The 20 Year Old Senior Cat and His Litter Box Woes

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Let me start by shouting a bit HAPPY 20th BIRTHDAY TO NILES! even though he won’t hear it. The old boy has officially made it to 20 years of life and is still trucking along. He’s slower, needs more frequent oil changes, his radio doesn’t work, and he has a little rust, but he’s still a totally drivable little truck.

On that note, I wanted to talk about his litter issues. For the last year, I’ve been noticing him choosing new and exciting places to pee – the front hall rug, in front of the TV, adjacent to the litter box, in the doggie’s bed. I thought perhaps he’d just given up caring, but I knew that as a fastidious gentleman, there was clearly something else going on, so I looked a little deeper. While I was looking, I surreptitiously slipped some Pee Pads under the rugs and in his favorite spots so as not to embarrass him.

First, I noticed he had a limp. I thought we were going to have to go to the vet until I checked his paws and realized he had a bunch of clumping litter stuck between his toes making it too difficult and painful to walk. After a brief foot bath in a small dish and a lot of screaming and yelling from both of us, his toes were clean and he could walk again. This necessitated a switch of litters to a gentler formula and we went with Shwheat Scoop. It works great for him, though I’m not too happy with the fact that my house frequently smells like litter box – there’s nothing in it, so there’s no smell control. Natural, yes. Fragrant, yes. Pleasant, not so much, but we’ll deal with it for Niles.

Next, I watched him use the box. He turned and spun and squatted, then bumped the sides. He tried again, and turned, and got his head all covered in dust. Then he tried another box and another box, then went back to the first box, then gave up and went back to bed. I realized that the arthritis in his hips was making it difficult to squat. It’s hard to find a large enough litter pan for a cat with these issues, so I went upstairs into my storage and pulled everything out of the under the bed storage container, filled it with Shwheat Scoop, and he was back in business, or doing his business, as it were.

As of late, there have been no new whizzing adventures and he’s faithfully using his storage box. My attic needs a cleaning now, but I’d prefer that instead of the surprise whiz puddles I’ve been stumbling into.

So, for those only scanning, my TIPS FOR A SENIOR CAT’S LITTER BOX ISSUES are:

  • Mind your litter type. Clay litters can get caught in between their toes, especially if they’re accidentally peeing on their own feet, and that can be painful and upsetting. Use something gentle.
  • Have a large enough box that squatting wide isn’t an issue. Use an under bed storage tote or look for one of those dog litter boxes (yup, that’s a thing) with the large surface area and low entry way
  • Keep the box in a place that’s easily accessible. Don’t make him go upstairs, downstairs, or too far away.
  • Pee Pads will become your new friend
Here we have the new litter tote next to the high-sided box that Pinkle requires. Note the pee pads taped to the wall because now Pinkle enjoys the freedom of the tote but can’t seem to color within the lines, so to speak.

And with that, I wish my fabulous senior kitty Niles Chesterfield a happy, happy 20th birthday. He’s been around just about half my life now, and I look forward to having him here for as long as he wishes to stay.

Love,

Alana.

Niles stealth-chillin’ in his little flip out, soft foam bed. I had to put the towel there just to be able to spot him.

**FTC DISCLOSURE: This post was not paid for nor is it an ad. All products mentioned here are things I purchased on my own and all opinions are my own. No reviews were requested from any of the products mentioned. **

Diapers for Dogs and Cats: A Pet Parents®Review

FTC Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Pet Parents®. We were given a sample product as well as financial compensation to review it. All opinions are our own and we only write about products we think our readers should know about. CatInTheFridge.com does not receive any financial compensation from the sales of these products nor are we compensated if you click through to the company’s links.

Dear Readers,

Today, I, Pinkle (also known as Sprinkle), am here to discuss with you a rather heavy topic. You see, there comes a time in some cats’ lives where they need a little extra help. Such a time has come upon my oldest brother Niles. He has, shall we say, been dropping the water balloons where he ought not to be doing so. Pet Parents® noticed our last post about living with a 19 year old cat and approached us about trying out a product to help curb Niles’ urge to, shall we say, leak information about his whereabouts. It seems he’s especially fond of the office carpet, under the piano, and directly in front of the litter box. Alana decided to take them up on the suggestion and accepted – I’ll just come out and say it – Diapers.

Niles has diapers.

I’ll give you a moment to absorb.

Louie absorbing the info, much like a diaper.

