I've started doing my own urinalysis on my cats with UA strips. And there have been a few that had ketones show up just slightly or a little more. But glucose was negative. I don't know how to interpret these results given no glucose present. Can somebody tell me what this means so I know if there's something I need to be treating?

  • just for future reference, Pretty Litter is a much simpler way to monitor your cats health through urine. My girlfriend is a veterinarian student and we use it for our cats! prettylittercats.com – Arcite Aug 8 '16 at 20:24
  • I've looked at that and might try using it in the future. I run a cat sanctuary and am trying to do some of my own testing just to make sure they're at their healthiest. Trying to save money on vet bills. It would be expensive to use the litter for all 40 cats but could work when I need to retest here and there. – Elorah Aug 9 '16 at 2:20

Sometimes the color of urine can make some of the values a false positive. I've seen this with ketones and bilirubin.

I don't find the strips useful when it comes to finding infection (the white blood cell value often gives me false negatives/false positives), any true concerns should be checked under a microscope.

If you have any diabetic signs such as excess drinking/peeing, walking on their hocks, loss of appetite along with weight loss or cystitis/urinary tract infection (UTI's are very rare in cats) such as peeing around the house, crying at the litterbox, straining. That would deem a vet visit.

  • How do you diagnose infection? – Elorah Aug 9 '16 at 2:17
  • You look for white blood cells along with bacteria. (White blood cells will contain bacteria inside of them). Cats are also prone to getting crystals which we also look for. – Rebecca RVT Aug 9 '16 at 9:48
  • And you can do that just by looking through a microscope? I thought you would need to do a blood test. – Elorah Aug 9 '16 at 16:00
  • Blood test would be if you suspected diabetes with seeing glucose and ketones in the urine or is the specific gravity is low then you would check kidney function. However that being said you can detect infection by doing a complete blood count (which counts how many blood cells of each type are in your body). This is just not commonly done for a urinary tract infection. – Rebecca RVT Aug 9 '16 at 20:20

According to http://www.petmd.com/cat/conditions/endocrine/c_ct_diabetes_with_ketoacidosis, ketones are an emergency; you should go to your vet immediately.

However... if it's only a slight amount, and there are no other symptoms, I think just a call to the vet will suffice.

In either case, I suggest you ask your vet for some guidelines about what to do in future. The advice will probably be specific to your cat and the history of his diabetes management, and what readings are typical for your cat.


Results like these can mean any number of things but only a trained veterinary professional will be able to give you a correct diagnosis. It is good that you are attempting to take a more proactive stance in your pets health but this is a concern that only your veterinarian should answer.

I personally wouldn't want you to make the judgement call without consulting with an emergency veterinary clinic if off hours or with your own day clinic veterinarian. That is a lot for an individual to take on. I think it is best to involve you and a vet in the decision of your pets health. Both you and the vet want what is best to treat the animal or end the suffering in a humane way.

As a pet owner having all the numbers and knowing where your vet hospital/ emergency clinic is before an accident actually happens is critical. The earlier the emergency is caught the better. Always have a plan! :)

  • I am trying to learn how to do this as I don't have a vet I can trust right now. I had two cats die suddenly under the immediate care of my last vet. These cats that I'm testing have no outward symptoms. I've raised cats my whole life, I think I know when they're sick enough to need vet care. I've even brought 4 back from the brink of death when all docs said to euthanize. I posed this question to learn more about this testing and these odd results which is something I'm most intelligent enough to understand. It doesn't really answer my question to just tell me to take them to the vet. – Elorah Aug 9 '16 at 16:10

I found a website that ran down the analysis on what everything meant on the urinalysis strips. It said that ketones are substances formed in the body during the breakdown of lipids, or fat. This might explain their presence as most of my cats eat much less in the summer because of the heat. I'm in Texas and we're having 100 degree days. So the cats eat less and their body starts to breakdown fat for fuel, therefore ketones show up during testing. I suppose it's just a theory but I hope I'm at least on the right track for an answer.

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