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Urinary Tract Infections...

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
I feel a bit concerned about the frequency of people assuming that Kitty not "going" in the litterbox is requires them to be rushed into the vet for a blood panel and exam, and the assumption that something is horribly wrong.

I've had over 20 cats in the past fifteen years...and I've not had ONE case of them getting a urinary tract infection. Honestly, I would suggest that if you have a kitty that is refusing to go in the litterbox, it's more than likely because he/she is being picky about something to do with the box itself, or it's placement in the house.

Personally, I do what I've posted before (about such things as changing a few things to see what his preference is with it), and if the behavior continues, I would then wonder if a trip to the vet is needed.

I'm not saying not to be concerned about kitties when they act strange, but I feel like there are an aweful lot of people that are quick to give the advice of taking Kitty in to the vet's office, having a blood panel done, and assuming that it's something that dire...when it could simply be that Kitty doesn't like something about his or her litterbox.

I'm not trying to start an argument about it, I just thought it worth mentioning. Sometimes the solution is something simple...not that something potentially fatal is occurring and you should pay out the bum for things that aren't necessary.

I hope no one takes offense that I've posted this. I just wish that "Kitty is potentially dying" wouldn't be so quickly assumed.

Hey, maybe I've just been lucky with not having a kitty with a UTI, but it seems much less common than people assume.

Bottom line...I love you all...have nothing against anyone...but felt this needed to be said.
post #2 of 6
Thread Starter 
Just to add...

The thing I usually post in reply to someone stating that their kitty won't go in the litterbox is the following...

There could be lots of reasons for him doing this. Yes, get him checked out if you prefer, but it could be something completely aside from anything physical, and could just be a preference thing.

Some things that should help...

Sometimes kitties get very finicky about exactly how their litterbox is set up, and where. Sounds like that's the problem here.

Our boy, Hobbes, did the same thing, and it turned out he wanted one litterbox to poop in and one to pee in, he didn't like hooded litterboxes, and he liked it pristinely clean. I found a couple websites that helped me understand exactly what it was that I could try that would help, and it really did. One good thing is the fact that he's now outgrown his pickiness about wanting two and wanting them in such perfect condition, now that he's about a year old! Hopefully yours will do the same!

Here are a couple websites that should help:




A couple tips:

Cats don't usually like the plastic liners some people use in litterboxes.

Some cats don't like the hooded boxes.

Cats at times don't like the box to be anywhere that they also have to eat and drink.

Sometimes the problem is just that the box isn't somewhere private enough. They only like to "go" somewhere that is low-traffic, quiet, and very private.
post #3 of 6
Very good points. I applaud you for your efforts on putting together this thread. The only thing I can say is that UTI's are very painful. Ruling out a UTI before checking into the behavioral aspects (since there ARE so many) is the best thing, because then the cat isn't suffering while you're figuring it out. That is why I personally will stress checking for a UTI first. BUT, on the other hand, I will only say to first start with a urine test, not really a blood test if it's just UTI symptoms. That said, I have had cats all my life and never had UTI's either. Thank you for posting all the behavioral aspects, hopefully it will help lots of people!
post #4 of 6
I personally think any odd weeing habits should immediately be referred to the vet - I would rather rule out a UTI quickly, esp if it is a male cat. My vets just ask for a urine sample though, I don't see the point in blood tests for a UTI. I have dealt with three cats with UTI's in the past year, all 3 showed different symptoms, only one wasn't obvious (strong smelling wee, but I couldn't tell which cat until she went while I was in the room).
post #5 of 6
My cat Frankie recently started going outside the litter box. We had no problems with him previously in this regard, and there was no decrease in his energy levels that we could see at the time. If we caught him "in the act" of going elsewhere, he'd make a beeline straight for the litterbox and finish, so we knew that he knew he was going in the wrong place. The litterbox was clean, so we knew that wasn't the issue. After at least three bottles of enzymatic cleaner on the couch, we gave up--the couch was ruined from Frankie's "visits". (Our other cat, much more finicky about the litterbox, had normal bathroom habits and behaviors.)

At the time we didn't think Frankie's other behavior had changed much outside of the aberrant bathroom action--he was still he same purring exuberant self, clamoring constantly to be let outside on his leash. He was always a “talker,†(or perhaps screamer is a better word, lol), so no change there either. I hadn't heard any cats outside in our neighborhood who might be "enticing†Frankie to spray, and he had been fixed before he ever had any urges to spray anyway. My boyfriend and I thought perhaps Frankie was stressed about something and looked for causes, especially after he deliberately peed in my boyfriend’s gym bag, but we could think of nothing new that had been introduced into his life recently. We thought it might be an issue of not enough attention, so we tried to spend more time with Frankie at home, and put him outside on his leash almost all the time, which seemed to make his quite happy. As a result of exploring all the other options first, we waited to take him in to the vet.

Boy did I regret waiting! The whole time he was at the vet, he was purring up a storm, his "happy motor" going so loudly that the vet couldn't even hear his heartbeat, and it even continued as they poked him in the bum to take his temp. He was totally obsessed with exploring all over the vet's examination room and wasn't distressed at all (unlike the car ride TO the vet, when my ears were bleeding from his wailing). That’s right, even at the vet there was no indication in his behavior that he was feeling poorly. But, the vet took tests anyway AND….

…I learned that Frankie had a raging UTI, complete with fever, high bacteria count, a little blood, and even crystals! He's on antibiotics now, and soon I'll be scheduling his follow up visit. Needless to say, I feel horrible that I ignored the little warning voice in my head that was urging me to take him in, and in retrospect, (hindsight is always 20-20, right?) I realized that there HAD been a slight decrease in Frankie's Bengal super energy levels--they had just been extremely subtle changes, perhaps because Frankie was such a young cat and probably had a strong enough immune system that it took a long time for his body to start losing the battle.

From the very first dose of drugs, he stopped going outside the litterbox. I'm crossing my fingers that he is better after 11 days of antibiotics, otherwise we'll have to change his diet. Needless to say, I regret horribly that I didn't take him in sooner and I'm feeling very guilty for making him suffer for as long as he did.

I agree that often there are outside causes for suspicious urination behavior, BUT PLEASE don’t make the same mistake I did and wait too long exploring all the other options before you take your cat in!
post #6 of 6
As the others have mentioned, I think it's best to rule out anything medical first. That way if it does end up being a UTI, they'll get it cleared up right away as opposed to have to suffer in pain while we figure out another cause for their behaviour.

Like the saying goes; better safe than sorry.
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