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Litterboxproblems

When Seniors Lose Bladder Control

If your cat is more than 10 years of age, and you see him arising from a nap in a puddle of urine or with a moist rear, he could have age-related urinary incontinence. The problem, frequently occurring in senior and geriatric cats, has several causes.It often results from urinary bladder or sphincter problems, says Leni K. Kaplan, DVM, MS, a lecturer in the Community Practice Service at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. However, incontinence can also be related to anything obstructing urine outflow, such as a tumor or stone. The bladder may then over-distend, and the cat may leak if he remains in one place for a while.

Marking is a Different Story

Some cats mark vertical objects with a small spray of urine, often standing with their tail upright and twitching at the same time. Its estimated that nearly a third of them have no litter box problems. Theyre simply using communication skills that nature gave them, the ASPCA says.They mark their territory to indicate stressful changes in the environment, the presence of cats outdoors, conflict with another cat in the home or, if theyre intact, their availability for mating. Spaying and neutering significantly reduce marking. Whatever its basis, marking can help keep unwanted individuals away, the ASPCA says, adding, It creates an atmosphere of familiarity that makes them feel more secure.

Ask Elizabeth: September 2013

I understand why you may want to use these devices for cleaning the air with three kitties in the house, and you are certainly not alone in doing this. Although kitties (and their food and waste) smell great to me, households with cats can sometimes generate odors that some people find objectionable, and there are a number of ways that owners choose to deal with this. Ionic air cleaners are one of the newer technologies that have been developed to address air pollutants.

An Unmistakable Sign of Anal Problems: Scooting

Scent is one of the ways cats communicate, and their anal glands help in that effort. The pea-sized glands, or sacs, produce an odor that aids in establishing identity and territory. When a cat defecates, the scent glands empty through two ducts located at the 4 o’clock and 8 o’clock positions of the anal sphincter, the band of muscle encircling the anus.

Why Do They Cover/Uncover the Litter Box?

This occasional series explores the reasons for cats’ often intriguing behavior. If you would like to suggest a topic, please write CatWatch Editor, 800 Connecticut Ave., Norwalk, CT 06854, or email catwatcheditor@cornell.edu. One of the enduring mysteries of cats’ behavior is why they cover their feces after eliminating. One theory is that they’re trying to hide their presence from predators, as cats in the wild are believed to do, but no studies support that idea. Another suggests that the behavior is an indication of cats’ fastidiousness, but that doesn’t explain fastidious cats who leave urine or feces uncovered. The real answers are far more complicated.

Ask Elizabeth: October 2012

Toxoplasmosis is caused by the protozoal parasite Toxoplasma gondii, which requires passage through a cat to produce infective oocysts that can subsequently infect other warm-blooded animals. Cats usually acquire toxoplasmosis by eating infected prey, and approximately 20 percent of cats will begin to shed toxoplasma oocysts in their feces after ingesting toxoplasma. Oocysts in cat feces take between 24 and 48 hours to become infective for other animals, so if you are able to remove the feces from your garden within 24 hours (wearing gloves and washing hands thoroughly afterward), you will significantly decrease the likelihood of having your vegetables be a source of toxoplasma infection.

Free Cat Litter for a Worthy Cause

World’s Best Cat Litter™ recently announced that Blind Cat Rescue & Sanctuary of St. Pauls, NC was randomly selected from a fan submission to win the first round of GiveLitter™ for the year. The shelter will receive 2012 pounds of litter that will help its hardworking staff clean up after blind cats currently looking for homes.

Short Takes: March 2012

Boxiecat is a new online subscription cat litter service that can help save trips to the grocery store, and puts an end to lugging heavy bags of litter. Considering that there are 86.4 million pet cats living in the United States, this service can certainly fill the necessity for litter in a new and more convenient way — especially for the elderly or the handicapped pet owner.

Tackle (and Prevent!) Litter Box Odor

An estimated 65 million cats live in more than 30 million American households, certainly a staggering number. Equally staggering can be the offensive odors that their urine and feces can produce. Cat owners spend millions of dollars a year on products designed to reduce or eliminate these odors. The chief odor producer is the urine. Unless the perpetrator is suffering from a serious temperamental or physical disorder, the smell will be caused by perfectly normal cats relieving themselves — or expressing themselves sexually or territorially — beyond the confines of their litter boxes or in boxes that are improperly maintained.

Is It Urine Marking or Incontinence?

When a cat begins soiling the house, it is usually assumed that it is a behavioral problem or the onset of senility. However, there are several medical conditions that can cause urinary incontinence and inappropriate urination, some of which require immediate treatment. First, it is important to distinguish between incontinence and inappropriate urination. True incontinence occurs when a cat does not have voluntary control over urination; trauma, a weak primary sphincter muscle and congenital abnormalities are the most common causes of incontinence.

Tackling Cat Hair and Pet Odor

The best strategy to minimize a pet hair problem in your home is to remove loose hair from your cats coat before it hits the floor. And ironically, shorthaired cats often shed more than longhaired cats. Of course, you cant possibly catch all pet hair before it falls out. So when it does make its inevitable landfall, the following are ways to pick up pet hair as easily and thoroughly as possible. Tackling Upholstery.Vacuuming is the first approach to removing cat hair from upholstery; however, if your vacuum isnt removing enough hair, you can try one of several other approaches.

All About the Alternative Cat Litters

Over the past decade, a number of products have entered the cat litter market as "alternative" litters. The chief claim of many of these litters is that they are made from plant-based or recycled materials, as opposed to clay, the basis of "traditional" kitty litters. As with most products or groups of products, there are both advantages and disadvantages to using alternative cat litters. One advantage that makers of these specialty litters feel appeals to cat owners with environmental concerns is that alternative litters - because they are made of biodegradable substances - present less strain on landfills. Some brands are even marketed as being "compostable" and/or burnable.