Sudden increase in litter box usage, but no other symptoms

CranberrySauce

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Hello! My (soon to be) 9 y.o. male cat was diagnosed with FLUTD about a year ago. He was growling and kicking his genitals after urinating so we took him to the emergency vet. They weren't able to run any diagnostics that evening, but (apologies for being graphic!) when examining his penis, said a bunch of mucus/grit popped out - in their words "like a big zit"

We got him in to our regular vet ASAP for a urinalysis & X-ray. She told us there were no stones and he likely had FLUTD, to switch him to a prescription food. The prescription food unfortunately didn't work out (he threw it up every time he ate it), so we've been feeding regular wet food with water mixed in

After that episode, things returned to normal. He was peeing twice (occasionally 3 times) a day. Everything was fine until last week

He's started doing this weird thing where he'll pee a normal sized clump, then 2-3 hours later, pee a smaller amount. He went from peeing 2-3 times a day, to 4, 5.. sometimes even 6 times

It's baffling, though.. because some days, he pees normally. Others, he'll only go once (one day he didn't pee for 22 hours - when he did, it was a large amount and he didn't strain, but I was panicking!). Then there are days like today, where he pees every 2-5 hours

He isn't licking his genitals, growling, or straining. He's acting normal! Good appetite, playing, purring... But obviously SOMETHING is going on, right? I'm a mess - my vet is going to be closed through the Thanksgiving holiday and I keep worrying he's on the verge of a blockage... But I've had males that had crystals/blocked before, and they usually showed signs of discomfort (like licking their genitals obsessively).

My guy is acting perfectly normal besides visiting the litter box more frequently. Any advice? Anything I can do to keep him from blocking (assuming this is crystals/a FLUTD flare-up) til he can get into the vet?

Thank you for reading!
 

cmshap

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I'm sorry you're going through this, and I know exactly what you mean by being a mess over it.

This thread may not help you much, but I went through a urinary blockage or retention issue recently (the title of that thread is unrelated, but the story is in there). I say "or" because I'm still not clear on what it was. My vet officially diagnosed it as a blockage, but he had no crystals or classic signs of a blockage. Bladder was full, but not hard/spasming. When she cathed him, the catheter went in easily, as if there was no mucus blockage either. But the catheterization resolved the issue.

However, when he finally did pee for the first time after getting him home (which was the next day), he cried in what sounded like pain. But after that, no problems.

I am just bringing this up because my cat was also visiting the litter box frequently, but otherwise acting normal. He never did anything like licking his genitals. But in his case, no urine was coming out at all, which is different from your case.

I'm not sure if my story will be helpful at all because circumstances were different, but certain other aspects of your post just reminded my of my cat's incident.
 

di and bob

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He may be getting a urinary tract infection, if that is the case, he will progress to crying when he goes and very small amounts coming out. An antibiotic will take care of that. I was freaking out when my cat did this, crying and nothing coming out, and rushed him to the vet. my vet showed me a way to check for a possible infection or for a blockage. Palpate deeply (press inward) on the cat's lower abdomen, and gently use your finger pads to check for a firm round mass. Golf ball size or bigger. That means a blockage and is an emergency. It is the bladder. He says he has felt them up to grapefruit size! If there is no firm round mass, it is most likely an infection. I hope this helps. PS. my boy had an infection and an antibiotic quickly cleared it up.
 

cmshap

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my vet showed me a way to check for a possible infection or for a blockage. Palpate deeply (press inward) on the cat's lower abdomen, and gently use your finger pads to check for a firm round mass. Golf ball size or bigger. That means a blockage and is an emergency.
My vet instructed me on the same thing over the phone, before I brought my cat in. I never could feel anything (despite my cat actually having a full bladder at the time). And it was significantly distressing my cat in the process.

Take those factors into account if you are trying it at home. For an unexperienced person, like me, I was unable to palpate his bladder at all, whereas my vet could as soon as I brought him in (and he had a full bladder at the time).

I'm not trying to suggest that you shouldn't attempt this, but if you are a novice and can't feel anything, that isn't necessarily definitive. Also, if it stresses your cat, I'd personally advise against it (but that's a judgment call for each person to make).
 

di and bob

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I agree, maybe everyone should have the vet demonstrate and teach them how on a regular visit. Most people don't press in far enough. Most cats are also a LOT more aggressive with their owners than they are at the vet's, they are too scared there!
 

cmshap

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di and bob, post: 5739974, member: 53351"]
I agree, maybe everyone should have the vet demonstrate and teach them how on a regular visit. Most people don't press in far enough. Most cats are also a LOT more aggressive with their owners than they are at the vet's, they are too scared there!
It's not just about your cat possibly being more aggressive with you, it's also about doing something that in some cases (probably not all cats will react the same way), from the cat's perspective, can seem like an aggressive, stressful action coming from their previously trusted humans.

