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Managing Cat Incontinence: Symptoms Causes and Treatments

It’s not uncommon for cats to experience episodes of incontinence, especially as they age. While it can be distressing for both the cat and its owner, there are strategies and treatments available to help manage it.

In this article, we’ll cover the symptoms, causes, and treatments for cat incontinence, as well as how to differentiate incontinence from other bodily functions.

Symptoms of Incontinence

Involuntary urination and leaking are two of the most common symptoms of feline urinary incontinence. This means that your cat may dribble urine or have accidents outside of the litter box.

Involuntary defecation is less common, but it can occur in some cats. Loss of bowel control, also known as fecal incontinence, results in poop coming out while walking or lying down.

In some cases, incontinence can be a sign of a serious underlying health condition. If your cat is experiencing any of the above symptoms, it’s best to take them to the vet for a check-up.

Causes of Incontinence

Several health conditions can contribute to urinary and fecal incontinence in cats. These include feline leukemia, spinal damage, trauma, senility, renal disease, Manx syndrome, and birth defects.

Some cats may also experience incontinence following certain surgical procedures or as a side effect of medication. Feline leukemia can cause damage to the urinary system over time, making it harder for the cat to control their bladder.

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) can also lead to incontinence if left untreated. Diabetes can also cause a feline’s urine to be more dilute than normal, causing them to urinate more frequently and may lead to accidents outside of the litter box.

Incontinent Cat Care and Treatment

Managing incontinence in cats requires patience and persistence. However, with the right approach, it is possible to improve their quality of life.

One way to care for your incontinent cat is to express their bladder or colon regularly. This can be done by gently applying pressure to the abdomen and stimulating them to expel urine or feces.

It’s important to do so in a gentle and calm manner to avoid causing any discomfort. Veterinary treatment may also be recommended depending on the underlying cause of your cat’s incontinence.

Your vet may prescribe medication, supplements, or a particular type of food that supports bladder control. Note that medication for urinary incontinence is not always effective and may have side effects.

You can also modify your cat’s living environment to make it more incontinent-friendly. Adding litter boxes in different areas of the house can help prevent accidents.

Regular bathing of your cat can also remove any lingering feces or urine accidents that could lead to feline urinary tract infections.

Distinguishing Incontinence from Voluntary Bodily Functions

Not all bodily functions that occur outside of the litter box or cat’s designated area are a sign of incontinence. Some litter box problems or behavior issues can create confusion.

Here’s how to differentiate incontinence from other issues.

Cat Peeing or Pooping Outside Litter Box

If your cat has suddenly started to pee or poop outside of the litter box, they could be suffering from a variety of health or behavioral issues. Kidney diseases, UTIs, and diabetes are some of the health issues that can cause changes in urination habits.

Inappropriate elimination could also be a sign of stress and separation anxiety. To rule out health issues, it’s best to take your cat to the vet for a check-up.

Your vet may conduct a physical examination or run some tests to determine the underlying cause. If your cat is healthy, behavioral modification techniques such as positive reinforcement and providing more litter boxes could help to correct the issue.

Telltale Signs of Incontinence

While other issues can cause accidents outside of the litter box, there are some telltale signs of incontinence. One such sign is peeing while sleeping.

If your cat is incontinent, they may release urine involuntarily while they’re sleeping. Another sign is poop coming out while walking.

If your cat has trouble controlling their bowel movements, they may leave a trail of feces while they move around.

Recap

Cat incontinence can be distressing for both the feline and its owner. Involuntary urination and leaking are symptoms, and causes include feline leukemia, spinal damage, trauma, senility, renal disease, Manx syndrome, and birth defects.

Regularly expressing their bladder or colon, medication, supplements, food, adding litter boxes, bathing, and cleaning can help manage incontinent cats. Differentiate incontinence from other issues by monitoring the signs of peeing while sleeping and poop coming out while walking.

References

Incontinence in Cats – Feline Urinary Incontinence Management | petMD. (n.d.).

Retrieved May 3, 2021, from https://www.petmd.com/cat/conditions/urinary/c_ct_feline_incontinence

Causes of Urinary and Fecal Incontinence in Dogs and Cats | VCA Animal Hospital. (n.d.).

Retrieved May 3, 2021, from https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/urinary-and-fecal-incontinence-in-dogs-and-cats

Feline Incontinence – Signs, Symptoms, and Management. (n.d.).

Retrieved May 3, 2021, from https://www.petplace.com/article/cats/pet-health/feline-incontinence/

3) Rarity of Cat Incontinence

While cat incontinence is a condition that can occur in felines, it is relatively rare. Most cats are able to control their bladder and bowel movements effectively, without any issues.

However, as cats age, they may experience a greater risk of developing incontinence due to changes in their urinary and digestive systems. There are also certain breeds of cats that are more prone to developing incontinence.

