Cat Health Issues In Older Cats
12 September, 2011

My friend has an older cat that had been urinating everywhere other than the litter box. She bought a new litter box, switched the litter from clay to pine, and nothing worked.

Then I spoke to my Veterinarian and some other experts about this issue and realized that his cat’s new ‘hobby’ wasn’t behavioral at all but a common medical condition in older cats. In fact, when cats urinate in odd places (rug, furniture, sink, etc.), strain to urinate, urinate frequently, it is very important to rule out a medical problem first. This is especially true with for cats as it can be very serious.

There are some possible medical problems that relate to changes in urinary behaviors including an urinary tract infection or inflammation, blockage, kidney problems, or in the case of excessive thirst and urination, metabolic diseases such as diabetes. It is important to be familiar with the possible signs of a urinary tract infection.

Cats may also urinate in unlikely places when stressed, such as a move, new member of the family or remodeling in the house, and so on.

Your veterinarian will examine your cat, discuss the cat’s behavior at home, and do the appropriate tests, including an analysis of the urine. The urinalysis will check the concentration of the urine (make sure the kidneys are functioning), and look for red blood cells, inflammatory white blood cells, and crystals.

If your veterinarian feels that an infection or blockage is present, prompt medical treatment is necessary. In the event of a blockage or partial urinary blockage, time is of the essence. Urinary blockage can be extremely serious.

Unfortunately, cats that have had a urinary medical problem may continue to avoid their litter box even after the medical problem is resolved because they may associate pain or discomfort with the litter box. Or they may deem the box “too dirty” to use if they used it frequently. By doing a deep cleaning (or getting a new litter box) and “reacquainting” your cat with using the litter box, these aberrant behaviors can be corrected.

Reacquainting your cat and modifying the litter box avoidance behavior requires patience, but a good start is a clean litter box and isolating the cat in a small space, such as a bathroom with the litter box available. It is important to remove rugs and other materials that may be more tempting than the litter box.

Therefore, the best advice that I can give you and your cat is to visit your veterinarian any time you see your cat urinating outside of the litter box, urinating more frequently, or straining to urinate. By simply paying attention to cat’s litter box habits and acting quickly if there is a problem, you just may save your cat’s life.

Tell us about your cats behavior and your cat health issues.

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