Insufficient Urine Production in Cats

Oliguria and Anuria in Cats

Oliguria is the medically defined term for a condition in which an abnormally small amount of urine is produced by the body – with urine production at a rate of less than 0.25 milliliters per kilogram per hour. Anuria is the medical term used to describe a condition in which essentially no urine is produced by the body, with urine production at a rate of less than 0.08 milliliters per kilogram per hour.

Physiologic oliguria occurs when the kidneys limit loss of renal water in order to preserve body fluid and electrolyte balance. Pathologic oliguria results from severe impairment of kidney tissues, which can occur as the result of a number of factors. Anuria may result from kidney disease, or obstruction of urinary flow.

Symptoms and Types

Generally, a key symptom of oliguria or anuria is a decreased amount of urine being produced and excreted. Additional symptoms vary depending on the type of oliguria or anuria present. Signs of physiologic oliguria include dehydration, pale mucous membranes, a weak pulse, a rapid or irregular pulse, and a history of fluid loss (through excessive vomiting or diarrhea, for example). Signs of pathologic oliguria typically include a history of progressive kidney disease with symptoms such as poor appetite and weight loss. Signs of anuria may be observed during a physical examination, with revealing symptoms such as fluid infiltration into the tissues surrounding the urinary tract, and pain in the abdomen on palpation.


Various conditions may be responsible for different types of oliguria and anuria. Physiologic oliguria may be occasioned by renal hypoperfusion, which is caused by low blood volume or blood pressure, or hypertonicity, an increased pressure of fluids in the body. Pathologic oliguria is usually due to acute (sudden) kidney failure, or chronic kidney disease. Anuria may result from a complete obstruction in the urinary tract, a rupture in the urinary excretory pathway, or from very severe kidney failure.

A number of risk factors may increase the odds of developing oliguria or anuria, including dehydration, low blood pressure, kidney disease, liver disease, trauma, such as from a car accident, sugar diabetes, and multiple organ failure.


Key diagnostic procedures include an urethrocystoscopy, which uses an insertable diagnostic tool to view the interior of the urinary tract and bladder wall, and which may provide evidence for obstruction or rupture of the urinary tract. Additional tests may include urine analysis, an electrocardiograph (ECG), abdominal radiographs and ultrasounds to rule out or confirm a urinary obstruction.


A weight unit; equals out to about 2.2 pounds


A medical condition in which there is not enough urination

urinary tract infection

Also referred to as a UTI; a medical condition of the urinary tract and system in which the cells are damaged by microorganisms.


A tool that is used to create a record of the electrical activity in the myocardium


Examination through feeling


Anything that causes excessive urination


The lack of production of urine in an animal’s body.

blood pressure

The amount of pressure applied by the blood on the arteries.


A medical condition in which the body has lost fluid or water in excessive amounts


Term used to imply that a situation or condition is more severe than usual; also used to refer to a disease having run a short course or come on suddenly.

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