Senior Cat not using litter box to urinate

by Fred
(Fraser, MI, USA)

I have a male domestic short hair cat that is 17 years old. He has been neutered since 9 months old. Up until 3 months ago, he was very good about urinating and passing solids in his litter box. He has since taken to urinating on the tiles in the basement and also in a mop bucket and dust pan. I am not sure what is going on with him. He also seems skinny and his haunches are showing. We have not changed his food in 6 years and his litter box is cleaned every day religiously. We cannot afford a vet bill because our finances are stretched thin. Oh, another thing he is climbing on our counters and scrounging for human food again another new behavior for him. Any suggestions on some things I should try to maybe have him revert back to his normal behavior?

~ Perplexed

Dear Perplexed,

Considering your cat’s age, there is likely a medical cause for his change in litter box behavior. Your cat could be suffering from a number of cat illnesses, such as a urinary tract infection, kidney disease, or metabolic diseases to name a few. Coupled with his weight loss and change in appetite, your cat’s urinating behavior change suggests that he may very well have feline hyperthyroidism, which is treatable if caught early.

While I understand that times are tough financially, your cat really does need to be seen by a veterinarian for an examination and a urinalysis. The cost of treating conditions such as feline hyperthyroidism, or even urinary tract infections or kidney disease, can be relatively inexpensive if treatment begins quickly enough. However, even if you cannot afford to treat the cause of his urinating behavior, it would still be wise for your cat to be examined to, at very least, determine if he is suffering and whether euthanasia might be needed.

To help financially, you may want to consider applying for CareCredit, a program designed to allow you to pay off medical and veterinary expenses at low or no interest over a period of time. Similarly, you could call veterinarians in your area and see if any are willing to work out a payment schedule with you or examine your cat at a reduced fee.

Best wishes,
Dr. Neely