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C2008-49

Dear Christopher Cat

Our cat Amelia is urinating outside the litter box. The veterinarian did a urinalysis and found no urinary tract infection or crystals in her urine.

Our four cats share six litter boxes, which we keep pristine because Amelia is so particular. We use Feliway pheromone, and we praise Amelia when she uses the litter box.

But she still urinates outside the box, sometimes in front of us. Help!

Christopher Responds

To confirm that Amelia doesn’t have a bladder infection, the most common cause of inappropriate urination, ask your veterinarian to culture her urine.

Most cats with urinary tract infections have white or red blood cells in their urine. But sometimes they don’t, and in such cases, the diagnosis is made by identifying bacteria through a urine culture.

While you’re awaiting the culture results, experiment with a new litter in one of the boxes. Most of us cats prefer soft, fragrance-free litters, but prissy cats like Amelia sometimes have specific litter preferences that fall outside the norm.

If the urine culture is negative, it may be time for some “happy pills.” I confess that my feline sister Cali and I needed behavioral drugs a few times, when we urinated inappropriately and Mom could identify no medical reason.

Your regular veterinarian or a veterinarian who specializes in behavior medicine can evaluate Amelia and prescribe the best medication for her.

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