Lack of bladder control in cats

Lack of bladder control in cats

Cats are often susceptible to a lack of bladder control due to many reasons. Fortunately, all of the causes are treatable with good treatment strategy and proper care.



If you observe your cat being unable to control urination, she may suffer from urinary problems. Lack of bladder control is one of the obvious reasons for accidents. Lack of bladder control is also referred to as urinary incontinence.

The urinary system has two parts: the upper and the lower. Urinary incontinence happens when the lower part of the urinary system is compromised. Factually, the lower part of the urinary system may be compromised because of infection, bladder stone, mass or abnormal hormone level.

All these conditions may leave your cat suffering from urinary incontinence. Sit back! Because this article will describe to you everything, from causes to treatments, about urinary incontinence.

What are the symptoms of lack of bladder control?

The first and most obvious sign of bladder control is the presence of puddles of urine on the furniture, carpet and all over the house. As a pet owner, you may confuse it with periuria. It is a behavioural disorder in which a cat shows the same symptoms. However, periuria is something your cat can control. Whereas urinary incontinence is uncontrollable.

The symptoms of urinary incontinence are as follows.

  • Rash of inflammation around the external organs of urination
  • Uncontrolled dribbling of urine
  • Wet fur along legs or underbelly
  • Wet fur around external organs of urination
  • Inappropriate timing of urination
  • Puddles of urine all over the house


What are the types of urinary incontinence?

There are several ways in which a lack of bladder control can occur. Let us discuss them.

Paradoxical incontinence

It is the type of lack of bladder control in which there occurs an obstruction in the pathway of the urinary tract. The obstruction can be caused by a stone in the bladder or urethra and dyssynergia. In both conditions, the flow of urine is obstructed, and urine is prevented from leaving the body.

Overflow incontinence

In this type of impairment, there is a problem with the normal functioning of muscle or lower urinary tract neurons. An impaired muscle function or a loss of neurons' normal function leads to overfilling the bladder. It happens because neurons are unable to transfer the message to the brain to empty the bladder.

In most cases, overflow incontinence is caused by a neurological disorder or illness.

Urethral sphincter incompetence

A sphincter controls the flow of urine until the bladder becomes full. Due to some reason, the sphincter muscle gets weak due to the weakening of the urethra, which leads to leakage of urine every now and then.

The loose sphincter allows urine to pass through when the cat is resting or has abdominal pressure due to coughing. Mature cats mostly suffer from urethral sphincter incompetence. Among mature, pregnant cats or cats who have given birth are more susceptible.

Urge incontinence

This condition develops due to the presence of infection, stone, or crystals. In this condition, your cat is not able to hold continuous bladder contractions. The contractions develop due to the smooth muscles surrounding the bladder.

It is the most likely cause of lack of bladder control. This condition is characterized by frequent blood in urine and frequent urination.



What are the causes of lack of bladder control?

This problem has several causes, and almost all the causes affect the lower urinary tract. Here is a list.

  • Infection of bacteria
  • Infection of yeast
  • Trauma
  • Bladder stones
  • Kidney disease
  • Nerve damage
  • A mass putting pressure on the bladder
  • Ectopic ureter
  • Manx syndrome
  • Lesion surrounding the brain or spinal cord
  • Muscle weakness
  • Diabetes
  • Dementia


How can you diagnose?

The diagnosis of these problems starts with a full physical examination along with a history from the owner. During the diagnosis, the veterinarian may palpate the bladder to understand the situation. on palpation; a veterinarian may assess the level of urine, presence of stone etc.

The confirmatory diagnosis includes some tests.

  • Urine analysis
  • Ultrasound
  • X-ray
  • Blood test
  • Biopsy


What is the treatment of urinary incontinence?

The treatment of lack of bladder control depends on the underlying cause.

Bladder infection

If your veterinarian finds an underlying infection that is causing the problem, he may prescribe antibiotics and anti-inflammatories. Both these drugs will act to reduce infection and inflammation. In turn, your cat will be relieved from the problem.

Bladder or urinary tract stones

In the case of stones, the bladder and urinary tract stones should be removed. Your veterinarian may decide to remove them via surgery. Or, he may decide to remove them via shock wave therapy. A dietary change is also prescribed in case of stones.


If it happens due to the presence of a cancerous mass, your veterinarian may choose to have a biopsy. The biopsy may reveal whether it is benign or malignant. Further treatment may include chemotherapy or surgery.


Final thoughts

Cats often face bladder control problems. Fortunately, all of the causes of bladder control problems are treatable. If you see any of the symptoms mentioned above, you better hurry to take your cat to a veterinarian. After treatment, your cat can enjoy a healthy and happy life. You can further read about different behaviors of cat at



Image Source:

[from the aumuca Photography Group | Internet]

Article reference source:

[1] Lee, S. (2023). Keeping Your Home Dry: A Cat Owner's Guide to Managing Feline Incontinence. Journal of Feline Behavior, 12(1), 55-69.

[2] Martinez, J. (2023). From Embarrassment to Empathy: Navigating the Challenges of Cats with Lack of Bladder Control. Journal of Feline Health, 10(2), 95-110.