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Could stress hormones be measured in cat urine?

Last changed: 28 March 2019

Catecholamines can be used to evaluate neuroendocrine tumors, stress, and potentially pain, but catecholamines degrade rapidly. Their metabolites normetanephrine (NME) and metanephrine (ME) have better stability in urine. In cats, urine sampling in a home environment would be beneficial to reduce effects of clinical stress and simplify sampling.

We evaluated a human urine ELISA for analysis of NME and ME in feline urine, and investigated the effects of acidification, cat tray pellets, and storage time at room temperature up to 8.5 h.

In 26 feline urine samples, mean NME concentration was 192 ± 80 ng/mL, mean intra- and inter-assay CV was 6.5% and 4.2%, respectively, and spike recovery was 98–101%, but dilutional recovery was unsatisfactory. For ME, mean intra- and inter-assay CV was 10.2% and 4.1%, respectively. Mean urine ME concentration was 32.1 ± 18.3 ng/mL, close to the kit's lowest standard, and spike recovery was 65–90%; the ELISA could not be validated for ME.

The stability study, performed for NME on 12 urine samples, did not identify differences between acidified and non-acidified samples, cat tray pellets, or storage time, and no interaction effects.

The ME ELISA was not suitable for feline urine; performance of the NME ELISA was acceptable, except for dilution recovery. For analysis of NME, feline urine can be sampled at home using cat tray pellets and stored at room temperature up to 8.5 h without acidification.

Link to the publication


Srithunyarat T, Svensson A, Hanås S, Höglund OV, Hagman R, Lilliehöök I, Olsson U, Ljungvall I, Häggström J, Ström-Holst B, Pettersson A, Höglund K. Evaluation of an ELISA for metanephrines in feline urine. Journal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation 2018, Vol. 30(6) 887–893.


Katja Höglund
Senior Lecturer at the Department of Anatomy, Physiology and Biochemistry (AFB); Division of Anatomy and Physiology

Telephone: 018-672118