Urination serves several vital functions. It removes waste and helps to maintain the correct balance of dissolved chemicals in the body. Felines are unique in that they are obligate carnivores that consume primarily animal-based proteins.1 They differ from humans and many birds, which are omnivores. Even canine genetics have changed because of the influence of domestication.2
These differences in these types of animals are crucial to understanding the reasons behind our answer. While dogs need to go out three to five times a day, cats use a litterbox less frequently, at two to four times daily.3 The explanation involves the animals’ diet and lifestyle.
A Cat’s Hydration Needs
Animals meet many of their moisture and hydration needs from the food they eat. Think about it. Fruits and vegetables are primarily water. For example, iceberg lettuce is roughly 95.6%.4 Contrast that figure with a piece of raw beef loin, which comes in at a mere 58.4%.5 Therefore, if an animal consumes more liquid, it will have to urinate more frequently. The bladder can only hold so much.
The composition of a pet’s food plays a vital role in its moisture needs. It also varies whether it eats dry or wet food. Feeding the latter may increase how much water an animal drinks. When you feel parched, you’re already 1%–2% dehydrated.6 That makes it literally a matter of life and death. Signs of dehydration in cats include the following:
A feline needs 3.5–4 ounces per 5 pounds of body weight, depending on its diet. On the other hand, a dog needs more water at 1 ounce per pound. The higher amount explains the difference between the two urination rates.
Factors Affecting Urination Frequency
Many factors affect how often a cat must pee. Let’s consider how many hours dogs and cats sleep. The former sleep about 10–12 hours a day. The latter get more shuteye at 12–18 hours daily. Canines are awake longer, so opportunities exist for them to urinate more than cats.
Bear in mind that sleep is a passive activity. Digestion and metabolism are some of the many bodily functions going on during this time. Processing liquid waste has a small window to occur when a cat is awake. Since felines get less moisture from their diet, their urine is more concentrated. That explains the strong odor emitting from their litter boxes.
Cats with urinary stones can impede urine flow. An animal may attempt to urinate more often, but the obstruction interferes with the flow. A cat may appear to pee more frequently, but the amount is less. Prompt treatment is essential since it can worsen and become a more serious condition.
Stress can also affect how frequently a cat will urinate. These animals may hide and be reluctant to walk in sight of potential threats. It can also manifest itself in the opposite direction with some pets.
Why Does My Cat Urinate Outside of the Litter Box?
Illness is one reason you may notice inappropriate urination. Other things can affect your pet’s behavior, though. An unclean litter box will cause a cat to look for another place to urinate. We suggest using caution about changing your pet’s litter or using air fresheners. Felines are particular about the places they use. Sudden or unwanted changes could cause a cat to refuse to use its litter box.
Why Does My Cat Urinate More Frequently?
Diabetes or hyperthyroidism can affect the amount of water your cat drinks and, thus, its urine output. Sometimes, pets suffering from separation anxiety will exhibit inappropriate urination. You should consult your vet if you notice a sudden change in your cat’s litter box habits.
Urination helps a cat remove liquid waste. It’s a function of water intake and chemical balance in the animal’s body. Other factors may influence its frequency and concentration. Balance is a pendulum that swings with the tide. It’s a vital process that plays a direct role in your pet’s health. Remember that it’s a range that varies daily with the events going on in your cat’s life.
Featured Image Credit: Helen Liam, Shutterstock