Does your cat have some “unusual” litter box habits? Typically, there is a reason behind your kitty’s bathroom behavior. However, you may not know that these questionable habits can be a crucial indicator of a health concern and what you may need to look out for.
For example, if your fur baby is constantly in and out of the litter box, it’s unlikely your cat is doing this because they are bored. Nor would this be considered a normal litter habit for a cat without digestive issues.
This is a common sign that your kitty is struggling to eliminate because of a urinary tract infection or a bladder blockage. Conditions like these need to be treated by a vet immediately, so it’s critical to spot them sooner rather than later.
Here are some of the most common litter box behaviors that can signify health problems in cats.
A Cat’s Litter Box Habits Explained
If you notice your cat is peeing more than usual, this could be down to something harmless such as your cat drinking more water or even eating more of their wet food. However, increased urination is also a classic sign of common feline health problems such as kidney disease, diabetes, and hyperthyroidism. This can also be a cause for concern with frequent bowel movements.
As a general rule of thumb, cats will typically have a bowel movement once or twice a day. If your fur baby is using the bathroom considerably more, check the feces’ consistency and color to determine if your cat is experiencing diarrhea.
Many things can cause diarrhea in cats, and it doesn’t always indicate a health issue. Even so, it can signal inflammatory bowel disease, colitis, worms (intestinal parasites), pancreatic disease, and other feline viruses. So it’s always best to keep an eye on things and coordinate with your vet as needed.
Avoiding Their Litter Box
If your cat is not using the litter box, you first need to establish if they are going elsewhere. If they are eliminating outside of the litter box, the problem could be more behavioral than physical. They might dislike the litter, the shape of the litter box, or the tray could be too dirty for them to use.
On the other hand, if it appears your cat is not eliminating anywhere, this could be a sign of a significant health problem. Although cats can go reasonably long without urinating, they don’t tend to hold it in if they don’t have to. If a cat cannot urinate, this is a medical emergency as there could be a major blockage and it should be treated immediately.
If your kitty isn’t going number 2, they may feel constipated. To help with this, you can increase their water intake, add a cat-safe oil to their food, or feed them pureed pumpkin. However, like with diarrhea, you should book a vet visit if your cat is constipated. Constipation can be down to something blocking the colon, such as string or bones, or other colon or kidney issues.
Frantic Digging Without Elimination
Digging through litter and covering their waste is a normal behavior of all cats. However, if your kitty enters the litter box and frantically digs and then leaves without eliminating at all, this is a cause for concern.
Cats with urinary tract infections (UTIs) struggle to pee and will be in and out of the litter box. They either eliminate very little or not at all. If you’ve ever experienced a bladder infection yourself, you’ll know just how uncomfortable and frustrating it feels. Your cat may frantically dig as a way to release its physical frustration.
Tracking Your Cat’s Bathroom Behavior With An Automatic Litter Box
Manual scooping provides a good opportunity to spot problems like diarrhea. Because of this, you may think an automatic litter box will make it harder to check if your cat is healthy.
However, an automatic litter box can track your cat’s bathroom habits much better than you can do by yourself. Here’s why:
- Built-In Health Trackers
Some self-cleaning litter boxes, such as the AutoEgg and Aimicat, have innovative health tracking capabilities. For example, the AutoEgg records data every time your cat uses the litter box. It records the waste’s weight and how long they spend in the box along with the time and date of each bathroom trip.
The intelligent technology learns your kitty’s everyday bathroom habits and notices if anything is out of the ordinary. For example, if your cat uses the box much more than usual one day, it will flag this up in red.
Moreover, the system will know if your cat has diarrhea from the weight of the waste. You can access this information on the display panel, with discrepancies highlighted in red.
- The Waste Compartment
Automatic litter boxes that use a rotating or raking mechanism to clean the waste will have a waste compartment where the dirty litter sifted during the cleaning process.
One of the regular maintenance tasks of these units is to empty this waste drawer once it is full. This presents an ideal opportunity to check on your cat’s elimination behavior, especially if your self-cleaning unit does not have a health tracker.
You can check the consistency of your kitty’s poop but remember, stools harden over time. Therefore, it’s best to observe the waste at the top of the box as this will be the most recent.
Other things to look out for are blood and worms. If your cat has intestinal parasites, these can often appear in their feces, and thus, you can easily spot them in the waste tray.
You can also look at the size of the clumps. If the urine clumps are very large, it suggests that your fur baby is holding their urine for long periods. This could be a sign of kidney disease, diabetes, or hyperthyroidism. Therefore, if you notice your cat’s urine clumps getting bigger and bigger, book in some tests with your vet.
As cat owners, it’s vital to keep an eye on our feline’s bathroom habits. A self-cleaning litter box not only handles the daily scooping for you but also helps to track your fur baby’s health.
If you’re in the process of upgrading to an automatic litter box, be sure to choose one with health tracking capabilities. With this advanced technology, you’ll have peace of mind knowing your kitty is taken care of.