Litter Box Problem and Medical Issues in Cats


Litter Box Problem and Medical Issues in Cats


Cats learn very quickly, and they figure out promptly what is the purpose of the litter box. However, many cats experience a problem with the litter box at least once in their lifetimes. One of the common reasons is the position of the litter box. If the litter tray is located in a stressful and busy environment, a cat will feel disturbed and avoid the litter box completely. Another source of the problem can be a dirty litter box. Cat’s senses are highly developed and will react strongly to unpleasant smells of the soiled litter tray. Their sense of smell can also cause an elimination problem if a cat senses a new litter that it does not like. On the other hand, elimination problem in cats can indicate an underlying medical issue, and that is why we should be careful and observe the cat behavior with more attention. Some cats can avoid litter box because they can associate it with painful urination. If this is the case, cat experts strongly advise us to visit a vet immediately. Another sort of medical problem can appear when the cat avoids litter box, but still does not eliminate waste anywhere. Cat experts recommend scanning every possible location, especially the area behind beds, corners of the room and quiet parts, to see whether the cat eliminates waste. If not, it is our highest priority to take the cat to a veterinary hospital. To understand medical issues that can lay hidden behind the litter box problem in cats, the article “Litter Box Aversion: Is It Medical or Behavioral?” explains possible scenarios.

Litter Box Problem and Medical Issues in Cats

Surprisingly, in many cases, litter box aversion has an underlying medical cause. It could be feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD), the start of renal failure, diabetes, IBD, constipation, diarrhea, or a number of other medically-related issues. Very often, what happens is that the cat associates the pain he feels with the box itself. He thinks if he eliminates somewhere else it won’t hurt so much. In the case of urinary issues, he may try to retain the urine as long as possible because it hurts too much to pee. When his bladder reaches maximum capacity the cat may not be close enough to the box to get there in time. With some urinary problems the accumulation of any amount of urine in the bladder can cause pain so kitty will pee in small drops throughout the house. And, if you see traces of blood in the urine (either on the carpet or in the litter box), then you know there’s definitely something going on that needs immediate medical attention.

When it comes to leaving fecal deposits outside of the box, the cat may by experiencing painful stomach cramping due to gas accumulation and feels the need to try to eliminate wherever he is at the moment. Inflammatory Bowel Disease is one condition that can commonly result in kitty having to eliminate frequently due to cramping and pain.

When the cat relieves itself outside the litter box, cat experts suggest thoroughly washing the area with chemicals that will remove the odor completely. If the smell of urination or defecation does not disappear, the cat will associate this spot with elimination and does it again. In any case, before we conclude that our cat has some medical issue, it is wise to check the basics of setting up the litter box. It should begin with its size, shape, approach, place, hygiene, changes in litter, etc. If everything is perfect, then we can suspect the presence of some medical issue.

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