How can you recognize feline Urinary Tract Infections early on, to save your kitty needless pain, and damage to your home from her cat urine?
This article will outline the steps you can take to prevent kitty's pain from feline Urinary Tract Infection and the damage done to your home from her urine.
Possibly the single biggest cause of cats not using the litter box is a medical condition called Feline Urinary Tract Infection (UTI). It used to be called Feline Urological Syndrome (FUS), but you don't often see that term anymore.
Feline UTI can be sneaky and hidden, because your cat often may not display outward symptoms of discomfort and pain early on. It's only after your kitty feels significant pain, time and time again, that she stops using her litter box because she associates her urinary pain with the cat litter box.
This is when you sit up and take notice, since there's nothing like a smelly puddle of cat urine on your beautiful floor or furniture to get your attention!
However, there are a few signs you should be on the lookout for. While none of us really want to watch our kitty use the litter box, it's a good idea to observe her a couple times a week. This way, you can separate normal litter box behavior and habits from those that indicate something is not quite right.
By knowing what is normal for your kitty, you can stop health problems before they manifest themselves into cat urine odor puddles and stains around your home, create immense frustration for you trying to figure out what's wrong, and spend needless time spent cleaning your house after every episode.
And what are we looking for?
First, we are looking to see if our cat cries or howls in obvious pain while she's urinating. If this is the case, run, don't walk to the phone, and call your vet immediately!
Next, even if kitty does her business in silence, look at the urine ball (or puddle) before she buries it. If you see any tinge of red or pink - get your cat to the vet as fast as you can, because she definitely has a UTI in full bloom.
This was how I finally figured out the root cause of Scout not using her box. I just happened to see her use the box to urinate, and I was so happy, I decided to scoop the urine ball immediately, to keep her box clean. The urine ball was reddish in some spots. I called the vet right then and there, and while I didn't know it at the time, I had finally found the source of Scout's discomfort with her litter boxes!
NOTE: If your cat stops using the litter box, but you find her squatting in either the bathroom sink or tub, you can easily see the color(s) of her urine - lucky you!
Why is this lucky?
- Because your cat's urine will show up brightly against the porcelain;
- It's easy to clean up;
- She has the right room and idea, but the wrong appliance!
Here's another clue your kitty will give you:
After she uses the box and covers her business, if she licks her genitals excessively, and meows, you can be pretty sure she has a feline UTI. So, it's time for a consultation with your friendly neighborhood vet, and some testing to determine if a UTI is haunting your kitty. Particularly if you see this behavior coupled with "accidents" around the house, you can be pretty certain the vet will conclude kitty has a UTI.
Taking a few minutes out of your schedule each week, watching your kitty use the box, and quickly analyzing her urine production can save you a lot of heartache and puzzlement down the road.
And, by evaluating her behavior in the litter box, you're saving kitty lots of pain and agony from a feline UTI. You're also saving time and money by not having to seek out and clean up multiple cat urine spots on your floors and furniture.