Learn how to deal with urinary problems in cats. Even better, find out how you can prevent some cat urinary problems in the first place. There are several reasons why cats experience urinary issues. A cat will pee outside the litter box for one of two general reasons: a medical problem or a behavioral issue. If your cat is peeing inappropriately, the first step is to visit your veterinarian. The vet will do a physical examination on your cat and check a urine sample. Based on the results, the vet will recommend treatment.
Bacteria in the urine causes an inflammatory response in the urinary tract. Your vet will likely recommend follow-up testing after antibiotics are finished to make sure the infection is gone. Crystals form in the urine, causing irritation to the urinary tract. Crystalluria may or may not accompany a UTI. A slightly less common type is called calcium oxalate. Treatment of crystals in the urine generally involves changing to a special diet and possibly an anti-inflammatory medication. Your vet will also prescribe antibiotics if a secondary infection is present.
Some cats develop actual stones in the bladder that cause irritation and even blockage. Crystals may accompany bladder stones or be a precursor to stone formation. If your vet suspects bladder stones, radiographs will be needed to determine the size and quantity of the stones. It is common for a cat with bladder stones to also have a UTI. If so, antibiotic treatment is necessary. The term «cystitis» means inflammation of the bladder.
Idiopathic» means the cause is unknown. The blood may be visible, turning the urine reddish. However, sometime hematuria is microscopic and cannot be seen with the naked eye. Testing a urine sample is essential because the blood may only be detected microscopically. If your vet determines that the urine contains blood, but there are no crystals, bacteria or stones, the likely diagnosis will be idiopathic cystitis. Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease, or FLUTD.
Urinary problems can lead to a serious urinary obstruction, especially in male cats. If your cat is experiencing urinary issues, do not delay the trip to the vet. If you cat is posturing to urinate and little or no urine is coming out, your cat might be blocked or partially obstructed. You should get to a vet immediately. In some cases, inappropriate urination occurs when a cat has a non-urinary health problem. Your cat may be peeing outside the box because of pain or discomfort elsewhere in the body. It’s a good idea to have your vet run comprehensive lab work to look for a health issue if none is found on the exam or urinalysis.
If no medical cause is found, then it is important to determine what factors are causing your cat to behave this way. In some cases, the undesirable behavior continues after a medical condition has been treated and you must take steps to retrain your cat. Cats are particular about their toilets. The litter box may simply be too dirty for your cat. Or, it may be perfectly clean but otherwise uncomfortable to use. The box may be too small for your cat to use comfortably. It may be a location that your cat does not like.
If it is covered, this may bother your cat. Perhaps the litter has a strong scent or an annoying feel on your cat’s paws. She may be unhappy with another animal in the home and is marking her territory to send a message to the other animal. Or, she may feel it’s too dangerous to access the litter box if the other animal is out and about. Your cat may also «act out» if there is a new human in the home. Cats are sensitive to the smallest of changes in their environments. No matter the source of the stress, make sure your cat has a quiet place where she can get away. The new animal or human should not have access to this place of refuge. Make sure your home is a happy place for cats. If environmental changes are not effective, your vet may recommend a supplement or prescription medication to reduce stress and anxiety in your cat. If your cat has peed in an area and you clean it up, the smell might remain. A cat’s sense of smell is much better than yours. If old urine odors remain in your home, there is a very good chance your cat is returning to the area because of the smell. She will continue to pee in an area that smells like urine.