Collecting Urine Samples At Home

You may find yourself in a position where you need to collect a urine sample at home from your cat. This may be a sample that you’ll be testing yourself, or a sample you need to take to your vet for more in-depth analysis.

If you plan on collecting a urine sample to bring to your vet, ask them for collection supplies. Chances are you can get yourself a collection tube, and a syringe and/or pipette for free. Some vets will even provide non-absorbent litter at no charge.

Key Points

  • When trying to collect urine from a specific cat in a multi-cat home you will likely need to isolate the cat you are trying to collect urine from
  • The collection method you use might changed depending on whether the urine is for a simple home test, or for your vet to test
  • There are different methods for collecting urine
    • hydrophobic (repels water) or non-absorbing litter
    • covering litter trays with plastic wrap
    • lining the bottom of the litter box with paper towels
    • Teach your cat to be comfortable with you hanging out near them in the box and get a sample fresh from the source

Hydrophobic and Non-Absorbing Litters

Kit4Cat makes a hydrophobic sand litter that you can put into a clean litter box. The kit comes with the special water-repelling sand, pipettes for collecting the urine from the sand, and a collection tube for holding the litter. Available directly from Kit4Cat or find it on Amazon.

Petnostics is another hydrophobic litter that is available from Amazon.

NoSorb is the original non-absorbing litter, and is one your vet is likely to recommend. You can find NoSorb on Amazon, or possibly through your vet directly.

PetConfirm is another non-absorbing litter that is available on Amazon.

Did you know…? You can use plain popcorn kernels in place of non-absorbing litter if your cat will accept the texture. Another option, if you have a cat on subq fluids, is to save your old lines when you’re done with them and cut them up into litter-sized pieces. Allow the line pieces to dry completely, then you can use them in place of non-absorbing litter.

Covering Litter With Plastic Wrap

There are some situations where using special litter won’t work. You may need to “emergency” collect a sample and don’t have time to wait for a litter, or your cat may be extra-picky about litter and not like change. Whatever the reason for it, covering the litter tray with plastic wrap may be a better option for you.

  1. Cover your preferred litter with a good kitchen plastic wrap like this one
  2. Make sure you push the plastic wrap down onto the litter surface so the cat does not claw through when using it.
  3. The urine will pool into one of the dents in the soil and you will be able to syringe it out hygienically and simply.
  4. Remove the sample with a syringe, then remove the plastic wrap CAREFULLY making sure you don’t spill any on the soil or on your floor!
    1. To avoid messes, wipe off the top of the plastic wrap with a paper towel to soak up any remaining urine before you remove the wrap from the litter tray.

Paper Towel Method

For this method you simply put a single layer of paper towels in an otherwise empty and clean litter box and then let kitty pee on it. Don’t use too much paper towel though, because you still need to be able to extract urine from the box and you can’t do that if the towels absorb it all.

This method is not suitable for use in urine culture, but can be used for checking urine concentration, or simple tests like glucose or ketones.

This method works well if you need to monitor the color of your cat’s urine if you suspect a UTI (can show blood), or if they’re taking a medication like fluconazole which can cause liver problems that are evident by orange urine.

Fresh From The Source

The first video below shows the process of training a cat to be comfortable with your presence while they’re using the box. Getting them used to this will allow you to catch a clean stream of urine directly from your cat.

  1. Get kitty used to being approached while they’re in the box
  2. Get kitty used to your hand being near their butt while they’re in the box. You may need to practice “butt touching” outside the box too, for particularly modest cats
  3. Introduce a flat spoon so kitty gets used to seeing it near them, and near their butt, while in the box
  4. Collect the sample by passing the spoon under kitty while they’re peeing
  5. Use a clean syringe to draw up the urine or pour it into a clean container

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