PU Surgery in Cats

Cats can develop urinary blockages without any warnings, and if your veterinarian can't treat it with standard treatments your kitty may need a perineal urethrostomy (PU). Today, our Enterprise vets explain everything you need to know about PU surgery for cats. 

What causes cat urinary blockages?

Urinary blockages in cats are caused by 'plugs' made of protein-rich sludge, crystals, or small stones that could get caught in their urethra - the tube that lets your feline friend urinate. Male cats that have been neutered are at a much higher risk of getting urinary blockages because their urethra is much narrower, so less material can pass through.

What do urinary blockages in cats look like?

When a cat has an obstruction in their urethra, they will squat to pee more frequently than normal but little to no urine will be expelled. The most pressing issue with this condition is that liquid will still continue to enter the bladder, but can't be expelled when the bladder is filled. This will cause serious, and noticeable discomfort and even pain from the pressure. The toxic waste that is typically released through urination will begin to back up into the bloodstream resulting in lethargy, disorientation, and vomiting. If this issue isn't treated promptly, the bladder will rupture.

How does PU surgery help cats?

If your cat's obstruction can't be treated with standard methods like pushing the blockage away with a catheter, or your kitty gets frequent urinary blockages, they might need a surgical procedure called perineal urethrostomy (PU).

This procedure is designed to make the urethra wider, thus allowing potential blockages to pass through rather than getting stuck. This surgery can reduce the risk of future blockages but does not guarantee that they will never get an obstruction again.

What should I expect after my cat has PU surgery?

Your cat will have to wear an Elizabethan collar (e-collar) to keep them from biting or licking the incision site. Excessive licking could interfere with your cat's healing and if your cat licks or gets to the incision, there may not be any tissue left to repair since the skin is very thin. Do not remove the collar until your vet gives you the go-ahead, which is typically in about 2 weeks.

Your cat will also need to be kept calm and have their activity restricted. Your veterinarian may recommend confining your cat to a small area, away from other pets, where their activity can be limited and they can be closely monitored.

It's normal for cats to have blood in their urine for the first few days directly after their surgery and they might have accidents as they get accustomed to their urethra's new function. This is only temporary and we suggest keeping your kitty in a room that has a tile floor while they recover from PU surgery to make the accidents easier to clean up. If your furry friend gets urine or bloodstains on their belly or back legs you can clean them with a wet washcloth. Be careful not to directly wipe the incision site.

While your kitty recovers, they will require a special litter so it won't stick to the incision. You can use shredded newspaper or a pelleted litter that you can purchase. Be prepared and have an appropriate paper litter ready for your cat when they get home. You can return to your regular litter after they have healed.

What is the long-term outlook for cats who've had PU surgery?

Typically, the outcome for cats that undergo PU surgery is positive. This procedure could help your cat have a more comfortable life without getting bladder obstructions repeatedly.

Studies have shown that cats tend to live around three to five years after PU surgery. Keep in mind that, this surgery won't negatively impact their life expectancy. With proper preventive care, your cat can have a healthy and happy life without blockages.

How much does PU surgery for cats cost?

The cost of your cat's PU surgery will depend on various different factors including the diagnostics tests required, your location, and the severity of your cat's condition. Also, when you compare the fees for frequently treating blockages, PU surgery might even save you money long-term. Don't hesitate to contact us at Cascade Veterinary Referral Center to get a cost estimate.

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.

Do you have questions about your cat's urinary health? Do you believe your cat may require PU surgery? For these or any other reasons, contact our Enterprise veterinarians to book an examination for your cat.