Avoid CATastrophes: Cat Behavior Basics

Avoiding Bathroom Catastrophes Newsletter BannerA message from our Veterinarian Administrator

The first week in May is National Pet Week, and we chose to focus this newsletter on Cat Care. One item I would like to discuss is their urinary health. It’s not uncommon for cats to be relinquished to a shelter because they are urinating inappropriately (i.e., in areas other than in a litter box).

There are many reasons why a cat might not urinate in their litter box and the secret is to discuss your cat’s behavior with your veterinarian. Often, the veterinarian might ask a series of questions as they try to understand the cause.

  • Are they straining to urinate? Is there increased licking of their “private” area?
  • Is there increased frequency to urinate? Are they drinking more water than normal?
  • Who, what, and where does the cat eliminate? Is the urine a small, normal, or large volume?
  • How many litter boxes are available? How often are the boxes cleaned? How many cats are in the household? Have there been any changes to the owner’s or cat’s environment?
  • Where are the boxes located? Have the boxes been moved?
  • Is the cat neutered? Does the cat see other cats outside? Is the urine on a vertical surface, like a wall?
  • What kind of litter is used, how big is the box and does the litter box have a hood or a liner?
  • Could anything or anyone be preventing them from accessing the litter box?

The most important step is to have your veterinarian examine your pet and test its urine (urinalysis)!

Some causes for “inappropriate” urination include an infection, bladder stones, lack of daily cleaning of the litter boxes, separation anxiety, and/or surface aversion. If the cat has arthritis or a prior trauma (including declawing) the box should be readily accessible (low sides and on the main floor where the cat lives). The most effective treatment is based on the best diagnosis.

Treatment may include neutering, medication, prescription food (such as c/d), additional (larger) litter boxes and placing in different locations, cleaning the box at least daily, experimenting with different types of litter, and possibly using one box with a hood to see your cat’s preference. The litter boxes should be in a quiet area, away from their food and water. Consider restricting your cat to a certain area initially or videotaping your cat to help identify its litter box behavior. Clean the inappropriate areas well with an enzymatic solution made for cat urine and avoid punishment for accidents. Also, avoid liners and scented litter for litter boxes.

As more families add felines to their homes this kitten season, we hope to educate new and old cat families on Cat Care. There is help if your cat is urinating outside of the box. Your veterinarian is the best resource for your cat. If you need additional guidance, we are here to provide you with resources.

Dr. Hanek Signature

Dr. Barbara Hanek,

Veterinarian Administrator

Giving DuPage Days This Week!

Giving DuPage Days Infographic

Help DCAS continue to save lives by supporting DuPage Animal Friends. As philanthropic partners, we work together to impact the lives of animals in need, in our community and beyond. 
Click the image to learn how you can help DuPage Animal Friends meet their goal this week for Giving DuPage Days. 

Help Homeless Cats This Season

Kitten season is almost here, and DCAS is looking for feline fosters! 

Types of Cat Fosters Infographic

Introducing Officer Blume

Officer Ashley Blume photo  

Officer Ashley Blume joins the Animal Control Officer team with a wide range of animal experience. A native of DuPage County, Officer Blume developed an early love for animals prompting her to return to school for a Bachelor's in Zoology. She spent five years in Florida as a zookeeper at a wildlife sanctuary where she worked with tigers and other big cats. Officer Blume also worked with Amazon parrots, wolves, and dogs. Returning to Illinois, she continued her work with domestic animals as a volunteer at A.D.O.P.T. and Naperville Humane Society before coming to DCAS.

In her spare time, Officer Blume enjoys horseback riding and reading sci fi/horror stories. Officer Blume is thrilled to be back in her home community to work with local wildlife and community pets. "I am very excited to be able to help our community live together with animals, both inside and outside the home," she said, "I am looking forward to helping DCAS combat that "dog-catcher" stereotype and really show our residents who we are and what we can offer." 

Looking for a Blue-tiful Companion?

Blue the cat

We could talk until we're Blue in the face about the importance of cat communication. This is especially true when it comes to respecting our feline friend's personal boundaries. Cats are 3 times more sensitive to touch than we are, so even light pets can get overwhelming very quickly. Our cats will tolerate a lot from us, but forcing unwanted interactions doesn't make US very good friends. Here's a simple way to check if your feline friend is enjoying those snuggles: pause in between pets and wait for your cat to initiate the next contact. Sometimes our cats are happiest just being near their favorite people, no touching needed! 

Blue could tell you a few things about what he likes, just ask him! This talkative boy has a few strikes against him: he's a black cat in his elderly years, but he still has a lot of love to give. He's not a fan of being picked up, but he's down for chilling on the couch for naps with adults and older children who will respect his independent nature. Bring this gentle panther home today! 

On Call with an Officer

Feral Fred the one-eyed cat

Helping Outdoor Cats

Officer Barb Anthony

Feral Fred came to DCAS and absolutely hated the indoor lifestyle. Because of his injured eye, he couldn't be released to his former outdoor territory. We worked with local organization Feral Fixers to find him a home and a job! Now he's living his best life as a barn cat. 

All the info and experts agree, cats do best inside. There are simply too many risks for cats outdoors: disease, predation, car accidents, and parasites. That said, there are cats in our community who would find indoor life too stressful. These cats were not socialized with humans and prefer to keep their space. Also called feral, these community cats can be a blessing or a burden to the neighborhoods they live in. If you have noticed the same cats wandering outside, here are some tips for making sure they are getting the care they need:

  • Talk to your neighbors to see if anyone is providing food or shelter
  • Contact Feral Fixers for care resources: www.feralfixers.org/ 
  • Trap/Neuter/Release is the most humane way to keep feral cat populations under control
  • Don't Kitten-nap! Kittens do best with their mom until old enough to be socialized. If you find a kitten on its own, mom may be out getting food. Give mom a chance to come back and monitor the kitten for signs of distress. Speak with a rescue organization before bringing in a kitten. 

Click Feral Fred's picture to get more information on how you can help community cats. 

Upcoming Events

Cat at computer

Join us at 7pm select Thursday nights all year long! Follow the links provided to register. 

Fostering Success – May 5, 2022 7pm-8pm

Fostering an animal is very rewarding. It can also be tough. Get advice on how to set your foster animal up for success. Learn about decompression, common stress signs, and how to introduce the new animal into your home.

Registration Link: https://bit.ly/3Kfq9FG  


Caring for Senior Pets – May 19, 2022 7pm-8pm

Has your pet become a sweet old lady or a grumpy old man? Either way, senior pets need special care from their owners. We’ll discuss behavior needs, home modifications, medical warning signs, and more.

Registration Link: https://bit.ly/3CcrXwj

Kitten Shower  

Kitten Shower – May 20, 2022 5pm-7pm

We're expecting! It's almost kitten season and we are gearing up to care for homeless kittens and get them ready for adoption.

Interested in helping homeless kittens? Learn about the different types of fostering or drop off a gift from our wish list and receive a fun thank you. Click the image to view our wish list.  

Location: DuPage County Animal Services