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Common Emergencies Seen At a 24 Hour Vet - Urethral Obstruction (aka “blocked bladder/ blocked cat”)

Updated: Mar 6

Urethral Obstruction (aka “blocked bladder/ blocked cat”)


  • This happens when bladder stones/ grit/ sludge gets trapped at the bladder exit OR in the urethra, this acts like a plug and stops any urine from flowing out.

  • If you notice your pet straining to urinate, getting in and out of the litter box without passing anything or going for several hours without peeing then they may be blocked.

  • This is a medical emergency and very painful, you should seek urgent veterinary attention for your pet right away.

  • If your pet doesn't attend a vet promptly, they can become very weak, stop eating, they may vomit and can develop electrolyte imbalances. Ultimately the bladder can burst. If left untreated this can be fatal

  • The quicker you get medical attention the fewer problems they will have.


Usually you pet will require a procedure to place a urinary catheter to clear the blockage and

empty the bladder, some pets require surgery to remove large bladder stones, and many require

hospitalisation. Your vet will assess your individual pets case first and offer you options that they

deem appropriate for them.



Ways to help reduce the risk of your cat from becoming obstructed:

  • Weight loss if they are overweight

  • Keeping them as the only pet in the house

  • If there are multiple cats at home, allowing them to have space for time apart

  • Ensuring plenty of litter trays available (recommended to be one for every cat at home plus one

  • extra)

  • Using Feliway plug in devices

  • Ensuring they drink plenty of water (using pet water fountains/ adding water to food/ feeding

  • Wet food are some ways of doing this)

  • Your vet may recommend your cat goes on a prescription urinary diet if they have ongoing urinary issues or history of obstructing before.


Feel free to call us on our 24 hour Emergency Vet hotline: 6931 0095 for further advice if you are concerned over your pets ability to urinate normally

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