Customer: “Haven’t taken him back to vet, he was doing so well.”
Me: "You say he's peeing several times a day? Every time outside the box? Is the box cleaned after he uses in the morning?"
Customer: “I clean it daily after he uses if I can. He pees once and poops in the box during the day, then pees another time at night and that’s outside the box.”
Me: "Is there another cat that might be stalking? Have you changed litter or the box?"
Customer: “No other cat. He’s using same box and litter he’s used since I’ve had him and he’s three.”
Me: "Has this been going on since you were in?"
Customer: “No. Just started about 5 days ago.”
Me: "Any changes since you started the new food and herbs?"
Customer: “He loves the new wet food I got there, but I didn’t have time to pick up the food you placed him on. So I bought a grocery store wet food.”
Me: "When did he start peeing outside the box?"
Customer: . . .silence . . . “hmm, a day or so after I gave him grocery brand, but it’s the better stuff!”
Me: "Again, we need to check and see if this is a medical issue or behavior. So first have him checked by your vet, then compare food ingredients. I'm suspicious it's the food. The ingredients are not as well controlled."
Customer: “But it’s wet food like you suggested.”
Me: "As we discussed when you were in, all wet foods aren’t the same and your cat’s health is going to confirm what works for him. You might also want to consider a different box and different litter. Sometimes cats associate the pain from the urinary disorder with the box. Just as you avoid a food if you got sick on it. (Cats may also do this, but that’s another posting.)"
Customer: "He does appear to be in pain, in that he wants to be held more. Is there kitty acetaminophen? Or some kind of pain med I can give him?"
Me: "No. Giving him any kind of pain med without your veterinarian prescribing, could have him end up in the emergency room. Many human (child) pain medications are toxic to cats."
Me: "Please have him seen by your vet. One other thought. Has his access to the litter box changed at night? Are doors closed off? Is it near HVAC equipment or a washer and dryer that might be running and loud? (Try going yourself when there is racket around you.)"
Customer: “Well, I guess I could turn the light on for him at night.” (While cats see better than humans in low light, they cannot see in total darkness.)
There are times I write out blogs to work through a case, review details and look for clues to working with pet owners and their companion animals. While many never make it beyond the draft stage, I followed through with this post to show my frustration at times isn't about sarcasm or pointing paws, it's about sharing a lack of knowledge and showing the misunderstandings we face when trying to prevent and manage the health problems in our pets. My goal too with this post is to help underline that besides loving and caring for our companions, we must be their advocates.