Urine samples: how to collect

Tests are used by vets to help them diagnose disease in animals that are ill, which means your vet may ask you to bring in a urine sample (water sample) from your pet to help find out what’s wrong with your cat. Urine samples are usually taken to check for diseases such as diabetes or cystitis. Urine samples are also often used as part of a routine health check to detect hidden disease before the development of obvious symptoms; this allows your pet to be treated earlier and more effectively.

The best sample is a mid-stream sample (a urine sample) collected by placing a suitable container (a small bowl or dish) under the stream of urine whilst your pet wees. However this is almost always extremely difficult to do in cats. You may be able to catch your cat out by using a long handled collecting pot. Attach a pot, for example a clean yoghurt carton, to a stick or broom handle using sticky tape. Once your cat starts to wee, move the carton under the stream of urine to collect the sample.

It is important not to use jars that have previously contained jam or honey as these can affect the test results.

In most cases your vet will only need a few teaspoons of urine to perform all the tests. If a larger sample is needed your vet will tell you.

Often the only way to collect a sample from a cat is to allow it to wee in peace in a tray and then collect the sample from the tray. Place some non-absorbent cat litter (glass beads or fish tank gravel) in the clean and dry litter tray and confine your cat in a room with the tray. Once your cat has used the tray suck up some urine from the tray with a pipette or a syringe and squirt it into a pot for storage. When you take the sample to the vet always tell them how you collected the sample as this may affect the tests your vet can do.

Some cats are extremely unwilling to wee anywhere except outside. If you really cannot get a urine sample your vet will probably suggest that they take your pet into the hospital and collect the sample for you. Samples can be collected directly from the bladder using a catheter passed up the urethra or via a needle placed into the bladder through the stomach wall. Both these procedures are simple and carry few risks for your pet.

Pour the sample into a clean, screw-topped container; write your cat’s name, your name and address and the date the sample was taken on the jar. If you can’t take the sample to the vets immediately, it is best to store it in the fridge for a maximum of 12 hours.