Causes of Urinary Incontinence

True incontinence is a urinary leak without intention


A truly incontinent cat isn’t able to control when and where he leaks, says Leni K. Kaplan, DVM, MS, a lecturer in the Community Practice Service at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. “The best way to tell is to observe your cat. If he is posturing to urinate intentionally, then he is not incontinent.”

An older cat might be battling a sphincter malfunction or be ill. Common causes of urinary incontinence include: bacterial bladder infections, cystitis, FLUT (feline lower urinary tract disease; see our September 2017 issue), diabetes, feline leukemia, spinal cord and peripheral nerve problems, arthritis, or even a brain tumor. While geriatric cats over the age of 10 years can sometimes sleep so deeply they aren’t awakened by the urge to urinate, even then there may be a reason. A common cause is a younger cat who is bullying the older cat away from the litter box, causing the older cat to try to hold it till a later time.