What it is: A blockage in the urethra, which prevents your pet from relieving himself.
Whom it affects: Dogs and cats, and especially male cats.
Possible symptoms: Consult a veterinarian if your cat is going in and out of the litter box, straining to use the litter box, crying or vocalizing in the box, urinating outside the box, or has blood in his urine. What may look like constipation could be a urinary-tract obstruction.
Treatment: If a blockage is left untreated, toxins normally released in the urine can build up in the animal’s body and cause fatal poisoning and kidney failure, so the pet must see a veterinarian immediately. The animal will be anesthetized, and a urinary catheter will be put in place to relieve the obstruction. After two to three nights, the pet can return home.
Prevention: A stress-free environment and a diet that increases water consumption, which encourages more frequent urination, may help keep urinary problems at bay. For multiple-cat families, each cat should have his or her own litter box, and there should be one extra box.