Some cats have unique quirks associated with their bathroom habits, from running after doing their business to meowing before using the litter box.
Why does my cat meow before going to the bathroom?
Your cat meows before going to the bathroom because she feel vulnerable using the litter box, because she is old and confused or if she is dealing with health issues.
Like most puzzling cat behaviors, deciphering the meaning behind your cat’s vocalizations before using the litter box can be quite tricky because it can mean any of a few things. If your cat has been doing this before, you probably have nothing to worry about. Simply put, it is just a habit he has developed over the years.
However, if your pet seems to sound like he is in great pain, his vocalization can be a distress signal. In this case, you should consult the veterinarian for proper guidance.
Your cat feels vulnerable when using the litter box
Your cat’s meowing may be his way of asking you to come near him while he is doing his business.
When a cat eliminates waste, he is put in a tricky situation where he is momentarily vulnerable to attacks. For a brief moment, he needs to stay motionless until his business has been dealt with.
In the wild, a cat may let out a sound to ward off potential predators. At home, meowing before pooping may mean that your cat is asking you to watch over and protect him until he is finished and less vulnerable to predators, real or perceived.
If you must accompany your cat while he is using his litter box, keep a safe distance from him. Although he might feel vulnerable, he still wants a good measure of privacy.
Your cat may also be asking you to ready yourself for the task of covering his poop. Cats bury their poop to mask their scent and make it less likely for predators to track them using the scent of their feces.
Your cat is old and confused
If you have a senior cat, he is probably meowing before doing his business because he is old and confused.
Sometimes, elderly cats forget what they are doing in the first place. Or perhaps, they do things that they have never done before, like vocalizing before going into the litter box.
Your cat is dealing with a disorder or disease
But what if your cat’s meowing before doing his business is fairly new, something he has not yet done before?
Sometimes, meowing before going to the bathroom is an indication that your cat is experiencing pain while urinating or defecating. Observe how his vocalizations sound like when he goes to the litter box. If it sounds like he is in great pain and straining, a visit to the vet should be in order.
What are the possible disorders or diseases your cat might be suffering from?
Although urinary tract disorders are common in cats, urinary tract infection or UTI is not. UTI occurs when bacteria get into a cat’s bladder by traveling through the urethra.
A cat suffering from UTI will exhibit a few symptoms. These include:
- Crying out while urinating
- Presence of blood in the urine
- Decreased amount of urine
- Urinating outside the litter box.
A case of UTI needs the immediate attention of a veterinarian because it can be fatal to the affected cat.
2. Intestinal obstructions
Like dogs, cats, especially the younger ones, can eat things that they should not. Ingesting objects can lead to blockages in the stomach or intestines.
Your cat might be meowing before using the litter box because he is in distress due to the object lodged in his gastrointestinal tract. The blockage can be caused by scraps from the food table to hairballs to tumors and polyps.
A cat suffering from intestinal blockage will exhibit symptoms like:
- Low body temperature
- Lack of appetite
Intestinal obstructions can be fatal to cats. As such, you should bring your pet to the vet if you notice the aforementioned symptoms.
Treatment for this condition can range from the prescription of laxatives to endoscopy and surgery.
3. Bladder stones
It is also possible that your cat is meowing while using his litter box because he has bladder stones. Bladder stones are crystals or mineral deposits that look like small rocks.
Although bladder stones are small in size, they can cause great pain in cats, especially when they rub against the walls of the bladder. Furthermore, bladder stones can block the urethra, making it difficult for your pet to pee.
A cat with bladder stones will show symptoms like:
- Presence of blood in the urine
- Frequent urination
- Licking the genital area
- Painful urination
- Inappropriate urination
However, there are some cats that have bladder stones but do not show any symptoms.
Bladder stones are formed due to numerous factors, including low water intake, poor diet, UTI, and the use of some types of medications.
Bladder stones can be removed in a variety of ways. If possible, a vet will use a method that is less invasive like a modified diet or increased water intake. However, there are cases wherein surgery might be a better option.
Cystitis or feline idiopathic cystitis is a condition that is fairly common in cats. Usually, the condition is triggered by stress.
Unfortunately, cystitis is incurable and there is a high likelihood that it will occur again, especially during times when your pet is stressed.
Although cystitis is different from urinary infections or blockages, it does share a few common symptoms, including:
- Straining to urinate
- Inappropriate urination
- More frequent urination
- Grooming the genital area
- Blood in the urine
Your cat’s vet may prescribe medications like anti-inflammatories and painkillers to help your cat to deal with the symptoms. However, the best thing that you can do to help your cat deal with this condition is to minimize, if not eliminate, the things that cause stress.
Your cat might be crying before going to the litter box because he is having a difficult time moving his bowels due to constipation.
A cat is said to be constipated when he has not defecated for more than a day. Apart from this, a constipated cat will show symptoms like:
- Decreased appetite
- Dry and hard stools
- Tense stomach
Although constipation is common in felines, the causes can vary. Among the most common reasons for constipation are dehydration, lack of fiber, sedentary lifestyle, and ingestion of foreign objects.
Treatment for constipation in cats can vary from enemas to the prescription of laxatives and stool softeners. But apart from treating the symptoms, it is also critical to solving the underlying cause. That can mean increasing your cat’s water intake or adding more fiber to his diet.
Why it is important to monitor the litter box
You might not like cleaning the litter box but it is a critical part of owning and living with a cat. Your cat’s feces can be a good indicator of your pet’s health.
A healthy cat’s poop should look like a large Tootsie Roll with a consistency of modeling clay. That simply means that the feces should neither be too soft nor too hard. The color should be dark brown, not too dark (which may indicate the presence of blood) nor too light (which is a symptom of liver disease).
If something seems to be amiss, do not hesitate to consult the vet.
Should your cat’s meowing be a cause for concern?
That depends. If your cat has been doing this odd behavior since you brought him home, there is not much to be worried about. But if the appearance of this quirk is sudden, it might indicate a larger problem at hand.
Image: istockphoto.com / Nils Jacobi