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Ask the Veterinarian/My cat has behavioral concerns


My cat has never had problems with using the litter box. We always bought the sand-like littler. We recently switched to crystallized litter, but since this I have noticed some behavioral changes that concerns me. He obsessively goes to the litter least once every 3 minutes. It seems he tries to force something out. Since this I have noticed that he wees and poops more than usual. Where the bag says one bag a month, it lasted a week, because it was becoming too dirty for my liking. I have noticed that he even eats and drinks more to be able to use the box more often, can this be because he likes the new box so much(I have caught him just sitting in the box at times) or is this something I must be concerned about?

Hello Laura,
Most cats visit the litter box for a short period of time. They're in the box long enough to do their business, and then go along their merry ways. But sometimes cats spend more time than usual inside the box,or visits the box frequently.This is where the concern starts.
There are basically a couple of reasons why cats sit in their litter boxes: one is because of a medical issue and the other is because of stress.
If a cat is sitting in the litter box for a significant period of time, or if he's squatting, straining or scratching litter while producing little or no drops of urine, those are indicators that he is either blocked or constipated or could even have feline lower urinary tract disease. Male cats can develop crystals(urolithiasis) in their urine or other urinary tract problems. The crystals can accumulate at the tip of the penis and block the urine from freely flowing.This is potentially life threatening and needs immediate veterinary attention.
Another reason cats sit or lie down in the litter box is a little more complex. The box can act as safe place if the cat is feeling uncomfortable or frightened. it's more common for cats to lie in the box rather than sit in it. The cat may take refuge there because of  bullying by another animal or is fearful of a new pet in the house. A new baby in the house,a visiting child,sound of a barking dog,or a change in climate like a thunderstorm are all things of concern.
But this may not be the case with your looks like an obsession with the new crystalline litter material.In some cases individual cats will develop substrate preferences, so you may  try changing the litter that you are using.  You could switch to the previous one or materials like coarser clay, newspaper pellet, or shredded fabric.  Even after this if he still exhibits a preference for the box you may try other treatments such as medications to use in cases of compulsion in consultation with your vet.



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Dr S Bindu Anand


Large and Small Animal Medicine and Surgery, Farm Management,Preventive medicine


A Senior Veterinary Surgeon with more than 25 years’ experience in the field of Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry. Mixed animal Practice that will utilize my skills in medicine and surgery, public health, client relations, and developing relationships within the community, such as humane society

Veterinary Consultant with Department of Animal Resources,Ministry of Environment,State of Qatar (Present). Animal Husbandry Department, Government of Kerala, India. Oakland's Park, Gloucestershire, United Kingdom. Severnside Veterinary Center, Gloucestershire, United Kingdom. Saud Bahwan Group, Sultanate of Oman. Trivandrum Regional Co-operative Milk Producers Union,Kerala,India.

BVSc & AH (Bachelor of Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry) 1990. College of Veterinary & Animal Sciences, Mannuthy, Thrissur, Kerala, India under Kerala Agricultural University. Certificates Of Accomplishments- Equine Nutrition- University of Edinburgh Principles of Public Health-University of California, Irvine. AIDS- Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia. General Environmental Health – EPHOC-Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine and the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health. Food Protection-EPHOC-Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine and the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health. Zoonoses:University of Minnesota-School of Public Health online. Food Safety:University of Minnesota-School of Public Health online. Occupational Safety and Health-EPHOC-Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine and the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health. Rabies Educator Certified -Global Alliance for Rabies Control. Animal Handler & Vaccinator Educator Certified -Global Alliance for Rabies Control. Wildlife Conservation-United for Wildlife

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