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How to Deal With Cat Incontinence

by Angela Tempest

posted in Pets

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When a cat has an accident and ends up not using their litter box, it is unpleasant but there is always a reason for it. Sometimes it can be behaviour - they don't like a new litter box or type of litter - or it can be physiological. One of the most common causes can be incontinence - so what is it and how do you deal with it?
Causes and symptoms
Problems with the bladder are most commonly caused by some kind of obstruction and these disorders are referred to as incontinence. They are more common in large sized cat breeds and middle to older age group cats.
Incontinence isn't just about urinating in the wrong place - there are a host of small symptoms that indicate it. These start with involuntary urine leakage, or urinating in places not their litter box because they didn't have time to get there. Other symptoms include wet hair on the lower abdominal area or between the legs; wet spots in the bedding or their favourite sleeping spot; infections in the urinary tract and inflammation of the skin around the genital area.
There are a number of reasons that a cat may get incontinence with obesity being a common factor. Occasionally neutering can bring on the condition but this is rare. Other causes include:
· Nerves around the bladder being disrupted
· Spinal cord lesion
· Brain lesion
· Overactive bladder syndrome
· Urinary tract infection
· Chronic inflammatory disease
· Pressure on the bladder by a tumour for example
· Underdeveloped bladder or other bird defect
Diagnosis and treatment
If you think your cat is suffering with incontinence, it is important to get them to see a vet as soon as possible. The vet will then be able to check what the underlying cause of the problem is and treatment can proceed from there.
Medication is often available to help the cat but other issues may need to be dealt with - for example, a diet if the cat is obese or antibiotics if there is an infection or an inflammation. Occasionally, surgery may be needed to remove an obstruction or to repair the bladder or urinary tract.
Dealing with incontinence
Apart from seeking out vets help to deal with the condition, there are other little things owners can do to help the cat manage the condition until they are cured. The first of these is to add in extra cat litter boxes around the house so that the cat doesn't have to travel from one end of the house to the other to go to a litter box - that distance may be too far when the urge comes on suddenly. If the cat is older, they may be forgetting where the litter box is so having extra ones will ease this problem also. Remember to use the same litter box and litter in each so that they are all instantly familiar to the cat - you don't want litter box avoidance on top of the problem.
Remember to never tell your cat off for urinating in the wrong place - it isn't their fault and they will come to be frightened of you because of it.
About the Author: For more information on this and other cat health issues, please see my articles at

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