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What to Expect After Cat PU Surgery

Posted: 08/09/2023 | BY: Jenna Bruce | Categories: Cat , Health problems , Pet care

Has your vet recommended a perineal urethrostomy procedure (sometimes referred to as a PU) for your male cat? If your fur baby has a history of bladder crystals and has formed a urinary obstruction, this surgery can lower their risk of developing a blockage in the future. But you may be wondering what to expect after cat PU surgery. So let’s dive into this topic further.

what to expect after cat PU surgery

How and Why Do Urinary Obstructions Form?

Male cats are at a much higher risk of developing urinary obstructions than female cats, and that comes down to physical anatomy. Female cat urethras are fairly short in length and maintain a consistent wide-ish diameter. 

The male cat urethra, on the other hand, is a bit longer and tapers or narrows as it enters the penis. It’s this narrowing that can get male cats in trouble because any bladder stones, tumors, blood clots, etc. can cause a partial or complete blockage so that no urine can pass.

If not caught in time, this blockage can cause death in cats within 3-6 days, as urine backs up and damages the kidneys. 

What Does Cat PU Surgery Entail?

PU surgery creates a new urinary opening that decreases the length of the male urethra, essentially getting rid of the narrowing. The male cat ends up with a urethra similar to a female cat and is far less likely to ever become blocked again. 

When is PU Surgery Recommended?

PU surgery is a fairly straightforward procedure with most cats having good health outcomes. Vets recommend this surgery for a couple of different scenarios.

Medical Therapy is Not an Option

Sometimes urethral obstructions can be removed through medical intervention instead of surgical intervention. Certain obstructions can be dislodged via a urinary catheter, The catheter is inserted and the obstruction is flushed back up to the bladder where it can then be addressed using medication. When this isn’t possible, PU surgery will be recommended.

what to expect after cat PU surgery

Recurrent Urethral Obstructions

Some male cats develop chronic obstructions. Even when these can be unblocked, PU surgery is often recommended to decrease the likelihood of this happening in the future. 

What Does PU After-Care Involve?

If you’re wondering what to expect after cat PU surgery, we’ll start by saying your cat is going to have to wear the dreaded Elizabethan collar for a week or more. This is to prevent him from licking the area, which can interfere with the healing process and cause an infection.

You will also have to restrict your cat’s activity. He will need to be kept calm to help the area heal. If you have a multi-pet household, be sure to keep your fur baby separated. In general, it can help to keep him in a small room such as a bathroom. You don’t want him to try and jump up on furniture, so turning a spare bathroom into his room for 7-10 days is ideal. Put a bed and his water and food bowl in there. And be sure to visit him often to keep him company.

How Much Does Cat PU Surgery Cost?

According to Metlife insurance, PU surgery can cost between $3,000 and $4,500. This is for the surgery itself. There can be additional charges as well for things like:

  • Diagnostics
  • Physical exams
  • Prescription medications
  • Speciality food
  • Hospitalization
  • Follow-up visits

what is cat PU surgery?

Are There Any Complications After Cat PU Surgery?

Pet parents who follow their vet’s instructions will most likely not have to worry about any complications. But, life being what it is, sometimes things can happen so it’s good to be aware of what to look for.

If you notice any of the following, bring your cat to the vet: 

  • Straining to pee with no urine passed in more than 6 hours
  • Vocalization while straining to pee
  • Severe lethargy 
  • Vomiting

Prognosis after surgery is very good. While it is technically possible for male cats to form stones that are too large to pass through their new urethra, most cats do not have any issues. 

Are You Stressed About the Cost of PU Surgery? Pet Insurance Can Help

There’s no doubt PU surgery can be a benefit to many cats and a life-saving procedure for some. But it can be a very costly procedure. Pet insurance can help you handle the bill.

Imagine getting a bill for $4,000 and being reimbursed for $3,700. Would that give you peace of mind knowing you’ll never have issues affording the best care for your fur baby?

Take 2 minutes and get a free customized quote from some of the top providers in the country. 

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  1. “Perineal Urethrostomy Cat Costs”
  2. Ruda L, Heiene R. Short- and long-term outcome after perineal urethrostomy in 86 cats with feline lower urinary tract disease. J Small Anim Pract. 2012 Dec;53(12):693-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1748-5827.2012.01310.x. Epub 2012 Nov 20. PMID: 23163233.
  3. “How to perform a feline perineal urethrostomy”



The information contained on this blog is intended for informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. It is not a substitute for professional veterinary care. Always consult with your veterinarian before making any changes to your pet's health care or treatment plan.

The authors of this blog are not veterinarians and do not claim to be experts in pet health. The information provided here is based on our own experiences and research, as well as information from reputable sources. However, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of this information.

We encourage you to do your own research and consult with your veterinarian before making any decisions about your pet's health.

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