Cat Health & The Litter Box


I recently spoke with a homeowner (HO) who has an older cat experiencing urinary tract infection (UTI) issues. I also had elderly kitties that would develop UTIs, After researching, I discovered that anxiety could contribute to UTIs. So this is a non-medical way to help - keep a routine and ensure that there is a comfy place where the kitty feels safe, and there are meds if changing up the environment doesn’t solve it.

Below are some tips on how to monitor for potential issues:

  1. Frequent Urination: If your cat is urinating more frequently but passing only small amounts of urine, it could be a sign of a UTI.
  2. Peeing Outside the Litter Box: Keep an eye out for any accidents outside the litter box.
  3. Blood in Urine: If you notice blood in your cat’s urine, consult a vet promptly.
  4. Straining to Urinate: Cats with UTIs may strain or show discomfort while urinating.
  5. Increased Licking of the Urinary Opening: Excessive grooming around the genital area could indicate a problem.

Reading the litter box…
You’ve heard about reading tea leaves, right? It’s called tasseography, and it’s a method of fortune telling through interpreting patterns in the leaves.

Well, cats want you to read about the here and now through clues they leave in the litterbox. Felines are notoriously good at hiding when they’re sick. After all, they can’t just tell you. But sometimes you just have to think inside the box.

These signs from the litter box are a good indication that it’s time to call the vet:

  1. Oops, I did it again: Is Kitty continually going outside the box? If you’ve already gone through the steps of cleaning the litter box (she likes a clean box), and using enzyme cleaner to dissuade her from going in the same spot — and still, she persists — it’s a good indication that she might be sick or stressed. Call the vet.
  2. Peeing, the Sequels: Is Kitty repeatedly visiting the box, trying to pee? Worse, have you noticed there’s blood in the pee? This is a strong sign she has a UTI, which are very painful for cats (and humans). She needs a vet’s help immediately.
  3. Off schedule pooping: Cats typically pee a couple times a day and poop once a day. If Kitty is visiting the litter box a lot, or visibly straining when trying to poop, she might be constipated. And if it’s just a mess in there, and Kitty has diarrhea for more than a day, it’s time to call the vet. Her tummy is upset, and she might (ick!) have worms. Basically, any drastic change, either going to the bathroom a lot more or a lot less than usual is cause to call the vet.
  4. Size matters: Fresh Step® clumping litter is a great choice not only because it cleans up easily, but also because it helps you monitor the size of those clumps. If you notice that clumps are smaller than usual, it might indicate that there’s a bladder infection going on. If they’re much larger than usual, and you see Kitty drinking a lot of water, she might be suffering from kidney problems. Again, time for a vet visit.

Do any of you have advice on older kitty UTIs?