I do think that just trying it and seeing how successful you are, and how your cat reacts, is not harmful. But repeated tries on a cat that is distressed by the activity can potentially affect your relationship with your cat. That's the main reason why I suggest not persisting at it if you can't get it right at first.
 

silent meowlook

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Hi. Urinary tract infections are not very common in cats and are over diagnosed.
Feline urological syndrome is related to stress. Unfortunately most people cannot identify stress in cats. But there are things you can do to help.

There are basic needs that indoor cats have that must be met. Playtime to allow the cat to hunt. Basically meeting the prey drive cats have. This is well done with scheduling play time with wand toys.

Cats need a schedule. They are very much creatures of habit. That is why, when looking for early signs of a health issue, any deviation from their normal routine should be noted.

Cats have to have areas up high where they can feel safe assessing their environment. This can be done with a cat tree near a window they can look out. Unless they have a view to other cats then a different location is best.

Cats are territorial. Any threat to their domain can cause a great deal of stress. This can be caused by them viewing cats outside, not just another animal or person in the home.

Cats hate change. Changes such as additional people in the home, or even moving furniture can stress them if they are sensitive.

Cats need to have areas they can scratch. It is a normal cat behavior. They need verticals and horizontal scratching area with different substances to scratch on.

Cats need quiet. They can be affected poorly by loud TV and music.

Cats need some sort of entertainment. My cats enjoy the cat tv videos.

Cats need 2 litter pans. The litter pans must be kept clean with twice a day scooping. Litter pans should not be covered and should not be in high traffic areas. The litter should not be scented and should be low to no dust.

Cats don’t like their water next to their food. They also like to be fed on flat plates as opposed to bowls.

With any urinary issue, it is important to increase the water intake. I know you have added water to the canned food, but make sure there are multiple places for the cat to drink. Some cats like fountains, some don’t. Bottled water is a good idea as city tap water can have all sorts of additives.

Some cats just won’t drink enough, and if that is the case, you might want to talk to your vet about doing Sub Q fluids at home.

Monitor the urine output as you are doing and don’t hesitate to get him in at the first sign of obstruction.

Is your cat overweight? Feeding canned food is best. When you tried the prescription diet, did you slowly introduce the new food?
 

Alldara

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Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD) | International Cat Care

I'm sending along the above resource for you.

FLUTD can also flare up due to stress. Stress can be caused by something as small (to us) as a new cat wandering around the neighborhood etc. What happens when it's a stress one is mainly what you describe... unless an infection settles in while the bladder and urethra are inflamed.

If he's still peeing, and there's no blockage he will need monitored until you see the vet. If a blockage forms it can be deadly quickly. He will need to see the regular vet as soon as they can see him. If you tell them the issue, they should squeeze him in in the next day. For this, my vet tried a few things from pain management to anxiety medication. Both worked fine as a give as needed for my cat. It'll take some trial and error with yours.

While waiting to see the vet I always put as much water in the food as possible and I used to boil some water, let it cool and then use a sterile pad to wipe some of the cooled, previously boiled water to clean the area.

as an aside, please ensure your vet also checks his teeth. If there's an infection or extra buildup in the mouth, those bacteria can transfer to the urethra when they clean themselves and then the cat has frequently UTIs.
 
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CranberrySauce

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Hi everyone - OP here. First of all, I'd like to thank everyone who took the time to offer suggestions and advice; it means a lot!

Second, I'm very sorry for taking so long to update. I didn't want to post again until our sweet boy had been evaluated by a vet (hard to set up vet appointments during the holiday season!)

We just got back from the vet! She performed a thorough physical exam, then collected some urine via ultrasound-guided cystocentesis. Thankfully, they didn't see/feel any stones, but when they examined his urine under the microscope, they DID see bacteria. The vet says he probably has a urinary tract infection. We now have amoxicillin, Onsior (for inflammation), and we'll be putting him back on a prescription urinary diet. He goes back to the vet in 3 weeks for a recheck - fingers crossed the abx will clear things up!

Little has changed since my original post; he's still peeing up to six times a day. No straining, growling, excessive grooming of the genital area, etc. I have been adding D. Mannose powder & D. Methionine to his wet food each night for almost 3 weeks, but it doesn't seem to have made much difference. The vet says once he's back on the prescription diet, I can probably stop the supplements. I'm still adding water to his food and watching him like a hawk. If anyone has any thoughts/advice, please feel free to share!

Thanks for reading!
 

Alldara

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Hey C CranberrySauce .

For my boy I had to change my litter situation to prevent his FLUTD. It took a lot of moving around. He needed it to be not clay and not pine. He needed his litter in a quiet space but no cover.

I also needed to ensure there was less dust, so that his lower area is less dirty.
 
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