How Much Does Cat Urinalysis Cost?

Written by: Staff

One of the most common reasons cat owners bring their cat to the vet is due to it urinating outside of the litterbox.  If this happens, it can be due to a few things such as a bladder infection, urinary crystals, interstitial cystitis or even triggered by stress.  Regardless of what the reason may be, a vet will want to perform a urinalysis to see what the problem may be.

A urinalysis is a routine test that can report the physical and the chemical properties of the urine.  Vets will use this test to see how healthy the kidneys and the urinary system is, but it can also reveal problems in the organ system.

Dewey at the vet by angela n., on Flickr
Dewey at the vet” (CC BY 2.0) by angela n.

How much does a cat urinalysis cost?

On average, the usual price for a cat urinalysis can cost anywhere from $40 to $75, depending on how the procedure is done.  If you bring in a sample, the cost will be much cheaper than having the vet extracting a sample in the clinic.  This average will not include the office exam cost, any additional tests that need to be performed or medication needed.  When this is factored in, the total costs can be closer to $90 to $200.

Cat urinalysis overview

A vet’s office can extract the urine using four methods.  The first method is simply by collecting the urine at home.  This can be done by placing a non-absorbable material in the litterbox, such as pea gravel, bubble wrap or unpopped popcorn kernels, and draining the urine into a container.  It must be brought in within 12 hours, and if it will be longer than one hour, it’s important to refrigerate it.  Another method can involve leaving your cat at the vet’s office until the cat urinates.  Like the home method, the vet will place the cat in a cage and wait until the cat urinates in the litter box, and once the cat urinates, they can collect it, which usually happens within 48 hours.  Another method can involve expressing the bladder if the cat has enough urine in the bladder.  This process involves placing pressure on both sides until they can’t hold the urine in anymore.  Lastly, a process, known as cystocentesis, can be used, and this involves using a syringe to draw the urine straight from the bladder by using a needle that’s inserted directly into the bladder.

Once the sample is collected, the urine will be placed on a dipstick and will be able to show if there’s glucose, protein or bilirubin in the urine and to what extent.  The vet will also check for the specific gravity on a refractometer, which helps measure the concentration of the urine.  The normal specific gravity of cat urine should be 1.001 to >1.085 for cats.  Among other things, it can show how the kidneys are functioning, and under a microscope, it can offer them a closer look at the cells, which can show the white blood count, red blood cells, crystals and if there are any other abnormalities.

What are the extra costs?

If there are abnormalities detected during the exam, you will need to budget for antibiotics and/or future/immediate treatment options.  If the disease is bacterial or, worst yet, something such a blockage or crystal formation in the urinary tract, the cat will more than likely need immediate surgery.  Cat UTI treatment can include antibiotics, which take 14 days to work, or some therapy may be recommended if the antibiotics aren’t working.

Emergency vet clinics are going to charge more than a regular vet office.  If the testing is done after hours, the price can go up by 30% or more.

Tips to know

Common bladder problems in cats can include cystitis, urinary stones or a bladder infection.  Cystitis is an inflammation of the bladder, which can be a very painful procedure for a cat.  If left untreated, it can lead to bleeding and infections.  Urinary stones can cause crystals to form in the urine due to a concentrated urine pH, and if these crystals are left in the bladder long enough, it can fuse together to form stones, making it painful and hard for your cat to urinate.  Lastly, a bladder infection is when the pH levels are higher than 6.0 to 6.5 and can cause an infection to develop if left untreated.

If you leave a cat at the vet to have them collect a sample, keep in mind that a cat is able to hold in its urine for up to 48 hours.

How can I save money?

Try to get a fresh sample before going to vet since, as mentioned above, it can be costlier if the vet has to insert a tube to collect the sample.  This can either be done by having the cat use an empty litter box or by bringing it to the vet with a full bladder.  The litter box could also be filled with plastic bags or bubble wrap to collect the urine.  The key here is to use material that won’t absorb the urine. shows you some ways on how you can collect it.

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Average Reported Cost: $92.33

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How much did you spend?

Was it worth it?  

  1. estefania (riverside,  California) paid $48 and said:

    Cat urinalysis

    Was it worth it? Yes

  2. E F L (Pearland,  Texas) paid $79 and said:

    $79.00 for the test, plus another $10.00 for “urine collection” (suck it up off exam table with syringe). then the med. was $30.00, when it retails for $14.00. Even cheaper online. So ask about costs when you see the vet and negotiate or be prepped for sticker shock.

    ps Don’t get me wrong, this is a vet I highly trust and they do good work.

    Was it worth it? Yes

  3. Elle (Crestwood,  Kentucky) paid $150 and said:

    Free office visit on pet plan $0
    Antibiotic injection $40
    Urinalysis $50
    Anti-inflammatory injection $20
    Obtaining UA via cystocentesis $30
    Total; $150.

    Way WAY too much $$$$ for a simple UTI.
    But, getting the cat better is what’s important. Can’t help it if the vets are money hungry price gougers.

    Was it worth it? Yes

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