News & Advice

What is a ‘blocked cat’? It’s an emergency!

Jul 13, 2022 | Cats, Pet Health

Georgie Rosendaal, Veterinarian, Anexa Vets Morrinsville

Being in the midst of winter brings to a head many different issues in our beloved pets. One illness we are seeing frequently is a urinary obstruction in male cats, though it can happen any time of the year. This is colloquially known as a “blocked cat”. This occurs when a cat cannot urinate because of a blockage in the urethra, which is the tube from the bladder to the penis. It usually occurs in male cats, as they have a much narrower urethra than female cats. This is classed as an emergency, and if not caught early and treated effectively, it can be fatal. We see this more in winter, as cats are less keen to go outside to urinate, they hold on, and can develop mucus plugs or crystals that block their urethra.


Which cats get ‘blocked’?

These cats tend to be male, neutered, indoor, overweight, fed supermarket food or have a very varied diet.


What does a ‘blocked cat’ do? Common signs include:

  • straining to go to the toilet (often looks like constipation)
  • increased frequency of urination
  • lethargy,
  • pain when being picked up around the tummy
  • vomiting
  • vocalising
  • appearing lame in the back legs
  • hunched.

Remember, a blocked cat is an emergency, so if your cat is showing any of the above signs, call your vet clinic or after-hours emergency clinic immediately.


The best measures you can take to reduce the risk of this disease in your cat include:

  • Feeding them a diet approved by your veterinarian
  • Keeping them at a healthy weight and promote an active lifestyle
  • Having enough litter boxes in your house for all your cats plus one extra
  • Having plenty of fresh water available
  • Consider pet insurance as this disease is costly to treat due to its severity

If you have any questions, feel free to give Anexa vets a call or email and book in a consult to discuss your cat’s health. Always call if it is an emergency or you suspect your cat is ‘blocked’.




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