Feline Urethral Obstruction (FUO) is a potentially life-threatening illness that can strike male cats. It develops when crystals, grit, mucus, or blood clots build up in the urethra, which connects the bladder to the tip of the penis. The urethra has a very narrow diameter, so any blockages can prevent urination. Over time, toxic kidney poisons that should have been expelled can build up in the bloodstream, potentially leading to a life-threatening cardiac arrhythmia.
Luckily enough, FUO can be easily and effectively treated, but you do need to make sure treatment happens. With that in mind, watch out for the following four signs of FUO.
1. Excessive Groin Licking
Cats have to lick their groins. It might not be pleasant to look at, but it's not like they can use toilet paper. In any case, it's how they naturally clean themselves, and nothing to worry about. That said, you should pay attention if your cat seems to be licking down there more than normal, especially if they seem quite panicked or if the penis is sticking out.
2. Odd Litter Box Habits
If the litterbox isn't clean, your cat may hold in its urine. This can lead to FUO since the urine gets more concentrated, which is just one reason why you need to keep a clean tray. You can also inspect the tray if you think something might be up. If there are red spots, something is definitely wrong. If your cat seldom visits the box and yet doesn't urinate anywhere else, they may have FUO. The same is true if they take multiple trips but don't seem to leave any urine clumps.
Some cats are a 24/7 bundle of energy, while others like nothing more than to sit in your lap or by the window and snooze the day away. If you notice a previously energetic cat becoming more lethargic, they could be suffering from FUO. The discomfort makes energetic movement less pleasant.
4. Signs of Pain
One of the slightly bothersome things about cats from a veterinary point of view is that they rarely complain when they are in pain. As such, a kitty suffering from FUO may show no signs of discomfort, so you shouldn't take the absence of such signs as an indication that everything is fine. However, some cats may howl more than usual without explanation. They may also show signs of pain, discomfort, or outright annoyance when picked up or handled around the bladder.
For more information, contact vets in your area.