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Pet Peeve

Advice column for pets!

What is your pet’s “pet peeve”?  What is the question your pet would ask, if they could? We are going to have fun with this column every month while answering some of your pet’s burning questions! This month’s Pet Peeve that we are going to address was sent in from Bob the Cat.

“I keep trying to tell my cat dad to clean my litter box, I mean, he flushes the toilet every time he uses it, all I’m asking for is the same consideration. But he just tells me to stop meowing so much. I am going to the litter box all the time, but he only cleans it once a day. I tried peeing on him to see if he’d get the hint, but now he is withholding treats and skritches. Please help.” - Bob the Cat.

Great Question Bob the Cat! I’m glad you wrote in. As a dedicated cat dad, I’m sure your dad cherishes you and your companionship, and has no idea what you are trying to tell him. However, if you are using the litter box more often than usual, it would be a good idea to have a medical evaluation to make sure that increased urination isn’t related to an underlying condition.

When I talk to cat moms and dads, they are often confused when their cat’s behavior regarding the litter box changes. Once we rule out any medical issues, I can help them learn to listen to what you are trying to tell them, so you can communicate with them effectively, without having to meow all the time.

1. Changes in Litter Box Habits:

Cats are creatures of habit, and any sudden alterations in their litter box routine can indicate a problem. If you notice that your cat is using the litter box more or less frequently, eliminating outside the box, or even avoiding it altogether, it is crucial to pay attention. These changes may signify an issue that requires prompt attention.

2. Frequent Visits to the Litter Box:

On the contrary, an increased frequency of litter box visits can also be a red flag. If your cat starts making frequent trips to the litter box without producing much urine or feces, it might indicate a potential urinary tract problem or other health issue. Such behavior should not be overlooked, as it could be a sign of discomfort or pain.

3. Vocalization and Distress:

Cats may resort to vocalization as a means of expressing their dissatisfaction. Excessive meowing, growling, or howling when near the litter box can be a cry for help. Your cat is trying to communicate that something is amiss, and a medical evaluation is crucial to identify and address the underlying cause.

4. Changes in Litter Box Posture:

Observing your cat's posture while using the litter box can provide valuable insights. If your feline companion assumes unusual positions, such as hunching or straining excessively, it could indicate discomfort or potential urinary obstruction. These signs should not be ignored and warrant immediate veterinary attention.

5. Unusual Odors or Discoloration:

Take note of any changes in the odor or appearance of your cat's urine or feces. Strong or foul-smelling urine, blood in the litter box, or abnormal discoloration could point to an infection, urinary tract issue, or other medical conditions. Seeking veterinary evaluation can help identify the root cause and facilitate appropriate treatment.

Being attentive to your cat's litter box complaints is crucial for maintaining their health and happiness. By recognizing the signs of discomfort and seeking a medical evaluation, you demonstrate your commitment as a responsible cat parent. Remember, your veterinarian is the best resource to diagnose and treat any underlying medical conditions that may be contributing to your cat's litter box aversion. With their guidance and care, you can address the issue effectively and restore harmony between your cat and their litter box. Feel free to share this article with your dad, Bob the Cat!

I am happy to address any particular questions on this matter, or any other pet peeves you have by contacting me at paws@caraveterinary.com.

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Being attentive to your cat's litter box complaints is crucial for maintaining their health and happiness. 

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