For example, breeds like the Manx cat, which are born without a tail, have a higher likelihood of experiencing urinary and fecal incontinence. In addition, certain health conditions can increase the risk of incontinence in cats, such as feline leukemia, spinal damage, and renal disease.

Other factors that may increase the likelihood of incontinence include obesity, stress, and poor diet. Although cat incontinence is generally rare, it can still occur in cats of any age or breed.

If you suspect that your cat may be experiencing incontinence, it’s important to take them to the vet for a check-up to determine the underlying cause and appropriate treatment.

4) Causes of Cat Incontinence

There are several potential causes of cat incontinence, and identifying the underlying cause is important in determining the appropriate treatment. The main causes of cat incontinence are related to the feline’s urinary and digestive systems.

One common cause of urinary incontinence in cats is feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD), which occurs when there is a blockage in the urinary tract due to bladder stones, crystals, or other obstructions. This can cause the bladder to become overfilled and lead to involuntary urination.

Another potential cause of urinary incontinence is nerve damage in the urinary tract, which can cause the muscles in the bladder and urethra to weaken. This can lead to the inability to control the flow of urine effectively.

In some cases, fecal incontinence in cats can be caused by an inability to properly store waste in the rectum due to a weakened or damaged anal sphincter. This can cause the muscles to be stuck in the closed position, making it difficult to release feces.

Muscle weakness or damage in the pelvic region can also contribute to incontinence in cats. This can include damage to the muscles, ligaments, or nerves that control bladder and bowel function.

Other potential causes of incontinence in cats include trauma, urinary tract infections, and certain medications or drug reactions. It’s important to take your cat to the vet for a thorough evaluation and possible diagnostic testing to determine the underlying cause of incontinence and to develop an appropriate treatment plan.

In some cases, surgery may be necessary to correct the underlying issue causing incontinence. In other cases, medication or changes to diet and exercise routines may be enough to manage the issue effectively.

Overall, while cat incontinence is a relatively rare condition, it can cause significant discomfort and distress for both the cat and the owner. Identifying the underlying cause and developing an appropriate treatment plan is critical in managing the condition effectively and improving the cat’s quality of life.

5) Treating Cat Incontinence

Treating cat incontinence can be a challenging process but with persistence, it is possible to manage the condition effectively. There are several strategies and treatments to help care for an incontinent cat.

Expressing your cat’s bladder or colon regularly is an important method of managing cat incontinence. This can be done by gently applying pressure to the abdomen to encourage your cat to eliminate waste.

It is also important to allow your cat access to a litter box and frequently clean it to prevent any infections. Adding additional litter boxes around your home in easily accessible locations can help to promote consistent elimination.

Depending on the underlying cause of your cat’s incontinence, medication or supplements may be recommended by your veterinary practitioner. Certain medications such as Proin may be prescribed, which help to strengthen the muscles around the bladder and help your cat to improve their urine control.

Your kitty’s quality of life can also be improved through diet. Specialized food may be recommended by your veterinarian to avoid any hard-to-digest foods that may worsen your cat’s symptoms.

Added supplements to your cat’s diet that promote bladder health may also be beneficial. It’s important to create a comfortable environment that accommodates your cat’s incontinence.

This can include making your home easy to clean by utilizing washable cat beds, blankets, and adding cat pee pads to areas of moisture. Regular bathing of your cat will also help in removing any lingering fecal odors.

6) Conclusion and Cleaning up after Cat Incontinence

In conclusion, cat incontinence is a rare condition in felines, but managing it is possible with proper care and treatment. Regularly expressing your cat’s bladder or colon is essential in ensuring comfortability.

Additionally, medication, supplements, and diet may also be recommended by your veterinarian based on the underlying condition. Cleaning up after your cat’s incontinence can improve the hygiene of your home.

Cat-safe cleaning materials such as enzymatic cleaners can help eliminate any odors and prevent re-soiling. Washable items such as cat beds, blankets, and pee pads are also sensible for easier cleanup.

It is important to be patient and vigilant in managing cat incontinence. Remember to give your cat plenty of support and care as they navigate this condition.

Your veterinarian can help you develop a comprehensive treatment plan that will suit your pet’s specific needs and improve their quality of life. Cat incontinence is a rare condition among felines but can cause significant discomfort and distress.

Understanding the symptoms, causes, and treatment options available is essential in managing and improving your cat’s quality of life. Strategies such as expressing your cat’s bladder or colon, using proper medication or supplements, and making your environment incontinent-friendly can improve your feline’s condition.

Additionally, it is crucial to create a comfortable and clean living area for your cat by using washable items and cat-safe cleaners. By following these guidelines, you can help your cat live healthily and happily.

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