Tampa Animal and Bird Hospital

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Ask a Vet:
Should I worry if my cat is not using the litterbox regularly?

Regular evaluation of your cat’s litterbox can provide a window to the health of your cat. There is an array of issues, both physical and behavioral, that can be gleaned from routine monitoring of litterbox habits. This is best performed by becoming familiar with what is normal for your particular pet, thus aiding in the discovery of a pattern change.

Abnormalities include: producing more or less urine or stool, urinating/defecating more frequently, urinating/defecating outside the box, producing soft or very hard stools, vocalizing or perhaps vomiting while in the litterbox, or not using the box at all. These are all of concern and could be indicative of a serious problem.

Once a pattern change has been identified, it is then imperative that a sample (or 2) be evaluated and paired with a thorough history and physical exam to determine if the underlying cause is physical or behavioral. Only then can appropriate recommendations be made to begin to manage the problem.

The list of potential problems includes, but is not limited to:

  • litterbox aversion
  • anxiety
  • infections
  • crystals or stones
  • kidney failure
  • diabetes
  • constipation
  • immune mediated disease
  • cancerous causes

If any of this sounds familiar, schedule an exam with your veterinarian as soon as possible.

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