Has your cat stopped using the litter box? Project Hope Manager, Karly Parker, says “the number one reason cats are returned to us is because an owner moves and cannot take the cat with them. The number two reason is cats are peeing outside of the litter box.”
Is your cat missing the litter box? The reason may not be what you think…
Your cat may have Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD). This is a general term for the following disorders:
blood in the urine
difficult or painful urination
abnormal or frequent passage of urine
urinating in inappropriate locations
partial or complete blockage of the urethra
“When your cat starts peeing outside the littler box, the first thing you should is take them to the vet for an urinalysis. Cats don’t stop using the litter box for no reason,” Karly says.
FLUTD is often diagnosed by a veterinarian after it is decided the issue is not a urinary tract infection (UTI) or kidney stones. It most often occurs in cats ages 1-4 years old. Luckily, FLUTD is treatable.
Causes of FLUTD
There are many possible causes for FLUTD including crystal or stones in the bladder, bladder infections, urethral obstruction, inflammation in the urinary bladder, and other abnormal activity in the urinary tract. Recent studies have linked FLUTD to hard water, “which is defined by the amount of calcium carbonate present per gallon, according to iheartcats.com. If you live in an area with hard water, talk to your vet about the best option to reduce the hardness of water in your home.
How to Treat FLUTD
Though there are many reasons why your cat cold be urinating outside of the litter box, it is best to visit your vet as soon as possible and ensure it is not a medical problem, such as FLUTD.
During your visit, your vet will do a physical exam of your cat, collect urine samples, and possibly take blood work, x-rays, or an abdominal ultrasound. Though most cases of FLUTD do not require medical treatment for the disease to improve, it is best to take your cat to the vet so symptoms are less likely to occur. Another way to help treat FLUTD is to give your cat plenty of water, make sure he or she maintains a healthy weight, feed canned food, and encourage use of the litter box.
To reduce the chance of FLUTD occurring or recurring, change your cat’s environment. By giving your cat more clean litter boxes to choose from, spend lots of quality time with your cat, and allowing access to windows and toys for entertainment, the recurrence rate of FLUTD can be reduced 80 percent.