I was sitting at the bar at my local watering hole the other night, and a woman I have seen there multiple times says “My cat started peeing all over the place. I’m going to have to get rid of her.” Now, I don’t like to reveal that I’m a veterinarian in public. Sometimes I need to wind down and not talk about cats (don’t hate me for that!). But for some reason I had to speak up this time. There are SO many cats turned into shelters for reasons that are unnecessary. I piped in and said to her, have you taken her to the vet yet?
She looked at me like I had three heads. “Why would I do that?”
So here’s the thing. Cats like to be clean. They like routine. They like to use the litter box! And without question, they do not do anything out of spite. A middle aged cat that suddenly decides to urinate outside of the litter box is not being spiteful. She may have a bladder infection. She may have developed a bladder stone. The litter box may be dirty. Maybe something scared her while she was in the litter box and it’s now a scary place to go. There are so many reasons, and none of them are because she’s mad at you.
The bottom line is this – so many of the reasons that animals, both dogs and cats, are turned into shelters are things that can be addressed and helped by your vet. This is especially true if it’s a new behavior. For example, what if you couldn’t talk, and you kept going into your bathroom, and 3 other people used it before you and no one flushed? What would you do? You’d go somewhere else. What if it was the only bathroom in the house? If it were me, I’d consider peeing in the sink. If my brain was the size of a cat’s, I’d definitely pee in the sink!
Some things aren’t that simple. However, sometimes having another person try to look at the situation from another angle is pretty darned helpful. The cat that belonged to the lady at the bar? She’s going to the vet this week. NOT to the shelter.