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My male cat is 4 years old and neutered. Why has he started…

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My male cat is...

My male cat is 4 years old and neutered. Why has he started urinating on the throw rugs? The litter boxes are clean.

Veterinarian's Assistant: I'm sorry to hear that. Strange behavior is often perplexing. I'm sure the Veterinarian can help you. What is the cat's name?

Freddie

Veterinarian's Assistant: Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about Freddie?

No. He is always inside.

Submitted: 5 months ago.Category: Cat Veterinary
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Answered in 1 minute by:
11/14/2017
Cat Veterinarian: Dr. Meghan Denney, Cat Veterinarian replied 5 months ago
Dr. Meghan Denney
Dr. Meghan Denney, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 1,984
Experience: Veterinarian at Kingsland Blvd Animal Clinic
Verified

Hi I am Dr. Denney. I am currently reviewing your post now. Please give me a few minutes to type my response. Thank you for trusting us with your question. This service is used for general information only and is no substitute for a veterinarian patient relationship by examination.

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Cat Veterinarian: Dr. Meghan Denney, Cat Veterinarian replied 5 months ago

When a cat starts urinating in inappropriate places it can be for a variety of reasons. The most common cause is called cystitis or bladder and urethra spasming that can be caused by crystals in the urine, infection or low levels of stress in the cats life ( these cats often do not appear stressed so it makes it hard to identify and requires ruling out medical causes first).

The spasming in the bladder or the urethra is painful which causes the cat to think the litter box is what is hurting them so they start to urinate in other places. This can really become a problem because if not addressed in a timely manner the pathway in the brain can permanently become linked to not urinating in a litter box. Not good.

I am going to recommend that he see his regular veterinarian so we can get a urine sample and check for bacteria, stones and crystals all of which are medical causes that can be treated.

I am going to type out more specific treatments in a moment give me a few minutes

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Cat Veterinarian: Dr. Meghan Denney, Cat Veterinarian replied 5 months ago

Crystals in the urine occur when the cat is having issue processing their protein in their food and is a life long condition. It is treated relatively easily with a prescription diet change and monitoring of urine 1-2x a year. Some crystals are easier to dissolve with diet than others. Once the cat is on the prescription diet they need to stay on it forever to prevent the condition from recurring.

Crystals if left untreated can start to stick together and form bladder stones which require surgery not remove and can also lead to the stones getting stuck in the penis or urethra and suddenly the cat cannot urinate which is an emergency condition and if not treated quickly can be fatal.

If this is a urinary tract infection then anti inflammatory medications and antibiotics will be used to treat it.

If there is no infection or crystals or stones then we need to address the behavior aspect of this condition called Feline lower urinary tract disease. It involves using pheromones (calming feline pheromones a good one is called Feliway available online at amazon.com or from your regular veterinarian). There are also calming feline treats called composure than can help as well. These can also be found on amazon.com

There are certain diets for stress and urinary cats as well you can try a good on is Hills Science Diet C/D stress

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Cat Veterinarian: Dr. Meghan Denney, Cat Veterinarian replied 5 months ago

So I would recommend getting Freddie's urine checked first before trying the behavior modifications because we need to make sure this is not an infection or crystals in his urine that are causing the issue.

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Cat Veterinarian: Dr. Meghan Denney, Cat Veterinarian replied 5 months ago

Here is some more information on this subject

The diseased lower urinary tract yields the same collection of symptoms regardless of cause.

  • Bloody urine
  • Straining to urinate (can easily be mistaken for straining to defecate)
  • Urinating in unusual places
  • Urinary blockage (almost exclusively a male cat problem)
  • Licking the urinary opening (usually due to pain)

A cat with lower urinary tract disease may have some or even all of these signs.

It makes sense that effective treatment requires knowing the cause of the symptoms. Just about any inflammatory condition in the feline lower urinary tract creates the same collection of signs. Tumor, infection, bladder stone etc. all create the same clinical picture. The urinary bladder, urethra, and urinary opening all constitute the lower urinary tract. Tumor, infection, bladder stone etc. all create the same clinical picture.

The Trick is Determining the Cause

What are the Possible Causes?

It turns out that the age of the cat is tremendously relevant regarding which underlying causes are most likely. If we look at all cats with lower urinary tract symptoms, we find:

  • 50% will not have a cause that can be determined despite extensive testing (meaning they have what is called idiopathic cystitis.)
  • 20% will have bladder stones (females have a slightly higher incidence).
  • 20% will have a urethral blockage.
  • 1-5% will have a true urinary tract infection.
  • 1-5% will have a urinary tract cancer.
  • 1-5% will have had trauma to the urinary tract (i.e. have been hit by a car etc.)
  • 1-5% will have a combination of a bladder stone and an infection both.
  • The average age for symptoms is age 4 years.

If we separate out the cats that are 10 years of age or older and only look at them, a different statistical picture emerges:

  • 50% will have true urinary tract infections.
  • 10% will have bladder stones.
  • 17% will have a combination of infection and bladder stone.
  • 7% will have urethral blockage.
  • 3% will have urinary tract cancer.
  • 5% will not have a cause that can be determined despite extensive testing.
  • 66% will be in some stage of kidney failure.
  • 5% will have urinary incontinence.

Sorting Out Causes

Testing is used to help sort patients into the correct group. A urinalysis is commonly performed. With a 50 percent incidence of infection in older cats, a urine culture would be extremely important for a cat age 10 or more but not as important for younger cats where infection is rare. In younger cats, a urinalysis is helpful to look for the typical bloody and crystals of idiopathic cystitis or to pick up the occasional bladder infection.

Radiographs (in cats young and old) to rule out bladder stones are a good idea as they will otherwise go undetected.

Notice the large percentage of young adult cats for whom no clear underlying cause can be identified. For these cats, there are many theories on how to proceed.

This syndrome has many causes. Use the directory below to guide you to the area most appropriate for your own cat.

  • If your cat has a documented urinary tract infection.
  • If testing cannot reveal any specific cause or if your cat is a young adult.
  • If your cat has bladder stones.
  • If your cat has a urethral blockage or partial blockage.
  • If your cat seem to urinate in inappropriate locations for behavioral reasons.
  • If your cat has bladder cancer.

It is especially important to note that lower urinary symptoms in a male cat can indicate a urinary blockage, which is an emergency situation.

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Cat Veterinarian: Dr. Meghan Denney, Cat Veterinarian replied 5 months ago

If this was helpful I would be most appreciative if you could take the time to rate my assistance so the site will credit me with helping you

Without a rating (the stars at the top) the site will not compensate me for helping you.

I am also here for additional questions you may have just reach out to me here and I will be more than happy to assist you.

Kind regards,

Dr. Meghan Denney

This Content is not intended to be a substitute for a professional veterinary exam, diagnostics, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your attending veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition of a pet.

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Dr. Meghan Denney
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