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Canberra Cat Vet Blog

Peeing blood

Thursday, August 04, 2016

Finding blood in the litter tray or, worse still, on the carpet is guaranteed to trigger concern. A cat running back to the litter tray every 5 minutes and sitting with a concentrated look on the face is also a major worry.

In a young male or desexed male it is an emergency as he may have a blocked or semi-blocked urethra and be unable to pass urine. The bladder rapidly fills and the cat can become toxic in a matter of hours.

The main cause of blood in the urine is stress and the resulting pain from an inflamed bladder. Stress or anxiety cause the inflammation which is painful, causing more stress... and the vicious circle goes on. Common causes of stress are moving house, new people or pets in the household, tradies or visitors in the house, conflict between household cats, or any change in routine.

In older cats, especially those with kidney disease, diabetes, or hyperthyroidism, a urinary tract infection is more likely. Occasionally bladder stones cause blood in the urine.

After a chat with you and a physical examination of your cat, your vet will take a urine sample to sort out what is the most likely cause of the problem.

 

Kidney failure

Thursday, August 07, 2014

 

 

Signs of kidney failure don’t appear until at least 70% of kidney function is lost. The kidneys remove waste products from the blood stream, regulate fluid and electrolyte balance, maintain the acid-base balance of the body and remove toxins and drugs. They also help maintain blood pressure and stimulate blood cell production.


Kidney damage accumulates for years before we see any signs. Even then the early signs of kidney failure - increased thirst and urine production - are not easy to pinpoint in our feline friends.

 

You may notice an increasingly wet litter tray if your cat is only indoors. However if you have other cats you may not pick up increased urine production in a particular cat.

 

Cats often drink from multiple water sources making it difficult to recognise increased consumption. 

 

Other signs of kidney failure such as weight loss and poor coat quality are even more insidious.

 

Sometimes the first thing we see is a cat off her food, vomiting, depressed and dehydrated. The kidneys are already badly affected by this stage.

 

We diagnose and stage kidney failure with blood tests for the two waste products, urea and creatinine and a urine analysis to measure the kidneys ability to concentrate urine. We also check the urine for protein loss or a urinary tract infection.

 

Tests for other substances like potassium, phosphorus and calcium as well as blood cell counts help us decide on the best course of treatment.

 

Annual blood and urine tests, as well as regular body weight checks, help pick kidney failure up as early as possible. If urine concentrating ability is deteriorating, your cat is losing weight or the creatinine is trending up we slow the progression of the disease with a special kidney protective diet. Many cats in the early stages of kidney disease live for years on the right diet and with regular checks.

Help! My cat is urinating indoors

Friday, June 27, 2014

Marking or toileting?

Spraying small amounts of urine against vertical objects such as chairs or walls is a territorial marking behaviour. Entire male cats are the most likely to spray. 

Male and female cats urinate in a squatting position leaving a greater volume of liquid.
Medical problems such as cystitis, diabetes, kidney disease and obesity exacerbate abnormal toileting behaviour. 

Why do cats spray or mark?

Anxiety and stress are the most common causes of spraying. Cats are creatures of habit and like to have their own space and toys. Even though they are willing to share a house and bed with you they need places and things of their own to be happy. If they think that something that belongs to them is being taken over by someone else they feel threatened. They have to let everyone know that it is theirs. The natural way to stake their claim is to mark it with the facial scent glands or urine. This is like writing their name on their things. Putting urine or facial scent on a thing or place makes a cat feel secure, especially if they feel out of place, nervous or afraid.

What makes cats anxious?

• A new cat or kitten. Introduce a new pet into the household gradually. Let them get used to each other through a screen or glass door. Exchange their bedding and let them sniff and sleep on it. Remember to reassure and cuddle the established pet as well as the cute new one.

• A new baby. Let your cat hear the sounds and sniff the clothes of a new family member from a safe, private place. Give the cat lots of attention.

Changes in furniture or carpets and disruptions such as building or painting. Lock your cat in a room well away from tradesmen and the strange sounds and smells associated with their work.

• A strange cat wandering in the garden or even through the cat flap.

• The loss of a human or animal companion. Strongly bonded cats will need extra care and attention if mourning a friend who has moved or passed away.

