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Help - my cat is urinating in our bathtub!

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Question: Help - my cat is urinating in our bathtub!
This FAQ was taken from a recent VetMed Forum post:
Voiding Problems

KERMIT111 asks: "My cat/kitten has developed a strange fixation with voiding in our bathtub. He actually tries to get it down the drain. I've noticed that there's a bit of blood with the feces. We clean out the litter box 3 -4 times daily as we have another cat/kitten in the house. They are both around 7 months old, from different litters, and both from farms. Any ideas?"

Answer: From Your Guide:
Any time your cat is urinating in non-litterbox places, you should have your vet examine him. Why so urgent? Well, the first thing to rule out is a medical problem -- cats are known for urinary tract infections and urethral blockages in male cats (even castrated males and sometimes female cats, too).

Usually one of the first signs is urinating in odd places. Additionally, you may see:

  • blood in the urine
  • straining to urinate (may be confused with straining to defecate)
  • frequent licking of the "private area"
  • crying/meowing

If this has gone on for a while or there is a urinary tract blockage (can appear quickly), you may additionally see:

  • decreased or absent appetite
  • lethargy
  • vomiting
  • painful when picked up
  • crying/meowing

It is very important to have your cat checked out by your veterinarian as soon as possible if you notice any of these signs. Your veterinarian will examine your cat's overall health (general physical exam), palpate the abdomen and bladder, and will likely want to run a urinalysis to check for infection or crystals in the urine. Additionally, your vet may want to run bloodwork to check your cat's kidney and liver function and other measures of health included on the blood test(s).

Once a medical problem has been ruled out by your vet, a behavioral problem, may be diagnosed by your vet and s/he can help determine what measures can be taken to reduce/eliminate this behavior.

I do not want to alarm you unneccessarily, but it is often too easy to feel that the cat is "mad" or "lazy" or other behavioral explanations for what could be a serious medical problem.

Related reading:
My cat urinated in the bathroom sink today. Should I be concerned?
Glossary Term: FLUTD (Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease)
Veterinary Q & A - Feliway® Use in Cats

Related Resources:
Feline Kidney & Urinary Diseases

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