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7 Reasons For A Foamy Cat Urine And Tips On How To Help

7 Reasons For A Foamy Cat Urine And Tips On How To Help

Observing your cat’s litter box habits can help you learn essential information about its health.

For instance, cats should pee between two and four times each day. However, this frequency can change for certain health reasons. Therefore, it’s possible for your cat to urinate less frequently or more often than usual.

Another important thing to consider is the appearance of your cat’s pee. A healthy cat’s urine should be yellow and clear.

Therefore, noticing any other color could indicate some change or even sickness in your cat. Moreover, foamy cat urine also isn’t normal. Cat’s pee shouldn’t have foam and shouldn’t be cloudy.

What could cause my cat’s pee to become foamy? There are seven most common causes for this occurrence. Let’s look at them and see what you should do to help your feline friend.

1. Dehydration

Dehydrated cat

Dehydration signs that there’s an imbalance of water and minerals in your cat’s body. 

Water intake is crucial for the survival of all living beings. Felines are known to be reluctant about drinking water, so, some of them could become dehydrated.

A foamy urine is one of the signs your cat could be dehydrated. Some other common signs are lethargy, decreased skin elasticity, poor appetite, and sunken eyes.

Dehydration occurs when fluid levels in a cat’s body drop drastically. There are a couple of potential causes of feline dehydration, such as:

• Hot weather

• Increased physical activity

• Vomiting or diarrhea

• Diseases that can cause increased water loss (fever, diabetes, hyperthyroidism, etc.)

While you might not often observe your cat drinking water, this doesn’t mean it doesn’t require it.  Actually, cats are very sensitive to water loss and dehydration could even lead to severe consequences.

How To Help?

The treatment for dehydration will depend on the underlying cause.

This means you’ll need to take your cat to the vet to examine it. If necessary, the vet will give your cat a round or more of IV fluids to compensate for the lost fluids.

It’s necessary in general to ensure your cat is always hydrated. A helpful step here is feeding your cat more wet food to increase its water intake.

Also, a water fountain can make water more appealing for your cat to drink. Also, here is a list of some other drinks your cat can drink beside water, so, you should check these out, too.

2. Proteinuria

confused looking cat

Proteinuria is another potential cause of foamy cat urine.

As PetMD explains, this condition implies that there is too much protein in a cat’s pee. A healthy cat’s kidneys are a sort of filtration for its urine. They remove toxins and other byproducts in a cat’s body and prevent larger proteins from forming in its urine.

So, if a cat has foam in its pee, this could indicate proteinuria and be a sign that its kidneys aren’t functioning properly. This symptom shows that there is a larger amount of proteins in your cat’s urine.

An increased amount of protein can change the composition of urine and make it appear foamy.

Some of the additional symptoms that could appear are the cat straining to urinate and a strong odor of the urine. 

However, the symptoms will depend on the underlying cause of proteinuria in felines. This could be a range of causes, such as high-protein cat diets, urinary problems, drug reactions, or pancreatitis. 

How To Help?

A veterinarian will need to conduct a urinalysis to diagnose proteinuria in your cat. 

Once again, the treatment will depend on the underlying cause of this condition. Therefore, it could include antibiotics, pain medications, or diet changes.

Most cats with proteinuria have very good chances for a full recovery.

3. Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

cat on vet table

Foamy urine can also be a sign of Urinary Tract Infection in cats. This condition could cause a change in a cat’s urine appearance, making it look foamy. 

Also, cats with UTI have an increased amount of protein in the urine, which results in foamy pee.

According to Western Carolina Regional Animal Hospital, some of the additional common UTI signs are the following:

• A cat experiencing pain or discomfort when urinating

• Urinating outside the litter box

• Straining to urinate

• Passin pee tinged with blood

This condition is most commonly diagnosed in middle-aged and older cats. Other lifestyle conditions that can contribute to developing UTI are lack of physical activity and eating a dry food diet exclusively.

How To Help?

A veterinarian will need to perform a complete physical exam of your cat, as well as a urinalysis, blood work, or ultrasound to diagnose UTI.

The treatment usually includes antibiotics as well as medication to relieve painful symptoms in cats. Furthermore, a veterinarian could prescribe a modified diet and fluid therapy for the affected cat.

4. Urinary Tract Stones

urinary stones

Urinary tract stones could irritate a cat’s urinary tract lining and cause a change in its pee, making it look foamy.

MSD Vet Manual points out that a cat has minerals in its urine that occur naturally. There is a possibility for them to clump together and form tiny crystals, and, afterwards, urinary stones.

Urinary tract stones can occur anywhere in a cat’s urinary system – in its kidneys, bladder, ureter, or urethra.

