Unusual urination patterns

kyliecat

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Female, indoor, 14yr old Ragdoll.

I've grown up with pets my whole life, my mom is a breeder, never had a problem with urination before. This is the healthiest, most active cat I've ever had the pleasure of sharing my home with. Never exhibited any signs of bad behavior or stress -- loves humans and cuddles.

Eight months ago, she experienced her first and only health issue, a UTI. It was obvious from day one, she was stress vocalizing and peeing on the couch and bed. Took her immediately into the vet, they did a bunch of bloodwork and prescribed meds. The UTI cleared up (took a few days for the urination to stop) and the bloodwork came back with no issues.

Ever since, she's been urinating on our bed but with no obvious patterns. At first it was weekly, then every two weeks, now it's about every 4-6 weeks. Over the course of this situation we have tried everything we can think of to understand and resolve the behavior. Each time we think we've found the cause, the next incident proves us wrong. For example, when it started, she would urinate very early in the morning. She would jump on the bed, try to wake us up to get fed and when we didn't respond she would urinate. So we started to wake up as soon as she would meow and feed her (despite it not being a bit before her normal feeding time) but then the next time she urinated hours after she was fed. We thought maybe she was unhappy with the placement of her litterbox so we got a second. We've tried feeding her treats on the bed, no resolve. We thought maybe we're not playing with her enough, so we upped the frequency of our playtime. Added more scratching pads. You name it, we've done it, and we're out of ideas.

We took her back to the vets for a full check up, healthy as an ox. Even the vet remarked at how young and healthy she seemed for her age. Her behavior is the same as it has been her whole life. Today after a 6 week period of no urination, she had another incident while no one was even in the bed at a random time in the afternoon. I found out hours after she did it. She never came over to us to indicate a need or a moment of stress.

It does not seem physical in nature, and I'd like to think we're very in tune with her behavior. My husband works from home so there's someone with her at all times of day. Our own habits and behaviors have not changed in any meaningful way.

Obviously the UTI was the trigger for this behavior, but why it is continuing? We've cleaned the bed to the best of our abilities, going to great lengths to remove the smell with all of the usual treatments that are recommended. I realize we can probably never get rid of the smell completely and so I think maybe a new mattress might help but if it continues after that would be the worst case scenario. It seems too risky. Also, when she had the UTI she urinated on the couch so why doesn't she see that as a place to urinate all these months later?

Where do we go from here? We're nearing our wits end. I will never give up a pet, so when I say wits end, I just mean we're at a complete loss and frustrations are high due to our diminished quality of life. We can't put sheets on our bed, we're sleeping on a blanket of pee pads and using cheap throwaway blankets for our covers.
 

Tobermory

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What a tough time you and your kitty (what’s her name?) are going through. I can’t imagine what might be causing her behavior, but it’s good to know that she checks out as healthy. Here are some random thoughts.

Perhaps she’s still experiencing stress of some kind. Have you tried Feliway? It’s an artificial feline pheromone, and the original version—Feliway Classic—is designed to help reduce stress. I’ve used it with success although I know some cats seem to be “immune” to it. Here’s the info on it: FELIWAY CLASSIC Diffuser

At the same time, you could also try the Feliway Classic spray which is supposed to discourage inappropriate urination and scratching on the places where it’s sprayed. I haven’t used it for the urination problem, but I did use it when I adopted Mocha and she wanted to use the rugs and furniture to scratch. FELIWAY CLASSIC Spray

This may sound like an odd question, but is your cat arthritic? If you use clumping litter, have you noticed that her urine in the box is more spread out rather than in a ball? If she’s having trouble squatting because of arthritis, she may be seeking a different place to pee to avoid the discomfort. You could try her on one of the joint supplements like Cosequin.

Have you tried putting a litter box in the bedroom by the bed while you’re working on other solutions?

I’m giving one of my cats CBD for arthritis and stress. It has helped her, but you’d want to be sure you get a reputable product. There are a lot of iffy things out in the marketplace.

That’s all I can think of at the moment! I’m sure others will chime in. You might also want to search on the site for those with similar problems. Unfortunately, your situation isn’t unique. :(
 

ArtNJ

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Here is what I would do: (1) flip the mattress after cleaning as best you can with enzyme cleaner; (2) close the door to the bedroom when you aren't there, or strip the bedding every morning and store it in the closet until you need it at night -- a big part of the reason the bed is the #1 spot for accidents is that the covers can be kneaded under the paws and it feels like burying waste; (3) buy a blacklight and check to see if accidents are occurring elsewhere; and (4) consider paying for a senior blood panel -- its a very expensive test, but it can spot emerging health issues your vet just wouldn't see without one.

All of that said, remember that it is not like a human doctor would have any chance of spotting a 75 year old human with an overactive or irritable bladder if they weren't allowed to you know, do the human thing and actually talk to their patient. A 14 year old cat may well just not have the same bladder as a younger cat despite being very healthy. Combine that with fact the bed is the #1 place for accidents and this doesn't necessarily have any unusual cause or clear solution other than denying access to the bed.
 

moxiewild

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Great advice above. We also have a cat with irregular patterns we’ve never been able to solve. It’s very frustrating.

The only thing I would add, is to go ahead and get a new mattress if/when it becomes your next move. Then, get a fully waterproof mattress encasement or sheet.

They have “comfy” and quiet versions for this that entail fabric layers, but if you’re just doing a test run, I would buy a cheap, plastic mattress bag or sheet that’s meant that’s for moving or bedwetting, then put regular sheets on over it.

This should sufficiently protect your new mattress.

We currently have a more expensive and bulky mattress moving bag over our bed that’s made of tarp material. It’s very loud and... not uncomfortable, but different?

I have to admit though, it is SO NICE not worrying about spills or accidents seeping into the mattress!!! Took care of a huge stressor. Just throw sheets in the laundry and wipe up whatever seeped through to the plastic!
 
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kyliecat

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Thank you, this is really good advice and good to know that we're not alone.

> This may sound like an odd question, but is your cat arthritic?
She's so active and runs up and down stairs with no problems, so I don't think so, but I agree at 14 years age, it could be an issue. I like the idea of changing up her litter to a bigger box and perhaps a different product that is easier on the joints.

> Have you tried putting a litter box in the bedroom by the bed while you’re working on other solutions?
That was one of the first things we did. There's a second box right by the bed, which ideally we'd like to get rid of at some point.

> close the door to the bedroom when you aren't there
I wish we could. When we've tried this she just sits by the door meowing, many of her favorite things are in the bedroom including her favorite window spot.

> buy a blacklight and check to see if accidents are occurring elsewhere
99.9% certain there are no other accidents happening. When she does have an incident, it's a flood of urine, empties the whole bladder, never a spray or a piddle.

> consider paying for a senior blood panel -- its a very expensive test, but it can spot emerging health issues your vet just wouldn't see without one
On it! Good idea.

I think our next move given your feedback will be to:
a) Update the litter box and brand
b) Purchase a new mattress with a plastic cover
c) Feliway Classic spray on a pee pad on the bed to discourage her
 

ArtNJ

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Personally, I wouldn't get a new mattress if the old one isn't smelly to a human nose. You can always flip & reoreint to take the smell out of the equation. Probably not much smell would get through the plastic cover anyway. If its old, smelly to a human nose or the money isn't an issue then of course go for it, but flipping with a plastic cover should be enough to test if it was the lingering smell.
 
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