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Caring for your incontinent cat

26th December 2020 Print

Cat incontinence can be a worrisome and frustrating problem for pet owners. Not only can the problem cause pet parents to worry about the health of their beloved cat, but it can also create issues with trying to keep the home clean without impeding the cat’s freedom.

Whether the cat has developed incontinence or the family has decided to take a cat into the home with such a problem, it is important for pet owners to understand the problem and how to manage it. This can help keep the home happy and comfortable for everyone.

Cat Diapers

One of the most beneficial items for a cat family to ease many of the issues associated with incontinence are cat diapers. These diapers can prevent leaks on furniture and floors that can allow the cat to freely move about the home without issues. Washable diapers available from Pet Parents can provide a cost-effective option for many cat families.

Although cat diapers can reduce messes in the home, it is important to not keep the cat in the diaper all day long. Keeping the urine and feces close to their skin for long periods can cause irritation. Diapers are best when they are used only when necessary. After a diaper is removed, the cat should be thoroughly cleaned to minimize irritations and other problems.

Symptoms of Incontinence

In some cases, incontinence can develop slowly, especially in older cats. It is important to watch for early signs of a problem. This can allow pet owners the opportunity to get their pet checked out by a veterinarian to find the source of the problem.

Some cats may seem to struggle to urinate or even defecate when at the litter box. They may leave trails of urine around the house. They may have an ammonia smell or urine stains around the hind legs. The cat may leave wet spots where they have been lying or sitting. They may even stop using the litter box.

Causes of Incontinence

There are a variety of reasons a cat may be incontinent. Some can cause incontinence for their entire life. In some cases, the continence may develop later. Some cats, such as a Manx, are more prone to such issues.

As cats age, they can become incontinent. Sometimes, this is due to having weaker muscles that make it difficult to hold themselves until they reach the litter box. Pain and difficulties moving as they get older can also be a cause of incontinence. Sometimes, the problem can be due to senility or other cognitive issues due to age.

There are also diseases of the urinary tract or gastrointestinal tract that can affect a cat’s ability to hold themselves or even know that they need to go. Some traumas or other injuries that cause damage to the spine or hind legs can also pose issues with their ability to make it to the litter box.

Obesity can also be a cause of an incontinence problem. The excessive weight can push more on the bladder and create accidents. Obesity can also create weaknesses in the muscles that hold the urine and feces in place, thus causing accidents.

Caring for the Cat

There is no one method for treating or caring for a cat with incontinence. It is important to work with a veterinarian that understands cat incontinence and will help find the cause and potential treatments. In many cases, incontinence can be corrected by treating an infection. There are some medications and surgical options that can help with issues due to weak muscles in the bladder.

A proper diet and supplements are often provided for cats with an incontinence problem. Being even a little overweight can exacerbate the issue. It is a good idea to ensure the cat is maintaining a proper weight and getting the right nutrition to prevent other urinary problems.

In some cases, changes around the home can help minimize accidents. Having more litter boxes or pee areas can make it easier for a cat to reach the box before a leak occurs. Waterproof bedding and pee pads in favorite spots can also help to minimize the mess.

For cats that have mobility issues, providing them with a litter box with low sides or a ramp for easier access can help them reach the box. Placing absorbent pads around the box can also prevent accidents from occurring.

Hygiene Assistance

If a cat is having problems making it to the litter box, they are usually having trouble keeping themselves clean after an accident. Dried urine or feces can be very irritating and can even leave the cat prone to illness and infection. This makes it important for incontinent cat owners to provide help with their hygiene.

Depending on the severity of the problem, the cat will need to have regular baths in the area. This should be done at least daily and more often if the problem is severe. A bath of comfortably warm water and mild cleaning agents, such as unmedicated pet shampoo, will be sufficient for helping to remove urine or feces.

It is also recommended that cats with long-term incontinence problems have their back end shaved. This can make it a lot easier to thoroughly clean the area. It can also help pet owners identify any sores or irritations their cats may have developed from the problem.

Keeping baby wipes around can also be a benefit for these cats. These wipes can be used between the regular baths to remove urine or feces. Topical ointments or creams, as recommended by the veterinarian, can be kept on hand to help relieve any irritation.

When to Call the Veterinarian

Incontinent cats can be prone to other serious issues. It is important for pet owners to know when to contact a veterinarian for help. These signs could point to a serious issue. Getting help right away can prevent a medical emergency for the cat.

If there is any pink tinge to the urine, bits of blood, a foul smell, or leakage from a cat who is not incontinent, call the veterinarian as soon as possible. This could be a sign of a urinary tract infection. Major changes in the consistency of the cat’s stool can also be an issue and should be reported to the veterinarian.

If the cat seems to stop urinating or appears unable to defecate, this could be a medical emergency and the cat should be taken to the veterinarian right away. This could be a sign of a urinary tract blockage or an impacted colon. The veterinarian can help with these issues.

Cat incontinence may seem like a very difficult issue to overcome. However, with a little patience and some extra care for the cat, both the cat and the family can find a way to get their lives back to normal.