Daisy knows what it means to have the Litterpan Blues. When the two brother cats were brought in to live with us, little Daisy became the lowest of five cats in the pecking order. She took to hiding under the bed.
A month or two later, puddles of urine began appearing mysteriously here and there throughout the house.
Unfortunately in a multi-cat household, it requires patience to find out which cat is having difficulty. Since we also have a cat with a kidney problem, I first suspected that it might be her. Daisy was a suspect, though, having been found nearby several “accidents.”
For a while, I stalked each feline as he or she headed to the litterpan, keeping an eye out for any straining or repeated circling the pan that might yield a clue. You don’t know what patience is until you’ve followed a curious cat around the house and tried to appear nonchalant as it goes about its daily “toilette.” It becomes a test of who is most curious, you or the cat trying to figure out what you’re doing following it around.
There are several keys to diagnosing a urinary tract problem in cats. Soiling outside the litterpan can result from stress, such as a move or a new pet being added to the household. Or it can be a symptom of disease, such as diabetes. If you notice that your cat strains when urinating or is unable to urinate, your veterinarian should be contacted with haste. It can be a serious or even deadly situation if left untreated.
Daisy’s blood sample showed no obvious disease, so a urine sample was tested, and it appeared that she had a bladder infection. So a course of antibiotics was prescribed. How I dreaded pill-giving! By the end of the 10 days of antibiotic, she was more cheerful and outgoing, nearly a new Daisy. Nearly. She was still avoiding the litterpan sometimes.
Call it FUS (Feline Urologic Syndrome) or FLUTD (Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease), the problem can be an infection of the bladder or urethra, as well as irritation from struvite or calcium oxalate crystals.
A few days after the antibiotic, Daisy jumped into the empty litter pan I’d just cleaned and provided another urine sample. Feeling like I’d struck oil, I took it in to the vet’s on my way to work. The analysis revealed struvite crystals present, and so a new diet was proposed to help produce more acidic urine and prevent more crystals from forming.
I found these articles on the Web to be helpful: The Cat Fancier’s Association addresses litterpan concerns of a multi-cat household and the Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine Feline Health Center Web site tackles FLUTD causes and related treatments.
Daisy liked the new food, and within a week she was using the litterpan again, but I’m sure I’ll keep an eye on things for a long time to come. In her case, it appears that there are still several factors to resolve, the biggest being a territorial conflict. And I don’t think a pill will solve that problem!