These stones can occur as a result of a cat’s nutrition, or some kind of infection or inflammation in its body.

If these stones go unnoticed, they can become very large, and even block a cat’s urinary tract.

Some additional clinical signs that could appear are blood in the urine and slow or painful urination.

How To Help?

There are a couple of possibilities for treating urinary tract stones in felines.

It can include a procedure of using sound waves to break stones apart. They can also be treated with medications or a special diet.

Of course, it’s necessary to encourage your cat to have adequate water consumption. 

You can also find useful information in our article on urinary cat food prescription alternatives.

5. Feline Idiopathic Cystitis

orange cat sitting on a sand

Feline Idiopathic Cystitis is a condition that causes an inflammation of a cat’s bladder.

This inflammation can lead to the presence of mucus and blood in a cat’s urine, giving it a foamy appearance. According to the cat urine color chart, a red or pink pee may also be a sign of cystitis.

The word Idiopathic in the name of this condition implies that the exact cause of it isn’t certainly known. However, there are some of the most common triggers for this inflammation, which include:

• Abnormal stress response to some trigger in a cat’s surroundings

• Genetic predisposition

• Trauma

• Tumors of a cat’s urinary tracts

How To Help?

Once again, the first necessary step here is to determine the exact cause of this medical condition.

This is why you’ll need to take your feline friend to a vet clinic.

The treatment can include pain relievers, medications to help a cat’s urethra relax, as well as a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids. This type of diet is helpful for suppressing the inflammation caused by Feline Idiopathic Cystitis.

6. Feline Foamy Virus Infection

cats urine

A foamy urine in your cat could indicate a Feline Foamy Virus infection.

This is a complex retrovirus that typically does not cause disease, but could have an impact on a cat’s general immune function.

Carmen Ledesma-Feliciano and her associates [1] point out how transmission of this virus primarily occurs via salivary shedding and through direct contact between animals. Also, biting and mutual grooming can be a way of transmission between felines.

It’s important to note that apart from foamy urine, many cats infected with the virus may remain entirely asymptomatic, appearing to be in excellent health.

How To Help?

A veterinarian will need to conduct a physical examination, as well as a complete blood count and urinalysis of your cat to confirm the Feline Foamy Virus in it.

There isn’t any specific treatment for this virus yet. However, some cats get prescribed immunosuppressive medications.

7. Kidney Problems

cat with kidney problem

Finally, a cat having foamy urine could be facing a kidney issue.

Just like for humans, kidneys are vital organs for cats, too. They are essential for a cat to filter the waste from its body.

If they aren’t working properly, this can cause a change in a cat’s urine appearance and smell.

Increased thirst and urination are common signs of kidney problems in a cat. Also, bad breath, weight loss, and decreased appetite are likely to appear.

Feline kidney disease can have various causes. For instance, this can occur as a result of a serious kidney injury, a severe infection, or after ingesting a toxic substance.

Some cats could also inherit a tendency to develop kidney problems. Additionally, underlying diseases like cancer, such as lymphoma, can also contribute to this medical condition.

How To Help?

Once again, the veterinarian will need to conduct blood work and a urinalysis to set a diagnosis.

Different types of treatment can be used here, such as antibiotics, immunosuppressive drugs, and antithrombotics. Some cats could need to get chemotherapy or even surgery.

Cats diagnosed with kidney problems early have the best chance for recovery and a long and happy life. Of course, you’ll need to take your pet for frequent checkups to follow its condition.

Also, proper water intake is especially crucial for cats with kidney problems. Hydration through both water and food can significantly decrease the chances of foamy urine and other symptoms of kidney issues to occur.

Final Thoughts

What causes foamy cat urine?

A couple of different health problems can cause this symptom in your pet. An important thing to understand here is that you shouldn’t ignore this sign. A healthy cat’s pee is clear and yellow, and shouldn’t be foamy.

No matter whether the underlying cause is dehydration, cystitis, or UTI – the only right thing to do is to take your cat to a vet clinic.

The veterinarian will conduct a full physical exam to set up a diagnosis. What you can do as a responsible cat parent is provide your cat with fresh, clean water at all times. Also, feeding it a wet food diet will increase its water intake.

Together with regular vet visits, these are the best ways to take care of your cat’s urinary health.


[1] Ledesma-Feliciano C, et. al. Feline Foamy Virus Infection: Characterization of Experimental Infection and Prevalence of Natural Infection in Domestic Cats with and without Chronic Kidney Disease. Viruses. 2019 July 19;11(7):662. DOI, Retrieved October 30, 2023. 

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