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Urinary Problems in Cats

How to deal with urine marking, litter box issues and urinary infections


Cats are well-known for their "urinary issues" -- spraying, marking, urinary tract infections and urethral obstructions. These events may happen once or multiple times, a singular event or related. It is always most important to rule out a medical problem before assuming that your cat is just being "bad" or upset about something. Urinary obstructions are responsible for a wide variety of behavioral signs, and can be fatal in 72 hours or less if untreated, so a veterinary exam is most important.

1. What are the signs seen with a urinary tract infection?

Cat in litter box by wolfsavard on Flickr
by wolfsavard on Flickr
Urinary problems are commonly seen in dogs and cats. Symptoms can range from "obviously sick" to very few signs seen, depending on the length and severity of infection. Being familiar with possible warning signs could help save your pet's life. Learn more in this FAQ entry.

2. Kidney Disease in Cats

In a healthy animal, the kidneys filter waste products that are produced by the body. In kidney failure, these waste products are not filtered properly and start to build up in the blood stream. This is when clinical signs of kidney failure are often noticed. Learn about the sometimes subtle changes seen with kidney disease to know when a visit to the vet is warranted, how diagnosis is made, what treatment options are available, and how to manage kidney patient pets.

3. Top 5 Signs of Urinary Tract Troubles

Some of the most common questions and concerns about cats as pets relate to urinary problems. What might be seen as "spraying" and ignored, could be urinary tract irritation or infection.

4. Feline House Soiling Problems

A common question for veterinarians is what to do when a litter box-trained cat suddenly starts urinating and/or defecating outside of the litter box. Urinating outside of the box is the most common complaint. This is a question without a quick, easy answer.

Many factors have to be looked in order to accurately answer this question. First and foremost: is this a medical problem, or a behavioral one? An examination of your cat and a lab analysis on the urine by your vet will help determine the proper course of action.

5. Glossary Term: FLUTD (Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease)

FLUTD was previously known as FUS (Feline Urologic Syndrome). This condition is common in cats, and may be seen as straining to urinate, urinating in odd (non litterbox) places or bloody urine. This condition may be life-threatening, and it is always wise to see your veterinarian immediately before any urethral blockage occurs.

6. Glossary Term: Pyelonephritis

In simple terms, the medical term pyelonephritis means kidney infection. Urinary tract infections are classified as "upper" or "lower". An infection of the kidneys is an upper urinary tract infection, an infection of the bladder and urethra is a lower urinary tract infection.

7. My cat urinated on the bathroom rug. How can I stop this behavior?

Urinating in odd places (out of litter box) could be a medical problem (infection, crystal formation), a behavioral problem, or a combination of both. The goal of this FAQ is to help identify and differentiate feline urinary medical and behavioral issues.

8. Help - my cat is urinating in our bathtub!

From the Veterinary Medicine forum. 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?"

9. Veterinary Q & A - Feliway® Use in Cats

Feliway® is the synthetic version of the naturally occurring facial pheromones of cats, known to have a calming effect. It has many touted uses, including, but not limited to, reducing or eliminating the following behaviors: urine marking, aggression, facial marking, and stress reduction.

10. Feline Behavior and the use of Feliway®

What is Feliway® and what is it used for? In this guest article by Farnam Pet Products, learn about the various feline behaviors that are calmed (or lessened) by using this pheromone-based product and why it works for so many cats.
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