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Inappropriate Urination -- Bengal Cat -- (long post, sorry)

This is a place to gain some understanding of cat behavior and to assist people in training their cats and dealing with common behavior problems, regardless of the method(s) used. Keep in mind that you may be receiving advice from other cat owners and lovers...not professionals. If you have a major problem, always seek the advice of a trainer or behaviorist!

  
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Booger

444670
 
 
Purred: Mon Mar 19, '12 11:35am PST 
I don't log in much anymore, but I still love this site...

Just looking for some opinions today.

I posted some time ago about my Bengal with an inappropriate urination problem. Long story short, he had started urinating outside of the litter box. Not all the time, as he still continued to use the box regularly, but the problem had escalated to the point that he was urinating on laundry, bed linens, towels, random places on the carpet throughout the house, and even on tables. He'd been seen by our vet and issued a clean bill of health, and I'd tried every "trick" in the book to no avail. We have three litter boxes (the golden rule of one for each cat plus one). We have two cats, both male Bengals, almost the same age, came home from the breeder together and have always been together with no issues between the two of them, and both are neutered -- early neuter at that. There are no other pets in the home. Aside from keeping the boxes as squeaky-clean as humanly possible, I keep two Feliway plug-ins in my house -- one upstairs and one down -- and I also use a bit of Dr. Elsey's cat attract litter sprinkled on top of their regular litter. Nothing helped, and I was at my wit's end when I wrote my last post.

After I read through the forum posts -- and was both surprised and pleased that everyone was so kind and understanding of how utterly frustrated that I was and the fact that I was considering re-homing, I decided that I really wasn't willing to re-home him and decided that another trip to the vet's office was in order. The second time around, the vet determined that there "might" in fact be a problem based on the urinanalysis and bloodwork. He was given a round of Panacur (to rule out a parasitic-related infection, which was also given to the other cat as a precautionary measure) and a round of anti-biotics. It seemed to do the trick and my house was pee-free for about six or seven months or so.

When he started urinating outside of the litter box again, I immediately assumed that there was a problem and made an appointment with the vet. The vet ran a urinanalysis and informed me that there were a few crystals in his urine and recommended a prescription diet (Science Diet c/d). I gradually changed their food, but even after about a three week period, I saw no change whatsoever. If anything, it was worse. I called the vet back and together we decided that a round of antibiotics couldn't hurt anything and seemed to do the trick the last time, so I picked up the meds the next day and started the cat on them right away. In the meantime, I noticed that at least one of the cats was vomitting up the food and they were both bouncing off the walls. So, after some research on my own part, I determined that maybe the Science Diet c/d was just a little too high protein for my already high-energy cats and maybe even too "rich" for their stomachs, so I called the vet's office and left a message for the vet to call me in her free time. Not once, not twice, but three times. I never did get a return call. The vet had told me that I probably wouldn't need to use the prescription diet long-term and that I could wean them back on to their regular food or experiment with a good quality food designed for urine health after about a month or so, so since no one bothered to call me back, I weaned them back onto their regular food. On a side note, the cat and/or cats stopped vomitting once they returned to their regular food.

We went through the round of antibiotics as prescribed with no change. And, at this point, I'm again reaching the end of my rope. So, I called the vet's office again to talk to the vet about a recommendation she had made about Amitriptyline. At the time that she recommended it, I wasn't really keen on the idea of medicating for an inappropriate urination problem. But, when nothing else worked, I was willing to give it a try.

I called my vet's office early last week and spoke to the receptionist. Again, I asked to speak to the vet because I wanted to talk to her about the medication, but the vet wasn't available so the receptionist took a note and said she'd talk to the vet and someone would get back in touch with me. Well, it was the receptionist who ended up calling me back -- which kind of annoyed me -- to tell me that the vet said that the meds (i.e. Amitriptyline) would be fine and to come pick them up at my earliest convenience. I stopped in the following morning to pick up the prescription -- I had some questions, but the only person I got a chance to talk to was the receptionist (different receptionist than I talked to on the phone the previous day). I asked about the dosage, which was prescribed as 1/2 - 1 pill (they were 10mg pills) twice daily. Of course, I asked if I should start at 1/2 a pill and she determined that maybe I should (yes, I'm kind of annoyed at this point regarding the lack of information that I am being offered) but she was trying to be nice and helpful and offered to cut some of the pills in half for me. I also asked about side effects and was told that the pills were completely safe, that they had lots of cats that they treat that are currently on Amitriptyline -- some for quite long periods of time, and that I shouldn't expect any side effects other than I might notice that he's more calm. Ok, I think, what could this hurt.

