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Older cat missing litter box.

Species: Cat
Breed: domestic
Age: More than 15 ye
My 18 year old male cat is getting into the liter box and urinating on the floor outside the box. Any ideas what is going on? I have not changed liter, I did get a biger box but that is not helping.
I need some advice............


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

There are a number of things that can cause an older cat to not urinate in the box.

I always recommend having a vet check his urine just to be sure there is no medical problem.

However, the fact that he is standing in the box and urinating outside of the box makes me wonder if he is having issues with arthritis. It is quite common for an older cat to get something called lumbosacral syndrome. This causes pain at the end of the spine (just before the tail). Cats that have this kind of pain don't want to squat to urinate because it hurts. So, they often pee standing straight up and the urine ends up going outside of the box.

While we do have some medications that can help with arthritis in cats they do come with some risks, especially in older cats. There is no over the counter medicine that is safe for cats with arthritis.

You may want to try using a covered litter box. This way, if the urine is sprayed out sideways it will just hit the wall.

And, I would definitely recommend a vet visit.

Dr. Marie.

---This question was asked in our Ask A Vet For Free section.---


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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

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Dr. MarieDr. 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.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.