Cat health problems that cause a greater frequency of cat urination or defecation can be the root cause for cat behavior problems like inappropriate elimination. These cat illnesses can include: feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD), feline diabetes, feline hyperthyroidism, feline colitis, inflammatory bowel disease, and kidney or liver disease.
Cat illnesses that cause pain while urinating or defecating, or cat health problems that make it difficult for the cat to get in and out of the litter box, may also be a cause of cat urination and defecation outside of the litter box. These conditions include FLUTD, arthritis, anal sac disease, some types of colitis, and vision loss.
Treatment and prevention of these health problems can help resolve the cat behavior problems of not using the litter box. It’s important to consult your veterinarian if you suspect one of these issues because most of these will require lab work to get a proper diagnosis and treatment.
Feline Urinary Infections – FLUTD
A feline lower urinary tract infection (FLUTD) can affect the cat’s bladder and sometimes urethra. FLUTD is a serious cat illness and if not treated it can even result in death in some instances.
Cat illness symptoms of FLUTD include:
- Frequent urination or straining
- Prolonged squatting or straining but producing only a small amount of cat urine or none at all
- Pain while urinating (noted by meowing or howling)
- Urinating outside of the litter box
- Blood in the urine
- Frequent licking of the genital area
Cats with FLUTD can develop crystals in their urine. In males these crystals can block the urethra which can prevent the cat from urinating even though the bladder is still filling. This can be very painful and stressful for the cat.
Cats that eat canned food have fewer problems with FLUTD. A primary reason for this is the higher moisture content in the food, but it’s thought that the higher meat content may also play a positive role. Increased hydration can prevent crystals from forming, so be sure you always have plenty of fresh water in areas where your cat spends a lot of time.
You may also want to try a different cat litter if your cat has problems with feline urinary tract infections: Choosing The Best Cat Litter.
Feline Diabetes is a cat health problem that results when the body is no longer able to regulate blood sugar levels. Blood sugar is primarily regulated through insulin which is produced by the pancreas.
Symptoms of feline diabetes include:
- Excessive thirst
- Frequent cat urination
- Recurrent urinary tract infections
- Change in appetite
- Weight loss
- General weakness
- Weak rear legs
Some risk factors for cat diabetes include obesity, and an unhealthy diet. For some animals this feline illness is genetic and for some it’s linked to an infectious viral disease or autoimmune disease.
The thyroid gland produces hormones that affect the body’s metabolism, growth and development. Feline hyperthyroidism is caused when the thyroid gland is overactive and overproducing hormones.
This cat health problem is more common in older cats, but it can also occur in younger cats. Unfortunately a large number of cats are affected by this condition. Feline hyperthyroidism seems to be more common among cats that are fed sub-standard nutrition and food containing artificial preservatives.
Symptoms of feline hyperthyroidism include:
- Increased appetite
- Weight loss (despite an increased appetite)
- Irritability or Aggression
- Panting, Heat intolerance
- Skin lesions, dry, greasy, matted coat
Feline Colitis – Cat Constipation
Feline colitis is an inflammation of the colon. This cat health problem can be caused by stress, bacteria, parasites etc. You may observe feline colitis as cat constipation.
Feline colitis will cause cats to have mucous and occasional specks of blood in their feces. In severe cases it could cause vomiting. Some cats will have severe pain when defecating because of the inflammation. Because of this they may actually try to stop defecating which can result in constipation. If they experience pain while in the litter box it can trigger them to go to the bathroom elsewhere because they start to associate pain with the litter box.
Feline colitis may result in cat constipation or diarrhea, but either way there will be an abnormal defecation process.
Preventing Cat Health Problems Is Key
One way to help prevent cat health problems is by feeding your cat a balanced, healthy feline diet. Many cat foods on the market are heavily processed and packed with cheap fillers to make them less expensive for companies to produce.
If you feed your cat kibble be sure to mix canned or raw foods into the diet as well. Cats need the moisture content that’s found in canned or raw foods. Always make sure they have fresh water in areas where they spend a lot of time.
One of the fundamentals of good cat health care is a healthy feline diet. It’s worth spending a little more on a healthy, natural cat food because it will end up saving you when it comes to vet bills and the stress of having to watch your cat suffer through cat health problems. Plus the more your cat is stressed by cat illness the more likely you will see cat urination outside of the litter box causing a whole cycle of problems for you and her.
If you think your cat may be suffering from a cat health problem or is showing signs and symptoms listed here consult your veterinarian right away. And pay extra close attention to elder cats. If left untreated many of these problems can become more severe. Most of these cat illnesses cause a great amount of discomfort for your feline friend, and they may trigger cat behavior problems as well. You don’t want to have to read up on how to remove cat urine._____________________________________