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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 20855
Experience:  Small animal veterinarian with a special interest in cats, happy to discuss any questions you have.
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I just adopted a 7 yr old male tabby. s urine has that musky

Customer Question

I just adopted a 7 yr old male tabby. His urine has that musky Tom smell. I don't know when he was neutered but he also squats when he saw my fixed female. He has the appearance of a Tom, wide jowly face etc. if he was neutered late in life, wouldn't his urine be less stinky or is he possibly still intact? He has trouble peeing and has blood in it. They are treating him with antibiotics but think it might be stress related. Again, the smell is musk-like not ammonia.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 2 years ago.
Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.
In regards ***** ***** question, if TsoSao has been neutered (even late in life), then he should not have that musky odor of the entire male tom cat. This is because tom cat urine does not just contain concentrated levels of ammonia but also have additional scent pheromones (ie felinine) which are found in urine secondary to their elevated testosterone levels. So, when we castrate and remove that source of testosterone, these pheromones are no longer produced and the urine odor should become similar to your female cat.
Now in his case, we do have a few concerns. One is whether he is neutered. If this is in doubt, you can have your vet (or even you can) gently feel his scrotum. If a cat is neutered, this will feel like an empty sack. If he has not been, the scrotum will feel full of a small gumball sized testicle. And if that is the case, he may need to be neutered to address this
Otherwise, if he is neutered, then we have to consider that his current urinary issues could be causing the odd odor you are detecting. First, if he is struggling to pass urine and that urine is sitting in his bladder for extended periods of time; then this can cause re-uptake of water leading to a more concentrated urine being passed. Furthermore, the longer it sits, the more aged the urine will be. And that time frame could lead to alterations or decomposition of some of the normal urine components. If this happens, it can potentially alter the natural odor of the urine.
Furthermore, if he is confirmed to be neutered and has an infection present, then this could be our culprit. The reason is because some infections of the bladder will cause changes to the chemical make-up of the urine. This can change its clarity, color, pH, and even odor. So, it is possible that the odor is related not to him but to the bacteria growing in his bladder. If you wanted to check for this (especially advisable if there is an infection they are struggling to clear), then you can request a sterile urine sample be taken for culture. This will ID which bacteria is present and what drugs it is vulnerable to. And if there is a pathogenic bacteria diagnosed, then clearing this may address the musky odor as well.
Overall, we have a few concerns for TsoSao's urinary odor. Not being castrated is a concern but is one that is easily checked. Otherwise, we'd have to consider that the odor isn't actually due to him but instead due to his current health issues. And in that case, getting those addressed should lead to normalization of his urine and fading of this musky odor.
I hope this information is helpful.
If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!
All the best,
Dr. B.
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