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Vet Vanessa Howie discusses cats' urinary issues including cystitis and kidney disease.

Does your cat suffer with urinary problems? Our recent veterinary Q&A on Facebook focused on urinary problems such as cystitis and kidney disease. CP vet, Vanessa Howie answered supporters’ questions on this topic, which are summarised below:

Why is my 15-year-old cat urinating so often?

We took her to the vet to be treated for cystitis recently and since then she has been drinking excessive amounts of water and urinating an awful lot. Any advice?

I would definitely recommend that you take your cat back to the vets for a follow-up examination.

In older cats, it's more usual for cystitis to be caused by a bacterial infection. Conditions such as kidney disease or diabetes which tend to cause a cat to drink more and hence have more dilute urine can make older cats more prone to bacterial cystitis. Your vet will be able to run tests to rule out concurrent disease if they feel it is necessary. Our leaflet on urinary problems may be helpful: Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD)

longhaired tabby cat next to water bowl

Photo by jahofker via flickr / Creative Commons


Why did my cat always have 'accidents' on our old leather sofa?

We have moved home and she never did it in our old flat, we now, however, have new sofas which are leather but with throws on. Any idea why she would do that? She was depressed and now the old sofa has gone she is back to her normal self!

There may be a number of reasons why your cat urinated on your old sofa. Finding out why she was depressed may help you to understand why she urinated on the sofa. Take a look at our recent blog post, Behaviour focus: litter trays which may give you some answers.


How can I encourage my cat to go to the toilet outside?

My cat Daisy suffered from cystitis and was treated by the vet. While she was poorly we put out a litter tray for her to use indoors when she was shut in at night but now she has recovered she continues to use it. How can we train her to go outside to go to the toilet again? Thank you.

Although you may prefer not to have a litter tray indoors, you may find that Daisy is more comfortable toileting inside. Cystitis is often caused by stress and it is important to try and minimise stress for your cat. Providing a 'safe' toilet area in your garden, with Daisy's preferred cat litter or a soft sand/soil may encourage her to go outside.

The following leaflet gives some ideas on encouraging your cat to toilet outside: Indoor and outdoor cats. Our recent litter tray visual guide also offers advice on litter trays.

Ultimate litter tray guide graphic

To enlarge, click on the image


What will happen to my cat as her kidney disease progresses?

My cat is 10 and she has kidney disease. She’s on a special diet prescribed by my vet. She has had two tests to see how it's going over the last two years and each time I have been told to keep her on the same diet. I love my cat dearly but this time when I went to the vets I declined to have the same test repeated. She appears fine in herself and eats and drinks – the vet told me she would advise me to have the test repeated but I simply cannot afford it. I also do not have insurance as I took her on and it was a pre-existing condition so not covered anyway. As I said I love my cat with all my heart but I would like advice as to whether I'm doing the right thing with choosing to not go ahead with further tests or treatment. I would hate her to be in any discomfort and just want to know what happens as the kidney disease progresses. Thank you.

Sorry to hear that your cat is suffering from kidney disease. The blood tests that are carried out tend to monitor the progression of the kidney disease by looking at the levels of Urea, Creatinine and Phosphorous in your cat's blood.

Unfortunately, these levels do not give any information on prognosis but merely whether the disease is getting better or worse. The signs that your cat is showing will also be a good indicator for you as to whether the disease is getting worse. Look out for how much she drinks and urinates along with any sickness or changes to her appetite. Keeping her on the prescribed diet is the most important factor. Please take a look at our leaflet on feline kidney disease.


Please note that we are unable to give specific advice on your cat's health or any change in behaviour observed. For medical problems consult your vet who will have access to your cat’s medical history and will be able to examine them.

Would you like to ask one of Cats Protection’s feline experts a question about your cat? Don’t miss the next live Facebook Q&A sessions: Neutering Manager Jane Clements will answer questions on 19 October; feline behaviourist Nicky Trevorrow will host on 5 November; while CP vet Vanessa Howie will return to answer veterinary questions on 18 November. All our Q&As are held on Cats Protection's national Facebook page from 2-3pm. See you there!

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