We started the Amitriptyline last Tuesday evening. So, at this point, we've had almost a full weeks worth of medication at 1/2 pill twice a day. I was told not to expect any changes for several weeks or up to a month while the medication builds up in his system, but as of the day before yesterday, I noticed that he's very lethargic. Of course, that's quite out of character for my rather high-energy get-into-everything Bengal. Secondly, it's like his coordination is off. He was walking "oddly," as though he was specifically thinking about exactly where to place each paw as he walks. And, last night, he was getting down off the table (yes, my cats get on the table) and was apparently trying to step down or jump down on the chair. He missed completely, though, and fell flat on his face.

I skipped this mornings dose on purpose and called the vet this morning at about 8:30am. I talked to someone in the office who I don't think I've ever spoken with before, and (surprise, surprise) she said she'd take a note and have someone get back to me as soon as they could. Well, here it is 2:30 in the afternoon. No phone call from the vet. And, my mood at this point is beyond annoyed. I thought that I had communicated effectively that I was concerned about his behavior and that I felt it was important that I talk to someone (in case it is a reaction to the medication or in case there is a serious problem that needs to be treated asap). Nevertheless, no one has found it important enough to call me back. As an afterthought, I googled Amitriptyline and.... *gasp* There are some really nasty side effects associated with it's use in cats!!! Why didn't someone tell me this beforehand???

In short, I'm not trying to be a cranky client because I know that vet offices get busy and the staff, especially the doctors, are often overwhelmed... but, this isn't the first time that no one has bothered to return my calls. And, why wasn't I given all of the information on the medication?

So, I'm just looking for opinions. Mostly on whether or not this is acceptable behavior out of a veterinary office. But, any info on Amitriptyline or personal experiences with it would be greatly appreciated!
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Eko

Mr. Eko - dark, but- good-hearted
 
 
Purred: Tue Mar 20, '12 7:52am PST 
No, I don't think it is good behavior on the part of your vet's office. One of the things I love about my vet is how incredibly accessible and responsive they are. I'd try to find a vet that will be more responsive. Good luck.
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BK

Ambassador at- the Kitty U.N.
 
 
Purred: Wed Mar 21, '12 8:26am PST 
I'm so sorry to hear you're having these problems - I don't think there's anything worse than cat pee out of the litter box. In addition to finding a more understanding vet, I just want to recommend that you do some research on food. It's unclear to me if the food you're feeding is kibble, but that could cause both the infection and the crystals. And in my opinion, high protein is *never* a bad thing for a cat, even a high energy cat. Cats are obligate carnivores and should be eating high protein foods and not carbs. In addition, a cat is physically unable to drink enough water to keep themselves hydrated on a kibble diet. So they are in a chronic state of dehydration and are not getting enough fluids to flush their kidneys - thus the crystals.

Perhaps I misunderstood and you're not feeding dry food, in which case I apologize. But I highly recommend taking a look at catinfo.org which is full or useful info on both food and litterbox issues. Good luck!
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Tigger

Knead softly &- carry a big purr
 
 
Purred: Thu Mar 22, '12 10:41am PST 
I think you definitely need to see a new vet. These are legitimate concerns you have, and a vet should not be that busy not to speak with you. I recently changed vets because I felt put off by the last visit for my Smitty. See a new vet, and have them go over everything. Your old vet is required to give the new vet your kitty's records. He could have inflammation in his bladder, or yes crystals. I have been through this with Tigger, and you do not want to mess around if it is. A vet that is not concerned enough to speak with you ( they can call during a break, or after hours) is not concerned with the welfare of your cat - just my opinion. Keep us posted! purrs
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Booger

444670
 
 
Purred: Fri Mar 23, '12 7:11am PST 
@ BK...

Actually, I do feed a dry-only kibble diet. And, while I do understand your concerns (I had the same ones), there are a couple of reasons that I do so. While it is true that a lot of cats can't or won't drink enough water to keep themselves properly hydrated on a dry-only diet, that isn't the case with my Bengals. I'm not sure if it's a "Bengal thing," or just a particular characteristic of my cats, but they drink tons of water. So much water, in fact, that I was convinced that they were "sick" because cats normally don't consume such large quantities of water. The problem this creates is that they both tend to have dilute urine -- even on the dry-only diet; and this problem seems to be most severe in the cat with the inappropriate urination problem. As you can imagine, a canned-only or canned/dry diet only seems to exacerbate the issue. (Which was also another problem that I had with the Science Diet c/d since it increases water intake.) So, the decision to try dry-only was a mutual decision between myself and the vet, and I can honestly say that my vet was much happier with the quality of the urine sample after the diet change than she was prior.

Now, granted, with all of that said, I haven't been quite so happy with my vet as of late... so, we'll see.
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Booger

444670
 
 
Purred: Fri Mar 23, '12 7:50am PST 
@ Eko...

Thanks for your reply. I really expected much more "personal attention" from my veterinary office than I have been given and have been thoroughly disappointed over this situation. More than disappointed, really.

@ Tigger...

