Out of left field: Ideas for owners of older, incontinent cats

And now, for something completely different.

My cat is 14 years old, her kidneys are starting to go,  and she’s leaky (she doesn’t fail to use the litter box–she’ll be snuggled up to me on the couch and just leak about a teaspoon of urine). My own search didn’t yield all that much help in terms of how to keep my house from reeking, so figuring out the most efficient way to keep things clean was a learning process. Most of the traffic to my blog comes from internet searches to posts that are about something specific, so I’ll share how I deal with it:

(1) Obviously, go to the doctor. I took her months ago because I was concerned about diabetes. Her kidneys are starting to go, so we’re just going to monitor her more closely.

(2) Another duh, but make sure your older cat is on a food for older cats. I hadn’t even thought about it, because my other cat was FeLV+, so he didn’t have a long life expectancy. I switched her from Wellness Core dry food to Nutro Indoor Senior dry food and from Wellness chicken canned food to Nutro senior canned food over a period of 2-4 weeks.

(3) One more “duh”: Add a litter box. They say have one for each cat plus one, but I got away with two boxes for two cats and then one box for one cat. I have her old litter–Yesterday’s News–upstairs, but she never liked standing in it. I thought maybe she was going outside the litter box because she was having trouble “perching” on the side of the litter box, so I added a box downstairs with unscented “sand” litter. (She likes it, and I like it because I can better monitor her output with this litter, but she still perches).

(4) You need Nature’s Miracle for urine on carpet.

(5) You need a big container of vinegar for laundry. Anything that has urine on it gets soaked in detergent and vinegar (I just pour some in…maybe half a cup? No idea).

(6) Anything your cat lounges on that can’t be just thrown in the wash needs to be covered with things that can be thrown in the wash: cat bed, couch, your bed, favorite spots in the sun.

At first, I covered the couch with a layer of towel and then a blanket, but then I went with something waterproof and thin:

(7) Buy incontinence (washable “chux”) pad, such as these: https://www.amazon.com/Sofnit-Washable-Underpad-34×36-Pack/dp/B000FED594/ref=sr_1_5_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1475511895&sr=8-5&keywords=incontinence+pads

I also got one of these: https://www.amazon.com/Premium-Quality-Waterproof-Reusable-Washable/dp/B00MWJEQZ2/ref=pd_bxgy_121_img_3?ie=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=0P0M5HFFJFGR1Q64Z6ZD

I have two of these on my sofa covered up with a blanket. Her cat bed has one of these with a thin blanket or towel over it. I end up washing these things every day, but the pads don’t take up much room.

I had one over my quilt in my bedroom, but she stopped sleeping with me, so now I just keep a thin, flannel blanket over my quilt.

(8) Go around every evening and “sniff test” everything to get your laundry gathered up all at once.

(9) Don’t forget to check your clothes. My pants often get smelly if she’s been snuggled up to me.

(10) Include kitty in your sniff test. I bought some kitty wipes, but she tolerates me wiping her down with a warm, damp washcloth with a little Dr. Bronner’s soap on it (just don’t use tea tree or a citrus scent–cats don’t like that), and it really works. I do it once a day unless she doesn’t have any smell at all on her.

(11) Unscented clumping litter STINKS. My downstairs bathroom smells awful, but I’m going to work on it. I wash everything with bleach once or twice a week, but it still reeks. I don’t want to use scented stuff and have her licking it off of her, so I’m experimenting with air freshener. I don’t like the chemically stuff or sprays (again, I don’t want my kid or cat getting residue on themselves), so I ordered a reed diffuser. I think incense or palo santo would help, too.

(12) If you have a friend who you’re comfortable asking, ask him or her to give you feedback on the smell of your house just as he or she is walking in the door with “fresh” nostrils.

(13) When you have to clean up or do an extra load of laundry, don’t think about it. Don’t even sigh. Just do it–think about something else while you’re doing it. You will get used to the routine, and the extra work will just become a normal part of your day.

(14) Give you cat lots of love and affection. Your kitty is still here, happy and healthy. It’s worth it.

I got this feeling that I’m going to lose my old girl by next summer, so I’m savoring every moment I have with her. If I’m right, I’m lucky that I had the foresight to be able to do this. If I’m wrong, then I get extra time with her.




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