat’s Urine Normal?

Nobody likes a smelly litterbox. While even the cleanest kitty condo will possess a particular perfume, how can a cat guardian separate stinky from sickly? How can you tell if your cat’s urine is normal?

Normal cat urine
Observing your cat’s urine is perhaps the biggest challenge. Most felines demand total isolation when using the litterbox, making monitoring nearly impossible. With a little creativity and commitment, here are a few clues to reassure you that your cat is urinating normally:

Normal cat urine frequency
Cats evolved from the dry, arid regions of Mesopotamia1. Water was scarce, so they developed clever systems to maintain hydration. As a result, most healthy, adult indoor cats will urinate twice a day on average. How frequently your cat urinates will be influenced by water consumption, heat and humidity, amount of moisture in the food, and medical conditions such as kidney disease, bladder infections, liver problems, hormonal imbalances, and more2. It’s essential to know your cat’s normal daily urination and defecation habits. Some cats are perfectly fine urinating five times a day, while for others, that would signal a dramatic increase. Many cats use the litterbox only once or twice a day,and going four times would signal a problem. If your cat suddenly begins urinating more or less than usual, don’t delay. Any changes in frequency of urination should be checked by your veterinarian immediately.

Check out 6 Surprising Kidney Disease Facts for Cats >>

Normal cat urine color
Normal cat urine should be a clear, pale yellow3. "Golden” or “straw-colored” are often used to describe the yellowish hue of healthy urine. The urine shouldn’t be cloudy or difficult to see through. Changes in color (dark or light), cloudiness, or particulate matter (floating debris) are most often associated with bladder or kidney conditions.

Normal cat urine odor
If you have an adult, spayed or neutered cat, chances are your feline’s urine smell isn’t too strong. Normal urine will have a slightly pungent, acidic scent3 that is fairly inoffensive and generally weak.

Abnormal cat urine
Many cats experiencing a bladder or kidney problem will urinate outside the litterbox4. I tell cat guardians if their kitty is having “accidents” in the house, there is potential for serious disease and immediate veterinary attention is recommended.

Abnormal cat urine frequency
Any increase or decrease in frequency of urination is a concern. Decreased urination, often associated with straining, or vocalization can signal a urethral blockage, and more commonly occurs in male cats.5This type of obstruction can become life-threatening within hours. Increased urination can also be associated withbladder infections and cystitis (inflammation), a painful condition. More frequent urination can also be caused by diabetes, kidney disease, and behavioral problems. Going to the litterbox more or less frequently or urinating in unusual places may be the only way your cat can call for help. Heed the call quickly.

Abnormal cat urine color
The most common color change cat guardians report to me is dark or bloody urine. Frantic feline families call me describing a red-stained trail from litterbox to food bowl. If you notice any change in color, especially red-tinged urine, notify your veterinarian at once. My biggest worry is that blood clots, debris such as crystals or swelling due to inflammation or infection may lead to obstruction of the urethra, causing potentially life-threatening inability to urinate. Urethral blockage can occur in a few hours, making speedy medical or surgical treatment critical. Other changes to look out for are colorless urine. Pale, watery urine without a healthy golden glow often indicate dilute urine, a sign of kidney disease or diabetes. In general, if the color or constancy change is significant enough for you to notice, it’s significant enough to have it checked by your veterinarian.

Abnormal cat urine odor
Because odor is subjective and many cat guardians have developed what we call “olfactory fatigue” when it comes to their litterbox, sniffing a problem scent can be difficult for many. I’ve been bowled over by the scent shockwave when opening many cat carriers, if you know what I mean. Many urine malodors are associated with bladder infections and cystitis(inflammation)6. Tumors and hormonal disorders, especially in male cats, can also cause the urine odor to change dramatically. In general, if you smell something unusual in the litterbox, have your cat examined by your veterinarian.

