Ask the Expert: Cat Might Be “Blaming” Litter Box

Your Pet Question: Our mature cat ‘Angel’ urinates on the floor right next to her litter box. We always keep

Your Pet Question:

Our mature cat ‘Angel’ urinates on the floor right next to her litter box. We always keep it very clean, and have moved the box many times but to of no avail. What else can we try?

Paul Rondeau, Washago, Ontario

The Expert Says:

Sometimes cats seek alternative places to urinate because they experience pain during urination – they ‘blame the litter box’ for their pain, and try out other spots hoping that it won’t hurt when they relieve themselves elsewhere. Angel might have a medical problem, so have her veterinarian give her a complete examination which may likely include urine testing and/or x-rays. Problems causing painful urination can include urinary tract infections, kidney disease, and diabetes, inflammation of the bladder wall, bladder stone, or a mass in the bladder. Also, arthritis in older cats can make it more difficult to climb into a litter box, so ensure that it is low to the floor. If it turns out that the problem is not medical, there are behavioral interventions (medications, anxiety therapies, pheromone treatments etc.) your veterinarian can suggest. Also, consistently use the same type of cat litter and ensure the box is positioned in a quiet environment. Giving her the option of a second litter box elsewhere might also help.

Dr. Lisa Collis, DVM, practices at Delton Vet Hospital, in Edmonton, Alberta.

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