Species: Cat Breed: domestic shorthair Age: More than 15 ye
After my cat eats, drinks, gets up or uses the cat box she cries this very strange cry but as soon as I tell her to stop she does. she still is eating and drinking well and seems to be in good health. what would be making her cry like that?
Dr. Marie replied:
This is a tough question to answer! It is actually quite common for elderly cats to start to vocalize in strange ways. Sometimes there is a reason for it, but often we don't find a reason.
Whenever I have a client whose cat is vocalizing after being in the litter box I always recommend testing for urinary tract issues such as something called interstitial cystitis. However, in most cases the urine is normal.
I do sometimes try a course of anti-inflammatory medication in case there is some arthritis pain. The theory is that the act of getting into the correct posture to urinate can trigger some hip or pelvis pain.
Some older cats will vocalize more because of high blood pressure. The thought is that the increase in blood pressure can cause headaches. This doesn't explain why it would happen after using the litter box as in Angelfish's case though.
Some cats with hyperthryoidism can vocalize more as well. Cats with hyperthryoidism are usually very hungry but quite thin.
The final possibility is something called cognitive dysfunction. This is similar to senility in people. There are medications that can help with this if it is getting worse, but nothing works 100%.
At this point it probably would be a good idea to have your vet take a look at her and do a good exam and some bloodwork. If there are hints of arthritis on the exam they may try a trial of some anti-inflammatory medication for her. Or, it's possible that they may find something on her blood tests such as hyperthyroidism.
In the meantime, you could experiment with trying a different type of litter box - perhaps one with sides that are shorter so that she doesn't have to work as hard to get into the box.
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Dr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.
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