Incontinence means that it is no longer possible to pass urine in a controlled manner. If you have an incontinent cat, you will always find a few drops of urine or small puddles outside the litter box. The incontinence is to be differentiated from urine marking of the hangover and from foreign urination.
Identifying Incontinence in Cats
If your cat deliberately sits down or lifts its leg and urinates in a typical hangover fashion, it is not incontinent. This pee from others can have many possible causes, for example, a bladder infection or hormone-controlled cat behavior. With “real” incontinence, the cat can no longer control the muscles around the bladder. The urine will come out without the cat noticing. This often happens when the cat moves jerkily – i.e. when getting up or lying down, as well as when running fast. In addition, incontinent cats can become soiled if they lose urine while lying down. Usually, the owners see isolated drops rather than large puddles.
Living With an Incontinent Cat
If your cat suddenly loses urine, consult a veterinarian first. In the event of an accident resulting in incontinence, this person is the first point of contact anyway.
Even if it should be difficult: be patient and do not scold your velvet paw if you discover fresh traces of urine!
In many cases, there are good solutions so that you and your animal companion can continue to live well together. In the case of incontinence after an accident, in particular, you should keep an eye on the cat’s entire life situation. For example, if the cat is partially paralyzed, it is important to carefully consider how it can improve its quality of life. Give yourself plenty of time for these considerations, especially since some nerve damage still regenerates after months.
Causes of Incontinence in Cats
Usually, nerve damage is behind incontinence in cats. Often this comes from an accident. Incontinence can occur after a car accident or a tail torn off. Pelvic and spinal injuries can be associated with crushed or destroyed nerves. Unfortunately, incontinence is a huge risk in some tailless cats like the Manx. Urinary stones or tumors can also cause incontinence in cats.
If the responsible nerves are no longer carrying signals, the cat will not notice the urge to urinate or will not be able to control the sphincter muscle.
The bladder fills until it overflows. That is why we speak of an “overflow bubble” in this case. In some cases, old or sick cats become incontinent. Some of them are simply too weak to do their small business in the intended place. Cats with dementia lose their bearings and therefore pass urine in unusual places. Strictly speaking, however, this is not incontinence, but counts as “peeing outside”.
Therapy for Incontinent Cats
If the cat is constantly losing urine in an uncontrolled manner, it can be very stressful for the owners. Carpets, sleeping places, or sofas are at risk. Many owners suffer enormously from the “pee problem”. It is important to have it checked out carefully by the veterinarian. In this way, you can find out whether there is real incontinence or whether the cat is “peeing”. In many cases, there is a good chance of recovery. Here are some ways to treat incontinent cats:
Massaging the bladder
If the cat suffers from an “overflow bladder”, it may be necessary to “massage out” the bladder several times a day. A veterinarian will show you the right technique for this because it is important. Excessive pressure can cause urine to be forced into the kidneys. Rubbing out is faster in cats than in cats because their urethra is wider. After accidents, the nerves around the bladder often regenerate. Then a massage is only necessary for a limited period of time. Sometimes the damage remains irreversible. Then you should consider whether you can massage the bladder of your velvet paw several times a day for the life of a cat. If the cat is otherwise in good health and cheerful, nothing speaks against it. However, you should not underestimate the daily effort. Communicating with owners of other incontinent cats can be helpful.
Medicines for Incontinence in Cats
One tablet a day – and the cat only pees in the litter box? In the majority of cases, it is not that simple. Medication only works if the muscles around the bladder are weakened. This is rare, but then tablets can make everyday life much easier.
Come to terms with the incontinence
If the cat’s incontinence persists and the suffering is high, think about what you can move spatially. If the cat is outdoors, it is sufficient to make certain areas of the apartment accessible to her. Rooms with easily wipeable floors and without fabric-covered seating are particularly suitable. Admittedly, the velvet paw will protest at first if it is no longer allowed to enter some rooms. But this is better than having to give them up. You should clean up traces of urine with a special enzyme cleaner. Remember to regularly clean the genital area of the velvet paw with a damp cloth. This is especially important for older cats or animals with restricted mobility.
Diapers for animal incontinence?
What seems strange at first glance is worth a try if you think about it more closely: diapers for incontinent cats. Before an animal is euthanized or given up, diapers could be an alternative. Some owners test different baby diapers before they find the right size – a hole for the tail must not be missing! Some velvet paws accept the unusual “clothing” after a few days. This reduces the level of suffering for the owners, who no longer run the constant risk of discovering fresh puddles of urine. The overall impression is decisive: if the cat is visibly enjoying everyday life despite the diaper, nothing speaks against the unusual accessory.