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    Urinary Incontinence

    A cat suffering from urinary incontinence loses the ability to control urination and dribbles urine. She may also leave a urine spot where she’s been sleeping. Urinary incontinence may be due to many causes that affect the bladder or the urethra, such as injury or a tumor of the spinal cord. Your cat’s veterinarian will do a complete work-up, similar to that for cystitis. Additional tests may be needed. Treatment depends on determining the underlying cause and then correcting it or giving medications to prevent the incontinence.

    Increased Urine Production

    Many diseases can increase the amount of urine a cat produces and lead to urinary accidents and an increased need to urinate. Conditions that may cause increased urine production include:

    • Kidney failure
    • Kidney infection
    • Diabetes
    • Liver disease
    • Increased thyroid hormone levels

    Unlike cats with cystitis, cats with increased urine production generally void large amounts of urine without straining. Other signs may include increased water intake, poor appetite, weight loss and poor hair coat. Cats showing these signs need to be seen by a veterinarian to have a thorough work-up. Treatment depends on the cause of the increased urine production.

    Inappropriate Defecation

    Inappropriate defecation due to medical reasons is less common than inappropriate urination in cats. Even so, if your cat has defecates outside the litter box, she should be thoroughly examined by a veterinarian, who will run appropriate tests.

    Conditions that cause diarrhea may increase urgency, causing a cat to defecate before she can make it to her litter box. So it’s important to determine if your cat is passing normal stool or some form of diarrhea. There are many causes of diarrhea, some of which may be temporary or intermittent. Severe constipation can also cause incontinence. Cats with severe constipation may frequently strain to pass stool and do so in an inappropriate place.

    Fecal Incontinence

    In fecal incontinence, a cat loses the ability to control defecation and may leave stool in random places around the house. This problem is usually caused by nerve damage-due to injury or a tumor of the spinal cord, for example-that prevents the normal control of defecation. Any cat who suffers from fecal incontinence should have a diagnostic evaluation by a veterinarian to determine the cause of the problem.

    WebMD Veterinary Reference from ASPCA Virtual Pet Behaviorist

    The ASPCA Virtual Pet Behaviorist specializes in the resolution and management of pet behavior problems only. Please do not submit questions about medical problems here. Only licensed veterinarians can diagnose medical conditions. If you think that your pet is sick, injured or experiencing any kind of physical distress, please contact his veterinarian immediately. A delay in seeking proper veterinary care may worsen your pet's condition and put his life at risk. If you are concerned about the cost of veterinary care, please read our resources on finding financial help.
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