The bottom line of the litterbox
The bottom line with “normal versus abnormal cat urine” is knowing what is typical for your kitty. Because a cat’s lower urinary tract is extremely susceptible to infection, inflammation, and provides insight into kidney function, diabetes, and other illnesses, observe closely for any changes in frequency, color, and odor. I often advice pet parents that “subtle can be significant” and this is exceptionally true with a cat’s urination. If your cat has abnormal urine, simple blood and urine tests can quickly tell your veterinarian about the appropriate diagnosis, treatment and prognosis. If treated early, most causes of abnormal urine in cats can be corrected and have your cat feeling frisky in no time.

If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian -- they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.


  1. Holden, Constance. "A Fertile Domestication of Cats." Science | AAAS. AAAS, 11 July 2013. Web. 22 Mar. 2017. .
  2. Feyrecilde, Monique, BA, LVT, VTS (Behavior). Cats in Boxes: Feline House Soiling. Pacific Veterinary Conference 2015.
  3. Tyler, Ronald, Jr., DVM, MS. In-House Veterinary Pathology for the Busy Veterinary Practice - Clinical Urinalyses: Techniques and Interpretations. Southwest Veterinary Symposium 2016.
  4. Brooks, Wendy C. DVM, DipABVP. Feline House-Soiling (Inappropriate Elimination). June 30, 2016 (revised).
  5. George, Christopher M., DVM, and Gregory F. Grauer, DVM, MS, Diplomate ACVIM (Small Animal Internal Medicine). "Feline Urethral Obstruction: Diagnosis & Management." Today's Veterinary Practice. NAVC, 01 Sept. 2016.
  6. Weese1, Scott J. DVM, DVSc, DACVIM; Joseph M. Blondeau2; Dawn Boothe3, DVM, MS, PhD; Luca Guardabassi4, DVM, PhD; Nigel Gumley5, DVM, MS, DABVP (C/F); Michael Lappin6, DVM, PhD, DACVIM; Mark G. Papich7, DVM, MS; Shelley C. Rankin8, PhD, DACVCP; Jane E. Sykes9, BVSc, PhD, DACVIM. ISCAID Consensus Statement: Antimicrobial Guidelines for the Treatment of Urinary Tract Infections in Dogs and Cats ACVIM 2016

How Often Should a Cat Pee?

It's tough to tell since every cat has its own way of peeing. Some pee two times a day, while others pee three to four times a day. This depends on what the cat is feeding on and how often it takes water. When you see your cat is peeing less than normal, it's always good to know why.

You can always try to stop your cat from holding their pee by giving them wet foods or canned foods if they do not take enough water. This food is rich in fluids.

But if still, they do not pee as required, then don't hesitate to seek help. Alternatively, you can address their hydration needs if you have cat water fountains.

How to stop your cat from peeing in the sink?

Well, if you see your cat defecating in the sink, it’s better to take her to a vet and know if there’s any medical issue prompting her to do this. Once you have ruled out the medical issue aspect, you are good to go with the following tips and tricks.

1. Litter box changes

If your cat is not using her regular litter box for peeing, you ought to examine the issue or issues with it. If there are issues with the litter box, you must change them.

For example, if the litter box is dirty, wash it and spray some cat scent over it to attract the cat. It’s also an excellent option to clean the litter box 2-3 times a day and deep clean it once a week.

You can also place another litter box at another location in the house to provide her another place to litter.

Try using a large litter box instead of a cramped one to encourage her to use it. Lastly, don’t place the litter box in a noisy place.

2. Changes in the environment

First, if the cat continually moves towards the sink to pee in, start filling the sink with water to discourage her.

As cats are not water-friendly, they won’t dare to come closer to water like the sink filled with water. Another thing you can do is change the brand of the litter. Or you can get her a different place to pee or poo.

3. Keep her happy

It’s a common observation that stressed cats pee more often and don’t mind doing it anywhere they want to.

So, if your cat is feeling stressed or is anxious, try to make it happy. If the cat is happy and stress-free, it won’t pee that often and only do it in its litter box.

4. Ways to prevent cat urine smell in the sink

The smell of the cat’s urine is very sticky and doesn’t go smoothly with simple water.

Hence, you should use some chemicals or other substances and water to wash off the sink’s urine smell. Here are some tips regarding that.

