Have you recently found yourself coming home from work to find that your feline friend went to the toilet somewhere other than her litterbox? Cats are highly sensitive to stress and environmental changes, which can often lead to urinary issues. Check out these possible reasons that your cat is going outside the box.
This is the top cause of inappropriate elimination in young cats. Changes in the environment or bullying between cats can trigger stress responses, which in turn can affect bladder health. Stress is the root cause of feline idiopathic cystitis (FIC), whose signs are often similar to a urinary tract infection. Cats with FIC have difficult or painful urination and blood in their urine and will urinate more frequently, often outside the litter box. Resolving FIC is challenging and requires multi-modal treatment, such as:
- Separation of cats who do not get along
- Environmental enrichment to prevent boredom
- Multiple resource stations for food, water, and litter boxes
- Anti-anxiety medication
- Climbing towers and scratching posts to satisfy a cat’s instincts
- Anti-inflammatory medication
- Pheromone therapy
- Hiding areas, preferably up high
Kidney disease or diabetes
These diseases cause a cat to drink excessively, which leads to increased urinary output and more frequent urinary accidents, as some cats cannot keep up with increased urine production. While diabetes can be managed successfully so that cats go into remission, kidney disease is a chronic condition with no cure. Careful management through fluid support, medication, diet, and organ support is necessary to ensure a good quality of life. Kidney disease and diabetes also predispose cats to developing UTIs, compounding the inappropriate elimination problem.
Urinary tract infections (UTI)
UTIs are more common in older cats, while FIC is most common in young or middle-aged cats. The signs are identical for both conditions, but treatment differs. A UTI requires a prescription of antibiotics, often paired with an anti-inflammatory, to ensure your cat beats the infection. Additional diagnostics are warranted to determine the initial cause of the infection.
Poor litterbox hygiene or placement
Felines are finicky creatures who demand top-notch elimination facilities, and poor litterbox cleanliness or placement may shoo them away. Scoop the litter box twice daily and clean thoroughly with mild soap twice weekly. Avoid placing litter boxes in tight, enclosed areas with limited escape routes or next to noisy appliances.
Common in older cats, arthritis makes posturing to eliminate painful and difficult. Cats come to associate that pain with eliminating in the litter box, so instead choose soft surfaces, such as rugs, clothing, or blankets. Pain medication, joint supplements, and prescription diets are viable options for soothing your cat’s pain.
Concerned about your cat’s potty practices? Contact us to schedule an appointment.