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Mar 21 2017

Litter Box Blues

Inappropriate urination is a frequent complaint from cat owners.  There are so many scenarios that can lead to this particular concern.  It can be overwhelming and discouraging due to the fact that urine in undesired areas can quickly become out of control.

There are some litter pan guidelines to consider when first bringing a feline companion into your household.  The basic suggestion is to always have one litter pan per cat, plus one extra.  Litter pans should be placed in easy to access, quiet areas of the house.  Avoid locations where your cat can be easily disturbed by noisy machines, such as a washer or dryer, or areas of high traffic.  In multiple cat households, each litter pan should be located in a different room or on opposite sides of a large room to prevent one cat from guarding resources.  The vast majority of cats prefer uncovered large pans.  Some cats will tolerate or even prefer a covered box.  The majority also prefer a fine, clumping type litter substrate.  However, there are many litter options, and some cats will prefer alternatives to the traditional clumping litter.  Cats are very clean creatures and thus scooping each box daily at a minimum is a must.

Despite following all the above suggestions, some cats will still develop inappropriate urination.  There are medical causes and behavioral causes to consider.   The medical list can be extensive.  In younger cats crystals can form in their urine and are often diet and hydration related.  Younger cats can also experience lower urinary tract inflammation without a bacterial infection or crystals.  In older cats diseases such as diabetes, kidney disease, and thyroid disease can lead to problems with urination.  Older cats are more prone to urinary tract infections as well, often secondary to one of the diseases above.  Behavioral causes include an entire long list of possibilities as well.  Some cats get easily stressed.  Situations such as house construction, visitors, new pets, moves, strange cats/animals spotted outside, new furniture, etc can lead them to have elimination problems.  At times, a medical issue that causes pain with urination can secondarily lead to a long term behavior based inappropriate urination pattern.  This can be due to memory of pain while urinating in the box.

The most important points to consider are to be sure to have the appropriate number, types, and cleanliness of litter pans.  If, despite these efforts, your feline companion develops inappropriate urination, a veterinary check is needed to determine whether the concern is primarily medical or behavioral.  Then a plan for resolving the problem can be made.

camillusac | Feline

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