  • Use any enzymatic spray. It will break the acid in the cat’s urine and nullify its smell. It will also leave your sink fresh and odor-free once dry. However, remember that you should not mix the spray with another cleaner to lower down its effectiveness.
  • If not spray, baking soda will also work in this regard. Baking soda contains sodium bicarbonate which is considerable at absorbing excellent and foul odors. So, sprinkle some soda over your cat’s urine and let it sit for some time. Afterward, wash it by scrubbing.
  • A vinegar solution is another cheap option to try out as it is a natural deodorizer and helps cut out the foul odor of your cat’s urine. To create a vinegar solution, mix one-part of vinegar with eight parts of clean water. Mix it well and pour it into the sink and let it sit for a few minutes. Then wash it with water.
  • You can also use some specific cat’s urine smell removing scents.


Though a cat’s life may appear normal to many, it’s not that easy and regular in reality.

The life of a cat is very different from that of other animals, and that’s why they are prone to exhibit abnormal behaviors if their life undergoes specific changes.

These changes may cause bad habits, such as peeing outside their litter box and into a sink or bathtub. No matter the other reasons behind them peeing in the sink, you can change this habit through some efforts.

Hi There, AJ Oren here. I am the founder of this amazing pet blog & a passionate writer who loves helping pet owners to learn more about their pets through my articles. I am also the content manager of this blog. I have experience in pet training and behavior, sheltering, and currently working for a veterinary clinic.

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Please Note:

This website is not intended to replace the professional advice of vets. Please always consult with your vet if you have any concerns about your pets.

If your cat urinates a lot, it could be related to feline diabetes.

How much drinking or peeing is too much?

  • Polyuria (PU):
    • Cats - urine output greater than 40 ml/kg per day.
    • Dogs - urine output greater than 45 ml/kg per day.
  • Polydipsia (PD):
    • Cats - water intake greater than 45 ml/kg per day.
    • Dogs- water intake greater than 90 ml/kg per day.

    For folks in the US, the (rounded) metric conversion is:
    30 milliliters = 1 fluid ounce (2 Tablespoons)
    1 kilogram = 2.2 pounds

    In general terms, that would mean, for example, that a normal 4.5 kg (10-lb.) cat would be expected to have a typical daily urine output of around 180 ml (6 fluid oz.), or less. A typical daily water intake would be in the area of 202 ml (6.75 fluid oz.), or less.

    Of course, each individual cat's normal input/output will probably vary a bit from this.

    There are other reasons that your cat may be eating and drinking more than usual. You cannot make a diagnosis of feline diabetes from this information alone. Your veterinarian must evaluate your cat with laboratory tests.

    Help! My Cat is Peeing Everywhere!

    Urinating outside the litter box occurs frequently in diabetic cats, especially in the early stages of the disease. If your cat's blood sugars are not yet regulated she still has polydipsia (drinks too much) and polyuria (pees too much). She may just not be able to hold the urine until she can make it to a litter box. A common concurrent problem may be a urinary tract infection which would make it difficult for your cat to hold her urine. Have your vet check her for an infection.

    A cat commonly urinating near the box indicates the rejection of the litter or box. Urinating elsewhere is probably a preference for the location or substrate.

    Here are some suggestions:

    Have lots of litter boxes! Have a minimum of two, more if your house is large. If you have more than one kitty, make sure you have one box for each additional kitty, preferably in separate rooms. You might also try giving him a choice of another brand of litter, cats really do have preferences. And keep them clean. You can use deodorizers, but overuse can result in rejection of the box. Cats hate to pee in dirty litter boxes, so of course when they have polyuria, the litter boxes seem to always be dirty. This may mean changing or scooping the litter every day (or even more), but it beats the alternative.

    Does your cat always return to the same areas to pee? If so, be aware that even a healthy cat who has been peeing outside the litter box may return to the scene of the "crime" and continue to pee there, as it now smells like a place to urinate. (A cat's sense of smell is so much more sensitive-- you may not smell it at all, but she does. ) You may need to re clean these areas with an enzyme treatment that actually eliminates any residue. And if the pee was on the carpet, you may need to lift the carpet and treat the pad underneath.

