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Ignoring Litter Box Could Signal Disease

Cat owners, BEWARE! Cats not using the litter box aren't necessarily being naughty, it could be a sign of disease, says Dr. Joanne Schulman, a veterinarian with the Minnesota Veterinary Medical Association. Cats are very prone to urinary tract disease, commonly known as F.U.S. or Feline Urological Syndrome.

One of the signs of the disease is indiscriminate urination. The problem is usually easily controlled with medication, but left unchecked it can be very serious. One of the causes of the syndrome is an accumulation of crystals in the urinary tract. In a male cat these can accumulate in the long narrow urethra, causing a blockage so the cat cannot urinate. If this happens, the cat becomes extremely ill very quickly and the situation can be life threatening.

Cats seem to develop F.U.S. more frequently in the fall and winter when their access to outdoors is decreased. However, totally indoor cats are also affected. It has been suggested that as high as 10% of the cat population is affected by the disease syndrome. Special diets seem to control the problem in cats having no other underlying disease problems.

If your cat's urination habits change and your cat stops using the litter box, a visit to the veterinary would be wise.

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