Cats, stress & the litter box

Why is my cat suddenly peeing all over my house?!

It's possible that he is sick.  Urinary tract infections, kidney disease, and diabetes are just a few of the legitimate medical problems that can cause cats to urinate inappropriately.  He could also be dealing with stress.

What on earth does a cat have to be stressed about?

Cats don't get a vote when we decide to make changes.  Construction, a new baby, a new partner, a new work schedule - all of these things can be very upsetting for a cat.  If there are stray or feral cats near your home, your cat may feel threatened enough to "mark" your home by urinating.  If you feed outdoor cats, do so as far away from the perimeter of your house  as possible.

Why did I bother buying the fanciest litter box and the most expensive litter in the store?

That may actually be part of the problem.  Fancy products appeal to human consumers, not feline users.  The covered litterbox that keeps odors away from us, actually traps odors inside the box, making for a most unpleasant experience for your cat.  The same holds true for perfumed litters.  Artificial, flowery scents can be very irritating to a cat's highly attuned sense of smell.

So why do all of my other cats use the box?

If all of your other cats are using the same box, this is a big part of your problem.  The #1 rule for litterboxes is one box per cat, plus one extra.  We don't like using dirty public restrooms, and neither do our cats.

I can't help if it he's stressed out - can't I just give him a pill?

There are anti-anxiety medications available that can help your cat cope with stress.  Bear in mind, however, that these drugs are labelled for use in conjunction with a behavior modification program.  Your veterinarian can design a treatment plan that includes both of the elements necessary to get your kitty back on track.

Signs of Illness in cats

Why is my cat so stand-offish lately?  He used to be so affectionate!

A cat's natural instinct is to mask the clinical signs of illness.  While this kept their wild ancestors from becoming prey, it makes it very difficult for their human caretakers to see potential problems early.  Any noticeable change in should be checked out by your veterinarian.

Why won't he eat his dry food anymore?

Your cat may be suffering from untreated dental disease that makes chewing hard food very painful.  Dental disease can lead to life threatening infections in the heart and kidneys.

Why is he looking so skinny? He eats like a pig!

Cats that suddenly gain or lose weight, or experience a sudden change in appetite may be dealing with problems such as diabetes, thyroid disease or kidney problems.  Your veterinarian can use blood panels and a urinalysis to determine the cause of these types of behavioral changes.

Is it normal for them to suddenly need more water?

A sudden increase in water intake can signal the onset of diabetes or kidney disease.  When they are caught early, these issues can be relatively easy to manage, so be sure to have your kitty checked out by your vet right away.

Why doesn't he take care of his fur anymore?  He used to be so handsome!

Cats will often stop grooming themselves if they don't feel well, so he may be trying to tell you that he is sick.  Over-grooming is a problem as well, and may indicate a skin problem or glandular disorder.

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