A recent study of cats with a history of urinating outside of the litter box (called “periuria”) has shed some new light on the connection between feline health and litter box issues.
A study published in the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery examined cats from multi-cat households that exhibited two types of periuria—spraying their urine and urinating outside of the box (called “latrining”). These cats were compared to cats from the same households that did not exhibit periuria.
The results? Both the spraying cats and the latrining cats were found to have more urinary (and other) health issues than the normal cats.
Common health problems identified included kidney disease, diabetes, bladder stones, and cystitis (inflammation of the bladder).
Of course, not all litter box problems in multi-cat households are due to medical conditions. Behavioral problems and environmental stressors such as territoriality and dominance among cats can also be a factor.
The bottom line? Cats with litter box issues should always be evaluated by a veterinarian to diagnose or rule out health problems.
If no health problems are found, there are lots of resources on litter box behavior that can help cat parents who are struggling with litter box issues in their house. Check out this comprehensive article from the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine’s Feline Health Center.