Incompatible cats, especially if a lot of cats live together. Determine which cats do not get along and keep them in separate parts of the home with their own litter and sleeping areas.

Stress.

Enriching a cat’s environment minimises stress

Cat scratching posts, toys that mimic prey, tunnels, outside runs and a variety of high spots and hideouts will keep your cat happy and stimulated. Vertical space is often more important than horizontal space. Some cats appreciate an indoor garden sown with grass, cat nip and cat mint. Find several toys they like and rotate them regularly. Your company is important. Even an old cat will appreciate a game with a ribbon on a stick or a glittery ball. Make your cat work for food by hiding it in various locations around the house or in food puzzles such as plastic containers with holes cut in the sides. 

Routine is important for some cats. Ten minutes each day play and grooming your cat to provide regular predictable attention that helps reduce their anxiety. Feed them at a set time.

What if I can’t identify or remove the source of the anxiety?

If you cannot identify or remove the source of the anxiety then provide your cat with a safe haven. A room where your cat can safely retreat or relax without fear of disturbance is ideal. A small, enclosed and elevated space lined with your worn clothes is also good. Most cats will mark a limited space with facial rubbing and bunting only.

Clean urine marked areas with a special enzymatic cleaner like Urine Off, available at Canberra Cat Vet, that eliminates the scent. If your cat can smell urine he will mark it again. You may have to lock him out of the room for a while to help him forget it.

Protect a habitual spraying site by placing dry food or a bed at the base. Cats are usually reluctant to spray their own key resources. Food and beds are also reassuring and may reduce anxiety. However, a stressed cat may move to other areas and mark there instead.

A natural pheromone spray called Feliway calms some cats and reduces the urge to spray and mark. Spray it on previously marked areas or plug a Feliway diffuser in or near the area he most marks.

You might find useful more hints on The Litterbox Guru

Never punish cats. If caught in the act they can be picked up and placed on the litter tray, stroked and calmed. Never ‘rub the cat’s nose in it’ as this will make a nervous cat even more likely to toilet indoors.

Cats with anxiety related behaviours like spraying often need evaluation for anti-anxiety medications in addition to the above changes to resolve the problem. Call us on 6251 1444 for a behaviour consultation if you cannot sort it out.

Blood in the litter box

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Cats pass blood in the urine for many different reasons. Older cats with kidney or bladder disease are prone to urinary tract infections. In younger cats it can be a sign of stress or anxiety. If a male cat is having trouble passing his urine or is passing blood it is an emergency and you should call us immediately.

A urine sample and a chat with the person who spends the most time with the cat is essential to working out what the root cause of the problem is. Often we take the sample in the consult room. Sometimes the cat has to stay in hospital (like Leila above) until she builds up enough urine for us to sample.

Once we have the urine we check it with a diagnostic stick and then stain it so we can see any cells, crystals or bacteria under the microscope. We can then target the problem with the best treatment and help you prevent it happening again.

All in the family

Monday, February 10, 2014

Are the cats in your household stressed by each other? 

In their natural state cats live with their relatives - their mothers, siblings and offspring. But we expect them to live in close quarters with total strangers and then wonder why they mark indoors, have bladder problems and overgroom - all signs of stress.

You know your cats consider each other family if they sleep together and groom each other, paying particular attention to each other’s heads. When all the cats in your household think of each other as family stress levels are low. 

More often in multi-cat households each cat considers the other as just another tenant of the house and would rather not share dining, toilet and rest areas. When forced to share tension levels between the cats will rise and fall. Occasionally we see outright aggression between housemates. Sometimes the only sign is the occasional spray of urine up the curtain or recurrent cystitis (inflammation of the bladder).

Check out your cats’ sleeping arrangements. If they are sleeping separately and not grooming each other with complete ease then make sure you have multiple resources available so that each ‘family’ can eat, drink and toilet in private. If you have three cats who do not groom each other then you will need feeding and water bowls, and a litter tray in three separate areas.


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Canberra Cat Vet 16-18 Purdue St Belconnen ACT 2617 (parking off Gillott Street) Phone: (02) 6251-1444

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