Thanks for validating my concerns. I've really tried to be "understanding" that the offic and the vet are busy, but I just don't understand being "too busy" to call me back over a truly legitimate concern. I don't believe that I am a "nagging" client and I have never had any payment issues and always pay my bill in full at the time of service, so I really just don't understand it. To update you, I waited almost the entire day and then called the vet's office back later that afternoon just before I left work (same day as my post). The same person that I had spoken to that morning answered the phone and after I explained who I was, she informed me that they had been very busy and that she hadn't gotten a chance to speak with the vet but that I would definitely get a telephone call the following morning. She also told me to continue the meds. (I may have already posted that part.) Well, I waited through the entire following day... and waited, and waited, and waited. Then, just a few minutes before I left work, the vet office called. It was again the same person who I had spoken to before; she said she had talked to the vet and told me to cut the dosage in half again (1/4 tablet, twice a day). The vet was, again, too busy to talk to me. ??? I said, "Ok," but I have not done so. I'm just not comfortable with it. I'd much rather live with the cat pee than cause more harm with meds.

In the meantime, I am looking for another vet. And, while I know that they are required to release the records to my new vet, I'm actually going to go in an request a personal copy for myself. And, although I will not be mean or nasty in any way, shape, or form (cause that's just not in my character), I am going to explain in detail why I'm leaving.


I think you definitely need to see a new vet. These are legitimate concerns you have, and a vet should not be that busy not to speak with you. I recently changed vets because I felt put off by the last visit for my Smitty. See a new vet, and have them go over everything. Your old vet is required to give the new vet your kitty's records. He could have inflammation in his bladder, or yes crystals. I have been through this with Tigger, and you do not want to mess around if it is. A vet that is not concerned enough to speak with you ( they can call during a break, or after hours) is not concerned with the welfare of your cat - just my opinion. Keep us posted! purrs
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BK

Ambassador at- the Kitty U.N.
 
 
Purred: Fri Mar 23, '12 7:53am PST 
Unfortunately, and this is only my opinion of course, I don't think we can count on vets to be totally educated on feline nutrition. That said, I have another question. When you tried the canned food, did the cats continue to drink the same amount of water? I find this very interesting. Especially the fact that it might be a breed thing. Sorry, just satisfying my own curiosity!
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Booger

444670
 
 
Purred: Mon Mar 26, '12 8:00am PST 
Hi, BK,

Yes, actually, they did drink just as much water on canned as they did/do on dry. If you know anything about the breed, they tend to be very water-friendly. And, like I mentioned before, they are "textbook" Bengals when it comes to water. The silver boy, Halo, will actually get into the bathtub with my little boy. He also seems to be the most water fascinated and will plow you over to get to the sink -- any sink, whether it be the kitchen sink, the bathroom sink, or the wash tub in the laundry room -- to get to the water when he hears a faucet turn on. I have to remove him from the bathroom sink numerous times while I try to brush my teeth, he "demands" that the faucet be turned on for him every time someone goes to the bathroom so that he can get a drink, and -- as you might have guessed -- the toilet is the best toy ever. And, while he does often play in the water, he's a big drinker and never misses an opportunity to get a "fresh" drink. The copper boy, Hemi, who also happens to be the boy who I am having the problem with, isn't quite as obsessed with water as Halo, but he's still a big drinker. So much so that the veterinary office couldn't believe how much water he drank while he was there for a urine sample.

I've looked up some stuff on the internet, and while there's plenty of text that references their love of water, I've never actually read much that said that Bengals are specifically big drinkers. So, I don't know if it's a breed thing or not, or just happens to be something unique to my guys.

On a side note, the drinking was at it's worst when I was feeding the Science Diet c/d (dry)... I was filling their water bowl three to four times a day!
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Booger

444670
 
 
Purred: Mon Mar 26, '12 8:07am PST 
BK,

I almost forget... what food would you recommend?
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BK

Ambassador at- the Kitty U.N.
 
 
Purred: Mon Mar 26, '12 1:10pm PST 
Personally, I don't think kibble is an appropriate diet for any cat. I feed raw, but I understand that's not possible or desirable for everyone. I do recommend a high protein/low carb grain-free canned food. If you've poked around catinfo.org you'll understand why this is a more species appropriate diet.

And although I think that type of diet leads to a healthier cat in general, you seem to be dealing with some specific health or behavioral issues. I definitely would search for a more receptive vet that will help you get to the bottom of things. And again, just my personal opinion, I think meds should only be used as a last resort if at all. I do hope you find the right vet. BK has some serious health issues and even once we found a specialist to treat his severe allergies, I tried four different vets before I found one that I was happy with for just his general health. In your case you might look for a cat only vet, or at least a vet that has experience with the Bengal breed. I wish you the best of luck and I hope you'll keep us posted on your progress.
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