Those sharing a home with an older cat may find themselves faced with the difficult problem of cat incontinence. Dealing with both the cat and the problem with understanding rather than frustration is the first and most important step to take. Once the root cause of the problem has been properly diagnosed, more can be done to make life for everyone easier.
Cat incontinence stems from a health problem, and is typically seen in older cats. Some cats who refuse to use the litter box can be suffering from behavior problems, so it is vital to determine the root cause of the incontinence. When it is caused by a health-related issue, it is beyond the cat's control, and the cat should never be punished. Cats are fastidiously clean animals, so it is important to remember that incontinence is not something in their control.
Some issues are temporary and can be controlled with medication. Feline diabetes is a common cause of cat incontinence, because diabetes causes the cat to drink and urinate more. A change in diet and administration of insulin can help control the diabetes and will go a long way in eliminating the incontinence. Kidney stones, bladder infections, or bladder stones can make the cat uncomfortable, and cause difficulties in urination that lead to incontinence. Following the veterinarian's instructions to the letter can help your cat recover as fast as possible.
Other causes of cat incontinence present long-term problems. Feline leukemia and bladder cancer can cause a cat to produce a small amount of urine that leaks out as it moves or during sleep, and in these cases, making cleanup as easy as possible is key. If the cat has a favorite place to sleep, cover the area with towels that can be thrown into the wash, or with a plastic cover that can be wiped clean. Place some towels or rags on the floor around the cat's favorite spots as well to help save the floor from stains. Changing the type of litter in the box can also help, as some litters can be sharp and uncomfortable on the delicate paws of an ill cat.
As a cat ages, it may also become forgetful. In addition to losing some control over its bladder, it may forget where the litter box is or not realize that it does not have enough time to make it there. Adding some litter boxes can help eliminate some of these problems; make sure the cat not only knows where they are, but has easy access to them. Along with aging can come arthritis and difficulty in moving, so be certain the cat can get in and out of the litter box easily. Choosing one with low sides or a ramp may help eliminate accidents near the box.