Pet Tip Tuesday- Going outside the litter boxDr. Megan Okes joins us live in our studio.
To contact Dr. Okes:
Going outside the litter box aka inappropriate urination/defecation in cats
#1 reason for cats to be surrendered, euthanized or made outdoor cats.
Majority of visits to veterinarians
What is inappropriate urination or defecation?
Urinating or defecating outside the litter box
ANY location other than litter box
Can be ALL the time or occasional
How do I know if it is a problem?
If it occurs more than occasionally (due to very dirty litter box, moved litter box)
If it bothers you or changes your feelings about your cat
Where do I start?
FIRST should be a visit to your veterinarian as soon as you notice a problem
There are MANY different reasons for inappropriate urination- medical should be addressed FIRST!
What could be the cause?
Simple as a picky cat that wants a VERY clean litterbox, a certain litter or location for litter box
Any change in the household- new people, pets
Bad experience in the litterbox scared the cat away from box
Urinary tract infections or stones - it is their way of telling you something is wrong
Arthritis- Climbing into litterbox or going up/down stairs to litter box is painful
IBD = Irritable bowel disease, cats can’t control their defecation
Behavior disorder is usually the LAST and least likely reason
FLUTD = feline lower urinary tract disease is the MOST common cause of this problem
No infection, just inflammation of bladder
No specific treatment- varies with each cat
Enrich environment- outdoors on leash, scratching posts/trees
Dietary supplements of glucosamine and fatty acids
Monthly injections to promote bladder health
What can I do at home after seeing my veterinarian?
- Observe cats closely for changes with treatment and watch for urination
Treat the medication conditions as needed (antibiotics, pain medications)
Make the litterbox a welcoming place: clean box daily, quiet location, don’t change type of litter or location abruptly, 1 more litter box than number of cats
Slow introduction of new pets
Feliway- feline calming pheromone spray or plug-in