bedwetting cat
November 3, 2005 10:55 AM   Subscribe

Has anyone had experience with a "bedwetting" cat?

My dear cat, who is at least ten years old, has started "leaking" during the night--usually just a small puddle; I'd estimate about a tablespoonful at most. She sleeps on my bed so it's kind of obvious. If she's awake, she pees in her litter box quite cheerfully, so I don't believe it's a voluntary act. We'll be going to the vet about it soon, but I just hoped for a little input from other cat owners first.

A little background: she was diagnosed FELV+ when she came to me as a stray eight and a half years ago. She has remained quite healthy since then; almost four years ago she had what the vet thought was a triggering episode for the leukemia and got very weak, but she went on interferon, we did a lot of hand-feeding, and she recovered completely. Right now, she isn't showing any other symptoms, is eating fine, and seems happy and perky. I asked the vet about her kidneys in July when she went for treatment for an abscess (unrelated--she was bitten on the flank by another cat), just because I thought she drank a lot, and she said they were a decent size and seemed OK; she also tested negative for diabetes.

Any ideas about what might be happening? Is there anything I can do other than teaching her not to sleep on my husband's pillow and stocking up on Nature's Miracle?
posted by dlugoczaj to Pets & Animals (7 answers total)
Get a bunch of puppy training pads (cheap solution). Place them under an easily washable towel or blanket for her to sleep on. This will help to cope with the leaking until the vet can determine a cause. My cat leaks when she has a mild infection -- it's the first sign for her. Maybe yours is the same.
posted by dness2 at 11:02 AM on November 3, 2005

Your cat has reached the stage in it's life when it starts to go crazy. You might have some luck with a litter tray, which you can then basically repeat the same process you would use on a kitten to get it to go outside.

At least this is what happened to my cat anyway.
posted by alexst at 11:18 AM on November 3, 2005

Check with your vet. This may be a hormonal problem with a very simple fix.
posted by firstdrop at 11:24 AM on November 3, 2005

My dog started doing something similar, turns out that since she was spayed and as she's gotten older, that her estrogen levels dropped and she has lost some of her bladder "tone." Went to the vet and they gave her some pills, proin I believe? Apparently it can be a cat thing also.

The reason why I suggest it is because the symptoms are similar, my dog would pee normally, but when sleeping would often "leak".
posted by KirTakat at 11:33 AM on November 3, 2005

I second KirTakat - my dog is almost 13 and started to leak involuntarily about two years ago. The vet says it's pretty common at the age, that it's hormone related, and can be controlled by pills. I would imagine its the same for cats.

That said, I would like to add a word of caution if this turns out to be the case with your cat. The first pills prescribed by the vet worked great, but altered her mood - a very passive and sweet dog became noticeably more aggressive and moody. Turned out the hormone was too strong, so she was switched to a different type / strength. If your cat's problem is hormonal, ask about potential side effects and tell the vet if you notice any change in behavior.

Good luck though, and remember that even human adults can experience incontinence when they reach a certain age....
posted by sarahmelah at 11:48 AM on November 3, 2005

My parents had the same thing with their old Doberman. It was some sort of bladder problem which was somewhat helped with pills, but the most workable solution was with diapers. Of course much of the house was off-limits to the dog so it wasn't too big of a problem. If she didn't wear a diaper, it was a matter of putting some newspapers under her butt. You could probably custom make some diapers for your cat if you wanted to go that route. Obviously it might be hard to find that size otherwise.
posted by JJ86 at 1:51 PM on November 3, 2005

Because it's happening in bed, it may be a little different, but I will still point out that a cat peeing anywhere other than its box is an immediate sign to take him/her to the vet.

Usually, this is attributed to crystals in the urine, or to a urinary tract infection. These things sound somewhat minor, but can not only be of great pain to the cat -- they can be fatal if not treated promptly.

Your situation does sound a little different because it's nighttime leaking, so it may just be some kind of kitty incontinence... Still, you should take the cat to the vet immediately.

You're doing the right thing by taking her to the vet. I hope she's okay. Best wishes...
posted by twiggy at 1:56 PM on November 3, 2005

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