Top Ten Behavior Cat Myths & Misconceptions
MYTH #1 ► My cat urinates outside of the litter box because they are mad at me. Funny Cat
It happens most frequently when I go away, so I know for sure that it’s done out of spite.
FALSE! While it is true that cats can develop behavioral problems involving inappropriate elimination, the most common causes of urination outside of the litter box are medical ones. Frequently sub-clinical medical problems flare-up during times of stress, and indeed they may become clinically evident for the very first time during a period of stress. Stress adversely affects the immune system and exacerbates underlying disease(s). Stress also heightens pain perception, and in so doing, can exacerbate out-of-the-box behavior caused by underlying medical issues which cause pain.
Cats who experience any sort of discomfort while eliminating, whether it occurs during urination or defecation, quickly learn to associate that discomfort with the litter box itself (a fairly logical conclusion!). For instance, cats who have bladder stones, urinary crystals, urinary infections, bladder inflammation, constipation, or diarrhea, will often start urinating and/or defecating outside of the box. By bringing your cat to your veterinarian and discussing the problem with them, you can discover what the most likely cause for your cat’s behavior is.
Some medical tests will likely need to be run in order to confirm or exclude certain medical issues as the underlying cause of the problem. When medical diseases are not responsible for the problem at hand, the next most common culprit is that there is a sub-par litter box situation in the home. Click the link to read advice on giving your cat the best feline bathroom options possible – your kitty will thank you! And again, this is a subject that your veterinarian can help you with; sometimes the answer is as simple as adding one more litter box to your home!
MYTH #2 ►My older cat caterwauls at night and makes a huge fuss because they’re not getting attention once I’ve gone to bed.
FALSE! There are a couple of very common medical problems that cause caterwauling in older cats, particularly at night. It is not unusual to hear clients with geriatric cats complain of being woken up at 4 AM from their cat’s incessant meowing. This behavior is frequently noted in cats that suffer from hyperthyroidism, elevated blood pressure, blindness or decreased night vision, and also cats that are experiencing dementia as they age. All of these problems require immediate medical attention from a veterinarian, so if your cat is keeping you up at night with their caterwauling, you are likely not the only one suffering in this situation … it is time for a trip to your veterinarian!
MYTH #3 ►My cat vomits food and/or has diarrhea when they’re stressed, particularly if there are visitors in my home. I don’t take my cat to the vet when this happens since it seems to be just a stress behavior.
FALSE! Unless under extreme, acutely stressful situations that incite a response called a vasovagal reaction, cats do not normally vomit or have diarrhea solely due to stress. Again, stress can exacerbate underlying diseases, particularly disorders that are immune related such as inflammatory bowel disease, a common condition seen in domestic kitties. If your cat is vomiting, regurgitating, or experiencing diarrhea or constipation periodically, particularly when stressed, it is quite likely that there is a medical issue present, one that has been subclinical for a period of time.
Dr. Koharik Arman “Dr. Ko” – Licensed Veterinarian
Dr. Ko is a cat lover and founder of the www.catdoctorko.com website! Although she is trained in all areas of veterinary medicine, she has sought out a professional career that allows her to work exclusively with felines.
While in school, Dr. Ko was a Deans Honor List Student throughout the four years of her undergraduate BSc (Bachelor of Science in Biology) degree at the University of New Brunswick, and the four years during which she completed her DVM (Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine) degree at the Atlantic Veterinary College in beautiful Prince Edward Island. Dr. Ko earned many scholarships in the course of her post-graduate education, including the Bayer Companion Animal Veterinary Medicine Award. She also published an article she wrote while still a student in a medical journal, the CVJ (Canadian Veterinary Journal), in 2007.
A licensed veterinarian who works exclusively with cats, Dr. Ko is a member of the AAFP (American Association of Feline Practicioners), the CVMA (Canadian Veterinary Medical Assocation), VIN (the Veterinary Information Network), and is also a certified NEW (Nuclear Energy Worker).
Dr. Ko continues to split her time between working in private practice at two different feline veterinary clinics, as well as writing and publishing articles on animal wellness and welfare, and, of course, dedicating herself to the continued development and expansion of the www.catdoctorko.com website and its community of cat lovers.
Dr. Ko is a passionate believer in the importance of preventative medicine and educating cat owners about its benefits for their cats. It was this ideal which was the motivation for the creation of the Dr. Ko website. She continues to be an advocate for the humane treatment of all animals, and of course, the health and wellness of cats everywhere!