Cat Urinary Blockages: 9 Ways to Pay

Cat sits in litter box

A cat who is having trouble urinating should be seen by a veterinarian right away. They may be experiencing a urinary blockage (feline urethral obstruction). This is a medical emergency and can be fatal if left untreated. Between 28-58 percent of cats experience urinary blockages during their lives.1 Urinary blockages can be quite costly for pet parents. 

If this medical emergency occurs, pet parents don’t want to spend time worrying about associated costs and whether they will be able to afford them. Pet parents should be aware of payment options, such as the CareCredit credit card, that are available to pay for veterinary costs.*

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Here we will discuss what a cat urinary blockage is, various costs associated with diagnosis and treatment, and ways pet parents can afford the necessary care if this veterinary emergency occurs. 

Cat Urinary Blockage: Is It an Emergency?

A urinary blockage occurs when something blocks the urethra, which is the small tube that carries urine from the bladder out of the body. A urethral plug or urinary stone is the most common cause for obstruction. This obstruction prevents the cat from urinating to remove toxins from the body. 

Male cats are at an increased risk of urinary blockages. Young males and senior males are most commonly affected. 

When your cat is unable to pee, it is a medical emergency that should be addressed by a veterinarian immediately. Without prompt treatment, urinary blockages can lead to dangerously high potassium levels, kidney failure, and toxin buildup within the bloodstream. It may cause sudden death in severe cases. 

Urinary Blockage in Cats Treatment: How Much Is It?

Treating a urinary blockage in cats can be costly. The cost of hospitalization and surgery to remove a urinary obstruction can range from $1,500-$4,500.2

Although individual costs will vary based on veterinary hospital and geographic region, pet parents can expect to pay for the following necessary interventions: 

  • Physical exam: A veterinarian will do a thorough physical exam, including checking the heart and lungs, hydration status, and alertness. Cost: $50-$150.
  • Bloodwork: The veterinarian will check the cat’s overall health with a blood sample, paying close attention to kidney values, electrolytes, and pH. Cost: $175-$250.
  • Sedation/anesthesia: To unblock the cat, sedation or general anesthesia is necessary. Cost: $100-$200.
  • Catheterization: A veterinarian gently passes a urinary catheter through the urethra to relieve the obstruction and empty the bladder. This catheter stays in place for a few days and must be cleaned regularly. Cost: $50-$150.
  • Urinalysis: Urine is examined to check for abnormalities, such as bacteria or crystals. Cost: $50-$100.
  • Hospitalization: Cats with urinary blockages need to be hospitalized for several days to receive fluids and other supportive care. Cost: $1,500 and up.

Even after successful treatment, cats may re-obstruct in the future, causing additional unexpected costs to pet parents. 

Cat Urinary Blockage Cost: 9 Ways to Pay

Fortunately, pet parents have numerous ways to pay for their cat’s urinary blockage treatment or surgery. Here is a list of some options: 

Apply for a credit card

Credit cards can help pet parents to make budget-friendly monthly payments over time. The CareCredit pet and health care card credit card is a popular option to use for veterinary expenses. It can help you pay for the critical care your cat needs, at veterinary locations in the network.*

Learn More About CareCredit

Proactively set up and contribute to an emergency fund

An emergency fund is helpful for all of life’s unexpected events, including veterinary emergencies. Cats who have recurrent urinary blockages can quickly accumulate expenses that must be covered. Having an emergency fund relieves some stress for pet parents.

Discuss payment plan options with a hospital manager

Some veterinary hospitals offer payment plans or installations for large medical bills. The hospital manager can educate pet parents on available options. 

Apply for a personal loan through a bank

Many banks offer personal loans to consumers for a variety of reasons. Pet parents may use this option, but it may come with high interest rates. 

Proactively get pet insurance and submit claims to offset costs

Most pet insurance plans do not cover pre-existing conditions, therefore it is critical to establish coverage as soon as possible. This will be especially helpful if cat urinary blockages become a recurring condition.

Ask friends and family for financial assistance

Pet parents can enlist the help of family and close friends who may be willing to provide a loan to cover veterinary bills. 

Borrow from a retirement account

Pet parents can choose to withdraw a sum of money early from a retirement account to offset unexpected costs. However, there are usually additional fees associated with withdrawing money early that pet parents should be aware of. 

Start a crowdfunding campaign

Many online platforms are available for pet parents to collect donations from the community for medical expenses. GoFundMe is an option to consider. 

Apply for a grant from a charitable organization

Some organizations keep funds specifically for animals experiencing emergencies. Pet parents can inquire about options from various local charities. 

In Conclusion

Pet parents shouldn’t have to worry about how they will pay for unexpected veterinary bills if their cat has a urinary blockage. Because these expenses can add up quickly, it is ideal for pet parents to have a plan in place ahead of time. Thankfully, a variety of payment options do exist to help pay for the costs associated with these emergency conditions. 

References: 

  1. O’Hara, Kate. “Urethral Obstruction in Cats.” MSPSCA Angell. Retrieved from https://www.mspca.org/angell_services/urethral-obstruction-in-cats/
  2. Bauhaus, Jean Marie. “Cat UTIs: Common Symptoms and Treatment Options.” CareCredit Well U. Feb. 2024. Retrieved from

*Subject to credit approval. See carecredit.com for details.

This information is shared solely for your convenience. Neither Synchrony nor any of its affiliates, including CareCredit, make any representations or warranties regarding the products described, and no endorsement is implied. You are urged to consult with your individual veterinarian with respect to any professional advice presented.

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