For all cats, but especially senior cats, that present with elimination issues, a thorough diagnostic evaluation is recommended. Disorders that result in polyuria or polydipsia such as diabetes mellitus, chronic kidney disease, and hyperthyroidism can lead to elimination behaviors. If the cat is defecating outside the litter box, a fecal score should be obtained and recorded to help follow potential trends and guide diagnostic and therapeutic approaches.25,26 Veterinarians should discuss other potential problems such as DJD that can lead to elimination problems in senior cats. Litter boxes should be easily accessible. Cats with mobility issues may need a lower litter box height, with the box placed close to their core areas. Avoiding the need to climb stairs can be beneficial.
Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health USA Inc., CareCredit, Dechra Veterinary Products, IDEXX Laboratories, Inc., Merck Animal Health, and Zoetis Petcare supported the development of the 2021 AAHA/AAFP Feline Life Stage Guidelines and resources through an educational grant to AAHA.