Cats typically go about their business in their litter boxes without any trouble, but sometimes that's not the case. If a cat seems to be straining to go, that could indicate that there's a serious problem going on. Knowing how to recognize the signs that your cat is having difficulty using its litter box is an important skill that can help you to protect your cat's health. Read on to learn how to detect straining, why it's so dangerous, and what you must do to keep your cat safe.
How To Tell
When a cat uses the litter box normally, they either stand or squat and go about their business. You may see the muscles in their sides or back flex, but otherwise, cats typically finish up their business in a matter of seconds.
If your cat is straining, this process won't be so quick. Your cat may attempt to use the litter box and nothing comes out. Alternatively, they may cry out while trying to go. This typically means that they're in some kind of discomfort while trying to go. If your cat doesn't seem to be producing anything or appears to be in physical pain while using the litter box, their health or even their life could be in danger.
When cats can't eliminate fecal matter or urine, it can quickly become a devastating health risk. Cats need to be able to get rid of both in order for their bodies to digest food and successfully process toxins out of their blood. Without being able to rid themselves of waste and urine, these processes don't occur, and blood toxicity can quickly rise.
Both of these conditions are dangerous, but an inability to urinate is the worse of the two. There are plenty of potential causes for it - bladder or kidney infections, disease, or even an injury that's altered the way the urinary tract works. Regardless of the cause, a cat can quickly become severely ill and even die in just a matter of hours or days if they can't eliminate their urine.
What To Do
If you have even the slightest suspicion that your cat can't use the litter box properly, get them to a veterinarian immediately. Failing to do so could cause severe damage to their bodies. For example, if your cat can't eliminate their urine, their bladder or kidneys may become infected or the tissue damaged. If you wait and you're lucky, a vet will be able to save your cat's life but the damage done to their organs may be permanent.
When you go to your vet, explain the situation. Your vet will take immediate action to relieve your cat's problem. This may require manual extraction or surgery to relieve the bowels, or in the case of a urinary blockage, a syringe may be used to temporarily reduce the pressure and relieve your cat's bladder. Once the emergency relief is provided, your vet will examine your cat and perform blood tests to determine why exactly your cat was having a problem in the first place. Rest assured that if you've acted quickly, your cat will be in good hands and they should be fine.
An inability to go is something that should never ever be overlooked, nor should you try to wait it out. If your cat isn't producing anything when they use the litter box, contact a vet, such as at Kenmore Veterinary Hospital, for immediate support.