PU Surgery in Cats

Urinary blockages can happen to your cats at any time. If traditional treatments don't work, you can consider a perineal urethrostomy (PU). Our O’Fallon veterinarians are available to answer any questions you may have about this surgical procedure.

How do urinary blockages happen in cats?

Cats can get blockages in their pee tube (urethra) due to 'plugs' made of protein-rich sludge, crystals, or tiny stones that get stuck. Male cats that are neutered are more prone to these blockages because they have a narrower urethra, making it harder for materials to pass through.

What does a urinary blockage look like in a cat?

When a cat's urethra is blocked, they will squat to pee more frequently than usual, but little or no urine will be expelled. The most serious problem with this condition is that liquid will continue to enter the bladder but will not be able to exit once it is full. The pressure will cause serious and noticeable discomfort and even pain. Lethargy, disorientation, and vomiting will result in toxic waste normally released through urination backing up into the bloodstream. The bladder will rupture if this problem is not addressed quickly.

How can cat PU surgery help?

When a cat's urethra is blocked, they will squat to pee more often than usual, but very little or no urine comes out. The issue here is that urine keeps filling the bladder but can't exit.

This causes discomfort, pain and can lead to lethargy, disorientation, and vomiting as toxic waste builds up in the bloodstream. If not treated quickly, the bladder might even burst.

What to expect after PU cat surgery

To ensure your cat heals properly after surgery and doesn't click or bite the surgical site, your vet will recommend using an Elizabethan collar (e-collar). Excessive licking can slow healing, and if your cat licks or gets close to the incision, there may not be enough tissue to repair because the skin is so thin. This collar must not be removed until your veterinarian gives you permission, which usually takes about two weeks.

Additionally, your cat will need to stay calm and have limited physical activity. Your vet might suggest keeping your cat in a small, separate space away from other pets. This way, you can control their movements and closely monitor their progress.

It's normal for your pet to have bloody urine for a few days after surgery, and they might have accidents as their urethra adjusts to its new function. This is only temporary, and during your cat's recovery from PU surgery, we recommend keeping him in a room with tile so that any accidents can be easily cleaned up. If blood or urine stains their back, legs, or belly, you can clean them with a wet washcloth. Wipe the area around the incision with a damp cloth rather than a wet cloth.

You'll also need a special litter that won't stick to the incision during your cat's recovery. You can opt for shredded newspaper or purchase pelleted paper litter if your cat prefers it. Make sure you have the appropriate paper litter ready when your cat returns home. Once they've fully healed, you can switch back to your regular litter.

What is my cat's long-term prognosis after surgery?

The general outcome of PU surgery is positive. It can help your cat live more comfortably without frequent bladder obstructions. 

Studies suggest cats undergoing PU surgery typically live for three to five years. Importantly, this veterinary procedure doesn't negatively affect their life expectancy. Your cat can enjoy a happy, healthy life free from blockages with the right preventive care.

What is the cost of PU surgery in cats?

The cost of surgery varies greatly depending on the diagnostic tests required and the severity of the condition. If you compare the cost of surgery to the cost of frequent blockage treatment, you might find that it saves you money in the long run. To get a quote, contact our Gentle Doctor Animal Hospital veterinarians.

    How can I prevent my cat from developing a urinary obstruction?

    Proper preventive care is the key to lowering your cat's risk of urinary blockage. Routine visits to your veterinarian for a routine exam will allow them to ensure that your cat is receiving the proper care at home to avoid blockages, but there are some things you can do in between visits:

    • Increase your cat's water intake by providing clean, fresh water or adding some flavor.
    • Change their diet to a urinary diet that has limited minerals, such as magnesium, phosphorus, and calcium.
    • Reduce your cat's stress by keeping their litter clean and reducing changes to their schedule.
    • Offer an enriched environment with perches, moving toys, or food puzzles.

     Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet

    PU surgery may be the best solution if your cat often has bladder blockages. Contact our O’Fallon veterinarians to discuss your options.