Why Your Cat Isn't Using The Litter Box: Medical Edition

So you’ve read the possible behavioral issues that could keep your cat from using the litter box and attempted to address the issue(s) (if you haven’t been able to read that post, add it to your reading list!). If nothing seems to be working and both you and the house tiger are frustrated, then we’re here to help!

Cats not using a litter box can indicate that there is an underlying medical condition which requires veterinary attention. It is not easy to decipher what is causing inappropriate urination without a medical exam because it is a symptom of multiple illnesses. Here are the most common we see in the clinic (in no particular order):

  • Pyelonephritis - a kidney infection
  • Chronic Kidney Disease
  • Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease
  • Cancer
  • Spinal Cord Lesions - common in cats with short tails such as the Manx breed
  • Detrusor muscle weakness (the detrusor is the muscle that your feline uses to initiate or stop urination)
  • Arthritis

It is important to note that there are other symptoms your cat will display if he or she is suffering from one of the above illnesses, . Examples of other symptoms include but are not limited to:

  • No/low appetite
  • Straining to urinate
  • Low energy
  • Dull hair coat
  • Etc.

This is by no means a comprehensive overview of pathologies that cause your cat to urinate inappropriately. If you have further questions we are more than happy to see you and your cat anytime, we are a walk in clinic!

If you want to read further about feline renal and urinary health the Univeristy of Cornell has some great resources http://vet.cornell.edu/fhc/Health_Information/topics.cfm