Bladder, or urinary tract, crystals that is. Many, many years ago, Tavi-the-wonder-cat had them. Fortunately, medication and special food cleared them up and she never had them again. I’ve only had one foster with them, but it happens more often than you think. So many times people think a peeing issue is behavioural and it turns out to be physical.
My sister just had to deal with this. She has three cats; one from TCR, one she rescued when his owners were getting rid of him, and one she inherited from her son when he moved out west. (The plan is still for the cat to join her son out west, but I think my sister may now re-think the deal. 😉 ) The rescued one has had behavioural peeing issues in the past so when accidents starting appearing he was blamed and sent back to litter box training school. But then my sister came home one night to find Racer (the TCR kitty) in excruciating pain, she rushed him to her vet who diagnosed crystals before she even did the tests. He was so bad that he was completely blocked; his little bladder was just about ready to burst — literally! He was immediately admitted to hospital and catheterized. He spent two days there, having tests and getting things working again. Still, everyone was relieved that it was crystals — which are treatable and manageable.
In typical cat fashion, Racer was probably the least likely candidate for crystals in my sister’s menagerie. He’s almost four and nearly past the mostly likely age (two to five years) and he’s probably the most active cat they have. He’s certainly the, um, slimmest. They have always fed their cats wet, as well as dry, food. But he’s male and he’s neutered and sometimes that’s all it takes, for whatever reason.
He came home with medication and special food. And it means a change for the whole family — feline and human. All three cats now have to go on the special kibble. For their canned food, they’re fed separately anyway, so only Racer gets the special canned food. Treats are popular in their household, so everyone has to be mindful that there are no treats for Racer. He’ll have to be tested again in a few weeks to see how he’s doing.
Elimination issues in multi-cat households are some of the toughest to deal with. If you have three dogs, they all have to be walked and you can see exactly what’s going on with each of them. If you have three cats? It’s tough. Even if you try to keep an eye on what’s going on, they’re not always cooperative. My own guys will go flying out of the litter box if I accidentally intrude. Fortunately, over time, I’ve developed a feeling. I’m half aware of who’s using the litter box and when. And that’s a little easier in my very small home! I’ve also kind of figured out who goes where; yup, my guys actually have a preference for where in the litter box they go!! Of course, that often goes out the window when there are fosters around and the “litter box wars” start (the desperate race to see who can claim the box first!). The biggest clue is always, of course, “accidents”. So if your cat is peeing outside the litter box, always get them a check up. If they turn out healthy, you can start on the checklist of behavioural problems, but if it’s something physical you’ll save them some discomfort and pain and hopefully catch it early enough to save yourself some money.