Hi, I’m Dr. Fiona Caldwell and I’m a practicing veterinarian at Idaho Veterinary Hospital. I’m at home today answering questions from Pets Best Facebook page
The first question comes from Chrissy. She asks, “My 14-year-old female cat suddenly started peeing on the bathmat and anything in the bathroom about three months ago. She sometimes pees on the puppy’s rest blankie and potty grass. Is this behavioral or medical? It’s not constant; she uses her litter box, too.”
This is a great question and one of the probably more frustrating things about owning cats. I do think it’s important for you to make an appointment with your veterinarian to rule out a medical cause for her inappropriate urination, such as a urinary tract infection or even something more serious, like stones.
Once that’s been ruled out, then you’ve got a behavioral issue. It sounds like you’ve got a new baby in the house. That could possibly be a trigger for her inappropriate urination. Your veterinarian might suggest feline pheromones. Cats are actually really quite sensitive to pheromones and they have a calming effect. It sounds kind of hokey but some people swear that they work really pretty well.
Make sure you’ve got litter boxes in more than one area of the house so that she doesn’t feel like she doesn’t have a place to go. Make sure there’s privacy. Sometimes cats are finicky about the location or even the type of litter. Make sure you haven’t changed the type of litter or suddenly gone from an open litter box to a covered litter box. These are all little things that can sometimes make cats not want to use their box as much.
The next question comes from Emily and she asks, “My 1½-year-old male neutered Shih Tzu get hiccups a couple times a day ever since he was a puppy. What causes this and is there anything I can do to eliminate these hiccup spells for him?”
I love this question. It’s a great question. Puppies do get a lot of hiccups. Hiccups are from irritation to the phrenic nerve, which is the nerve that innervates the diaphragm. No one really knows exactly what it is about puppies that makes them have this irritation, but most outgrow it, usually by about 18 months of age, which is right about where you’re at with your Shih Tzu.
I would venture to say in the next couple of months you’ll probably be seeing less and less hiccups. There’s probably not much you can do to help shorten the duration of the hiccups, but know that they’re not harmful to him and they’re not painful, and they will go away.