I get a number of email about cats. Some people ask me questions about their cats that I wish I had the answers to because I do so love these creatures. I am by no means an expert in this area. I just have a deep fondness for them.
The latest email I received is from Alyssa about a cat named Abby. I was going to answer her personally, but decided that it might be better if I give her a broader spectrum of feedback. I was hoping that if I posted it here, someone else might have the answer(s) for her.
Here is Alyssa’s email:
We found Abby when she was 4 months old and took her to our vet immediately. She had ear mites and worms, but nothing a few meds couldn’t fix. We made an appointment while we were there to have her spayed at 6 months. A few weeks before her appointment my husband was sleeping and she crawled upon him and peed on his leg! We called the vet because it was so out of character and they asked if she was acting more affectionate than normal, and we answered why yes, yes she was. They suspected she was in heat and said we could bring her in the next week. We took her in and 24 hours later brought her home. She was sleepy and was having trouble walking, so when she PEED ON ME WHILE SLEEPING I blamed it on the surgery/meds/whatever. So things were going fine until this morning when I decided to allow her in the bedroom at 5 AM because she was looking so darn cute when I woke up to get a drink. (On a side note, she is not allowed in the bedroom with us due to slight allergies.) So, just as I started to nod back off, she crawled upon me and left a mighty pee on my leg.
A few things that may help…
- 1. We haven’t changed litter or moved her box and we keep it clean
- 2.We feed her Dick Van Patten Natural Balance dry food
The only thing I can say with any amount of certainty is that cats tend to “act out” (do weird things—however you want to describe it) when they are trying to tell you that something is wrong. My cat, Schmitty, peed and pooped all over my house for months and months before I realized he had ash build up and had to have emergency surgery. I came home one day to find him screaming in pain—actually screaming because he hadn’t been able to urinate in who knows how long a time. He was rushed to the veterinary hospital where I was given an ultimatum: put him down, or cut off his manhood. I chose to cut off his manhood. (I always forget the name of the surgery.)
He lived another 11 years perfectly happy and healthy until cancer finally got to him. (And at the end of his life, he started acting out again by pooping in weird places.)
My only suggestion (and I am by no means very wise when it comes to this stuff) is to take Abby in and run some blood work. They can figure out if she’s diabetic. They can test her for liver function, kidney problems, you name it.
Are there any other suggestions for Abby and Alyssa? Do you have any ideas as to why Abby is behaving this way? Could this be due to a mental problem? Might she need kitty prozac?
Feel free to leave comments anonymously if you are wary of such.
It does sound like Abby’s trying to tell Alyssa something. Now to figure out what that is… It’s possible that she’s got a urinary tract infection. I would strongly recommend a vet appointment at her very earliest convenience. They can indeed do some bloodwork to make sure her kidney and liver functions are o.k. and they can do a culture on her urine to see if there’s bacteria; can also see whether there are crystals or blood in her urine. (By the way, my Louie had the same surgery as your Schmitty-
it’s called a perineal urethrostomy-he had tried to let me know he was having problems by repeatedly getting in and out of the litter box, and when i didn’t understand, he peed blood on the kitchen floor. Boy, did that get my attention! The vet and i tried various nonsurgical means to keep him from forming crystals in his urine that were blocking his urethra, already scarred and narrowed by having an untreated raging urinary tract infection when i adopted him off the street. After the second time that he suffered a blockage and had to have emergency hospitalization, his vet said he really had better have the surgery because another blockage could kill him. The surgery was 9 years ago and he’s thriving still.)
My cat, Roxy was doing a similar thing. After a vigorous round of testing, nothing medical came up and they put her on Clomicalm to alleviate anxiety. Works like a charm. Her peeing really tends to be behavioral, if the litter box isn’t clean, if I’m gone for too long, etc. It’s not easy to get a urine sample from a cat, but if you can manage it, that’s the best thing to initially bring in to your vet.
I’m hoping that in the case of Abby that it is just behavioral. The fact that she is peeing on a person, as opposed to random places seems like she is trying to “tell you something”.
Hugs to Abby and her parents…and to Murray too!
