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Dr. Scarlett
Dr. Scarlett, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 4110
Experience:  I am a practicing small animal veterinarian with 18 years experience.
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My seven year old cat wont stop peeing in laundry baskets

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My seven year old cat won't stop peeing in laundry baskets with or without clothes. Now she's peeing on piles of clothes on the floor. How can I get this to stop?

Dr. Scarlett :

Hi,

Dr. Scarlett :

Inappropriate urination is a really irritating problem and the #1 reason a cat is relinquished to the shelter. So we need to get Smokie back to the box quickly!

Dr. Scarlett :

Have you had a urinalysis done yet?

Customer:

no, she's really skidish of vets offices

Dr. Scarlett :

Is she a rather skittish, nervous cat at home, too?

Customer:

yes, absolutely. she gets easily freaked out

Dr. Scarlett :

So you have 3 litter boxes, correct? What type of litter do you use--clumping or non-clumping? Are the boxes open or covered? How often are they scooped? Are the contents cleaned out completely on a regular basis? What type of food are you feeding? Have you noticed any blood in her urine?

Customer:

We have 3 boxes just recently. There are 2 in the basement, one is clumping litter and we scoop it weekly and replace it every couple of weeks. The other is a Tidycat clay pellet kind that catches the urine in a tray. That one we don't scoop we just replace the pad in the tray weekly. Neither of my cats will go #2 in that one presumably because they can't cover it up well. The new one I added to my closet is the same kind. One or both of them is using it now but again only to urinate in.

Customer:

We feed them iams

Dr. Scarlett :

It is very possible that Smokie has what is called interstitial or "stress" cystitis. This is inflammation of the bladder wall and is most commonly seen in cats that are easily stressed by noises, changes in routine, other cats (inside or out), new people or visitors, etc, etc. The inflammation causes pain upon urination, which the cat then associates with the litter box, and so finds other places to urinate.

Customer:

wow, what do we do about it? I've heard of that feline plug in to help with stress, is that something we should do?

Dr. Scarlett :

But cats are also very fastidious and there may be problems with the litter boxes that Smokie doesn't like. If they both use the clumping litter, I would switch all 3 boxes over to that type. Having one box per floor is a great idea, but the arrangement of your 3 might be sufficient. Definitely scoop all the boxes every day. I liken a dirty box to a porta-potty--people only use them when there is nowhere else to go. I would also consider getting 3 brand new boxes as odors can become trapped in older plastic boxes and no amount of cleaning will get rid of it.

Dr. Scarlett :

I really do like Feliway, the pheromone diffuser. Your vet may carry it as do many pet stores. The pheromone is a calming scent to cats, normally produced by mother cats. It can help lower the stress in the house and help the cat be more "chill." In addition to the Feliway, I would make the litter box changes, to make the boxes more attractive to Smokie. I would also try to increase the amount of water she drinks--that will help flush inflammatory cells out of the bladder. So giving some canned food (and watering it down more), having a cat water fountain, water bowls in many rooms, or making "tuna cubes" can all be helpful. (Take 1 can human tuna and put in the blender with a lot of water (to the top of the blender container). Mix well, then freeze as ice cubes. Put out several cubes on a plate each day).

Dr. Scarlett :

Prescription Diet C/D is a good diet formulated for cats with bladder issues and might be good to switch to from the Iams.

Dr. Scarlett :

Ideally, I would try to get Smokie to the vet for a urinalysis to make sure she doesn't have a bladder infection or bladder stones that are causing the pain. If all checks out normal and the other changes and Feliway don't help much, your vet can also prescribe something like Prozac to help with Smokies stress.

Customer:

If we do the feliway, how many places do we need to put it? is it just where we don't want her to pee?

Customer:

I'm not familiar with Prescription diet c/d is that a brand of cat food?

Dr. Scarlett :

It is a Hill's food (they make Science Diet), but only available through a veterinarian.

Customer:

OK, that's helpful. I was afraid she might have bladder problems, sounds like we really need to get her checked out. It's a good time to get new litter boxes too. I was hoping to stick with the clay ones, they aren't near as messy as the traditional litter boxes. But I guess we just have to accept the littler box mess with a cat. Any other tips on the Feliway?

Dr. Scarlett :

If you have a large house and only want to get one Feliway diffuser (I think the company says it covers about 1400 sq.ft), I would put it in the area where Smokie spends the most time.

Dr. Scarlett :

But otherwise, start with the vet visit (try to keep Smokie from urinating at all before the visit!) and go from there. You could certainly start with the Feliway, increased water consumption, and new litter boxes/litter for a few weeks and see if that helps before going in.

Dr. Scarlett :

The one nice thing (at least for the cats) with the clumping litter is that when you scoop it regularly, the box does stay pretty clean and isn't as yucky to use.

Customer:

Perfect, thanks for helping me set a plan. My husband and I have been at each others throats over this issue. I don't want to lose my cat so we'll make it work. Thanks!

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