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VetTechErin
VetTechErin, Licensed Vet Tech
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 669
Experience:  Published author in veterinary medical journals and on the Veterinary Information Network with a focus in toxicology
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I have a Maine Coon who is about 11-yeRs old. About 3-months

Customer Question

I have a Maine Coon who is about 11-yeRs old. About 3-months ago his hind quarters have become extremely sensitive, to the point where I hate touching him anywhere behind his front legs. He has alway gone potty in the litter box, but he is starting to go around the house. He has NEVER gone outside his letterbox before. He still poops in the box, but pees on anything left on the floor. Could these two things be related? If so, any mess that might help?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  VetTechErin replied 1 year ago.
Hi there! My name is ***** ***** I'd be happy to answer your question. These two issues very well could be related. There are a few things that could be affecting his potty behavior. One would be a urinary tract infection. Usually this is the first go-to when a cat is urinating outside the litterbox. Discomfort can cause them to leak or pee elsewhere in the house. It's always good to get it checked out to be on the safe side when you're seeing a kitty pee outside the box, as it can very easily be treated with antibiotics. The second concern would be pain. If Tazo is experiencing pain in his rear legs, hips, or rear part of his spine, things like crouching and defecating/urinating may become really uncomfortable tasks. Cats are really strange in that they tend to associate pain with their surroundings as opposed to the thing actually causing the pain. If he experiences pain every time he goes into the litterbox to go potty, he may have started to associate the litter box itself with the cause of his pain, so he avoids it. While there may be some behavioral component to getting him re-trained to the litterbox, I think the first step would be to schedule to get him into the vet clinic to have his rump checked to see if they can identify the source of the discomfort. Getting that feeling under control will make him more comfortable while in the litter box, and when he can go potty in his box without fear of the pain. Lastly would be a lack of control. Older large-breed cats (of which Maine Coon is one) are more prone to developing issues with urinary incontinence in their later years. This is usually something the vets will rule out with a medical history and elimination of other possible causes. This is also something that can be managed with medication, though depending on the cause, there may be surgical options as well. Considering his history of not wanting to be touched near his rear legs, pain may be the most likely cause, but he may be dealing with one or more issues as well, such as arthritis and a urinary tract infection. If you are established at a local vet clinic, having them check his urine is usually a pretty cheap procedure. If he hasn't been to a clinic in a while, a large number of vets like VCA clinic and Banfield clinics offer a "first visit free", and you can get him in to have an exam and be checked without cost, though tests like looking at his urine will typically cost additional as will medication to treat. Eliminating medical possibilities is going to be a first step before moving on to behavioral causes, and it really does sound like this may be a more medically-related issue than a behavioral one. Please let me know if you have any follow-up questions!