I don’t know why Abby would pee on legs, per se, but maybe she has diabetes insipidus? It’s “the other diabetes” and if she had it, it would mean that she can’t make the hormone that regulates thirst and urine. She’ll drink a lot and pee a lot—and will pee a lot even if she doesn’t have access to drinking water. My elderly pug has this, but I have heard recently of a young cat being diagnosed with it. It can be controlled with a drop of medicine administered once a day to the eye. It can’t really be diagnosed with a blood test, so even if she just had bloodwork done for her spaying, the vets wouldn’t necessarily have noticed it….
I haven’t ever heard of that, Elizabeth! Here’s a direct link for those interested in reading more.
I would think that since Abby is making a point to pee ON people it would seem behavioral. My Miss Boots has flea dermatitis and it took us a while to figure that out…until she climbed on my husband’s shoulder and peed down his neck. It was a way to get our attention. Obviously Abby doesn’t have that particular condition, but I have to agree with everyone else in that she is trying VERY HARD to tell you something. It could be any number of things and I really think that having the vet run all the tests recommended would be a great start. I hope you get this figured out! And hugs to Murray! I have no input on how to help that poor guy! I hope it all works out.
Hey guys. We are a cat-only household, so i don’t know if this might be it. But I noticed on Alyss’a Flickr page they seem to have a dog living with them? Could this do it? Is it jealously?
I wonder if the dog sleeps with them and the cat doesn’t and she’s jealous? I have no idea. Just throwing it out there.
Nothing really new to add here – my 2 peeing cats were diagnosed with (a) diabetes and (b) UTI/crystals, so I’d say definitely have your vet check for those things. Good luck!
Thanks for all your help, everyone:)
It is funny you mention jealousy, as Abigail will sleep outside our door and meow at night. Sometimes she’ll go as far as throwing herself against the door.
And yes, Stanley (the dog) sleeps in our room next to our bed.
Completely unhelpful, I’m sure, but we have a dog who does that actually. Anytime she gets on the bed, she pees on it. We have read it has something to do with territory and it being plushy…I doubt that is what your cat is doing, though. :)
Also unrelated, my moms cat pees on her bed anytime it rains out.
My parents family dog is a vengeful pee’er (and pooper…) but cats don’t usually go outside the litter box unless they are trying to tell you something. From what I have read/heard about cats, everything everyone is saying sounds plausible! I would get her to the vet as soon as possible for blood work and diagnosis. Poor darling – she looks like a beautiful cat!
izzy has a similar problem, except she’d seek out my laundry basket. she had a uti mixed with a little behavioral mischief. i started using this organic pee attractant – looks like catnip, sprinkles into the litterbox. she hasn’t had an accident since she got treated for her last uti.
a vet visit is definitely in order. it very well could be jealousy, but peeing on people isn’t going to help kitty’s case.
also, is your litterbox away from the dog, or can the cat get disturbed? that could have something to do with it.
rule out the medical problems first, then tackle the behavior problems. the litter attractant might help, but if you do get it, keep it way out of cat sight (i keep mine up in a cupboard, otherwise she gets psyched to pee on it.) good luck!
I have a two cats with the mysterious FUS—or feline urinary syndrome (here’s a link: http://www.sniksnak.com/cathealth/fusfaqs.html) where they kinda sorta act like they have a UTI, but they don’t. Instead, they have inflammation and are periodically uncomfortable. It comes and goes, and those cats are also periodically weird and creative about their litterbox habits.
I might suggest trying a canned food instead of the dry…only because the dry food does not add any much-needed water (hydration to soothe inflammation and to help “get things moving”). One holistic vet I used suggested all our kibble-eating animals are walking around partially dehydrated because in the wild, they get a lot of their fluid intake from their food.
I was just at the (traditional) vet for this issue with a cat who is peeing in her food dish (!), and he suggested even putting a little salt on the cat’s tongue to try to encourage her to drink more.
And, apparently, if FUS is the culprit, you also need to alter the ph of urine, which is why cranberry (with a lot of vit.c) is often prescribed for UTI. (Wellness cat food has cranberry in it.) Good luck! and hope you solve the problem! She is beautiful!
I have recently stumbled upon a terrific book called The Cat Detective by Vicky Halls. She is a cat behavivour counsellor and in the book she describes why cats do what they do.
She also has a website and she provides consultancy services by telephone if necessary. Maybe she could help you if you run out of all other options.