    If your cat is a severe problem, you may want to confine her to an easily cleaned, no carpets portion of the house until she gets better regulated, and/or until you re clean any areas. (This way you can also test if the problem is with her diabetes and lack of regulation, or if these peed on areas are simply designated "litter box" because they retain the pee smell and need to get re cleaned.

    Here are some reader suggestions for dealing with your pesky little cat:

    A number of diabetic pet owners use and like Nature's Miracle, Simple Solution, and others. Whichever product you use, make sure it is enzyme based. These treatments do not harm carpets, and are great to keep around to quickly care for accidents.

    Take a 2 liter club soda, pour out 1/2 cup and replace it with 1/2 cup white vinegar soak the area with this solution, then wet a towel large enough to cover the area with solution and cover area. Walk on towel to pick up surface odor/stain. Replace with another towel. The first day you may need to replace the towel 2 or 3 times. When the towel comes up clean with no stain or odor the treatment is done. It is a pain but seems to work - you might want to try a small area first.

    Most importantly, it will almost certainly just be a matter of time. Reward him with a little treat when you see him using the box. Put something perfumey (kleenex soaked in aromatic oil works really well) wherever his favorite "NO" spots are. Hang in there!

    Cats hate banana and orange peels. Put these peels in the "no" spots (works well for keeping cats off the counters, too). There are also citrus based sprays that kill odors and help deter cats. They are a bit more attractive than banana peels laying around your house!

    If the cat box has a lid, remove it. If the cat box is a "deep" one, get him a shallower one - some cats simply don't like to climb in. If he has any weakness in his back legs, climbing in might be difficult for him. Make a ramp out of cardboard or wood for your cat to aid in getting in to the litter box. Alternatively, get a lower litter box, even if it means you will have to clean up a lot of displaced litter.

    Place the litter box (or a second box) directly over the area he pees on. Then, slowly move it to the desired location.

    It's important to understand why your cat is peeing inappropriately in order to solve the problem. Cats pee on their human's bed or outside their litter box for certain reasons.

    Medical Problems. Your cat’s peeing issue may be because of a health problem. Talk with your vet if you're concerned about your cat's health. They may want to look at your cat and take a urine sample. Once your vet has completed tests on the sample, they will have an idea of the best treatment. Your cat may get pee problems due to any of the following conditions:

    • Urinary tract infection.Kittens rarely develop urinary tract infections, but older cats are more likely to develop an infection. If this is the case, the urinary tract system may be infected by bacteria which causes inflammation. Your vet may suggest antibiotics for the treatment. Once the antibiotic treatment is finished, your vet will recommend follow-up testing to make sure the infection is gone.
    • Metabolic disease. Excessive peeing may be caused by kidney disease. It may also be a result of diabetes or thyroid problems. Your vet may run some blood tests to rule out these conditions.
    • Bladder stones: If your cat has developed bladder stones, they may cause blockage or irritation. Your vet may order X-rays to check the size of the stones. While large stones can be removed surgically, smaller stones can be dissolved using a special diet.


    Behavioral issues. Your cat may pee inappropriately due to certain changes in its behavior. You need to know why your cat has changed their behavior so you can know the reason why they are peeing inappropriately.

    Dirty litter box. Cats are generally sensitive animals. They are very specific about their toilets, and when the litter box is too dirty for your cat to pee, they will prefer to do it somewhere else.


    Your cat may also dislike the location in which you've placed the litter box. The litter box may also be covered, turned over, or preventing your cat from using it in some way. Sometimes, it is the selective nature of cats that causes them to dislike a new litter box. As a result, they won’t use it at all.

    Stress. Your cat may urinate inappropriately because of stress. They may be marking their territory or they may be unhappy with another animal in your house.

    Cats are sensitive to changes in their space. Always be mindful of the space you create for your cats and if it's stressful for them.

    Watch the video: 18 Signs That Your Cat is Sick (July 2021).