Elimination disorders in cats.
• Cystic Calculi
• Bacterial Infection
• Interstitial Cystitis
• Viral, Stress Induced, Idiopathic
• Chronic Renal Failure
• Diabetes Mellitus
• Inflammatory Bowel Disease
• Dietary Intolerance
• Gastrointestinal Parasitism
• Neurological or Locomotion Abnormalities
• Urine Culture if indicated by U/A or blood work (ex. If Azotemic)
• Chem. Profile
• Total T4
Minimum behavioral database
• Location of elimination and substrate - Marking typically occurs on vertical surfaces vs. horizontal
• Along walls, center of room, near windows or doors - Marking can often occur along perimeters
• Personal items vs. flooring - Horizontal marking can occur on personal items
• Type of elimination - Stool vs. urine (domestic cats do not mark with stool)
• Volume of urine - Marking commonly associated with small volumes
• Length of time problem has been occurring (Chronic vs. acute) - Can give an indication of prognosis
• Began as adult or kitten - Marking usually begins as kitten ages (after successfully using the litter box)
• Frequency of housesoiling incidents - increased frequency can be seen with marking behavior
• Number/Types of surfaces - marking commonly involves multiple surfaces
• Number of litter boxes and location – (Rule of Thumb: 1 box per cat + 1 and boxes should be separated in space to increase number of "core areas"
• Type of box - Covered vs. Uncovered
• Liners Used
• Size of box
• Litter types used (scented vs. unscented, clay vs. clumping)
• How long were the litters used
• Cat's response to each litter
• Cats in household
o Number of cats in household - Increased marking with increased # of cats
o Correctly ID problem cat - Use of fluorescein and non-toxic crayons
o Relationship between cats
• Access to outdoor animal activity - Territorial marking near viewing areas
• Changes in household (people and pets)
• Routine change in the home prior to onset of problem
• Previous treatments and results
• Substrate Preference - Cats will strive to reach proper substrate material.
• Substrate Aversion - Unacceptable litter type and can also occur secondary to LUTD or de-claw
• Location Preference - Cat finds an alternate location that it prefers in place of where litter box is located. Could be an area where cat feels safe or prefers secretive elimination.
• Location Aversion - Cat may have been frightened in the litter box area or had been attacked by another cat in the home while using the litter box.
• Vertical Marking (Spraying) - Typical Posture with tail raised, quivering and urine projected in a horizontal fashion
• Horizontal Marking - not as common. Characterized by depositing urine on personnel items
• Middling (Fecal Marking) not suspected to occur in domestic cats.
• Small Amounts of Urine
• Deposited on vertical surfaces (spraying) or on personal items (horizontal marking).
• Locations - No commonality of surface types (carpet, tile, wood, etc)
• Litter Use - Normal frequency of litter use. There is typically no issue with acceptance of litter. Remember, marking is for communication purposes.
• Elimination Posture - Spraying (tail raised and quivering)
• Toileting Issues
• Place Litter Box in Cat's Preferred Location - consider placing a litter box in this area in order to determine if the problem is location-related.
• Litter Trial - Offer several litter choices and record frequency of use of each.
• Confine with Preferred Litter - The goal is to increase the likelihood of the cat re-acclimating to the litter of choice
• Prevent Access to Soiled Areas
• Enzymatic Cleaners (Anti- Icky Poo, KOE)
• Litter Box Care
o scoop daily
o open litter boxes
o no liners
o clean with hot water only
o 3-4" of unscented litter
• Appropriate Number of Litter Boxes - 1 box per cat plus 1 additional and distributed around the home.
It is important to gradually reintroduce cat to living area after proper interval of confinement. Slowly increase access to increased number of areas of the home. Be sure to provide additional litter boxes (with the preferred litter) in those areas to increase the likelihood of the cat using the box with the proper litter material.
• Treat as for Toileting Issues - Evidence suggests that, even for marking behavior, proper litter management (#of boxes, dispersed throughout the home, proper litter cleaning protocol) can increase the tendency to utilize the litter box for elimination
o Clomipramine – 0.25-0.5 mg/kg bid
o Fluoxetine – 0.5-1.0 mg/kg sid
• More effective, safer and less recidivism rates as compared to Diazepam and Buspirone
• Treatment Options
• Feliway – synthetic Feline Facial Pheromone. Apply to marked areas and prominent spots in the home. Available as a spray or a plug-in diffuser.
• Provide alternate marking opportunities
o scratching posts or scratch boxes (in a proper location)
o scratching combs (Cat A Comb)
• Manage relationship issues in the home - Address aggression issues between cats (indoor and outdoor) as well as relationship with human members of the household.