Alana discussed the idea with me, as she does all of her ideas, and we, as a team, decided that it would be worth a try. Now, Pet Parents offers diapers that come in sets of three for both cats and dogs, in a variety of colors. They also come in the same package, so don’t be alarmed if you order “Cat” and get “Dog.” They have assured me they are the same product.

pet parents brand dog diapers

“Dog” Diapers. It’s ok. “Cats” aren’t feeling left out, or anything.

I decided that we needed to get some statement diapers to go along with Niles’ dark complexion, and so we ordered the Princess Pack.

pet parents brand diapers

The Princess Colors

Sure, we could have gone with Black or Natural, but where’s the fun in that? And now, let us begin our review:

The Plan: Niles doesn’t ALWAYS pee on the floor, so we decided he wouldn’t always have to wear the diapers. His main M.O. is to pee when Alana is in another room at home, so he will be wearing the diapers at those times.

The Implementation: It was a little hard to get the diapers on Niles and took a team of two (I stepped back so as not to get accidentally wet) but, once they were on, Niles went with the flow. He was able to walk around with them without incident. He napped in them, ate in them, and generally had no mobility problems while wearing them. He did not, however, pee in them. However, he also didn’t pee on the floor, so that’s a win.

Some Concerns: We had a few concerns that the company addressed for us. Here they are, with a response from Pet Parents®:

Q: Have you had any reports of cats refusing to pee BECAUSE they are wearing the diaper?

A: Some pets are hesitant to pee in the diapers, especially if they aren’t used to them quite yet! It can take some getting used to. But to answer your question straight-forward, no, we have not had any reports of this issue from our customers.

Q:  Are there any concerns with cats that they would hold it for overly long periods of time while wearing the diapers?

A: We haven’t heard any negative feedback from our customers on having issues with cats not holding it in for too long, so it has not been a concern – but just like with anything new, it’s important to observe and pay attention to how your pet is reacting to the new adjustment.

Q: Do you recommend any kind of acclimation period of a few minutes a day to get them used to them before leaving them on all day?

A:  It depends on the pet and their initial reaction to the diaper. No one knows their fur-baby better than the owner so just watch their reaction and maybe slowly introduce them to the diaper, if needed.

Q: Are there any safety issues reported with a pet wearing it while you’re not around?
A: We have not had any reported problems of our diapers being a safety hazard as a lot of customers use them specifically for when they are not at home!

Q: What if Niles has to poop?

A: Our diapers are used for fecal situations, as well.

Ah, yes. “Fecal situations.” Use your imaginations for that one, readers.

The Verdict: So far, Niles hasn’t peed in the diapers. It’s a bit hard to get them on him because, while he’s 19, he leaps away like a frightened gazelle when he sees them coming. I, however, am excellent with costuming so you’ll notice I stepped in to assist for a photo op. I will help Alana any time I can.

Me stepping in as the Model du Jour.

Niles isn’t wearing them all day, but they do offer Alana peace of mind for her floors and carpets. However, she wonders (I can read her mind, we are that close) if perhaps, since Niles wees in specific places, would floor pads such as the Pet Parents Pee Pads be a better option for him?

Who are these for: These would be ideal for a cat or dog who is incontinent and leaking without his own knowledge. These would also work for dogs in heat (please spay your dogs, thanks) or who pee from excitement.

Tips: Make sure you get the right size! Measure your dog or cat first. This is imperative to ensure a fabulous fit.

Pros: The Diapers are washable (unlike our carpets) and are super convenient.

Cons: The shame.

Niles refusing to make eye contact.

Do we recommend them? 

Yes! We, do! These diapers are awesome to have on hand for cats (or dogs) who are having incontinence or spraying issues, or if they’re in heat (because their owners are having spaying issues.) They’re really well made, soft, and easy to maintain. We’re super happy to be able to recommend them, especially because it means there are now MORE OPTIONS FOR GETTING SPECIAL NEEDS PETS WITH LITTER BOX ISSUES INTO HOMES, and that is DEFINITELY something we can get behind.

You can visit Pet Parents® online and order cat diapers here. Let us know your thoughts and leave any questions you might have for the company below. We’ll be happy to pass them on.

Love,

Pinkle.

For the prince(ess) in your life.

Bachelorette of the Week: Patches!

Update: It sounds like Patches will be permanently cared for by her foster family! But she still needs some sponsors to help. Read on!

Dear world,

Earlier this week, I brought you a film about Senior pets.  Today, I bring you a senior named Patches.

Patches

Patches

This dear girl spent 19 (that’s right) years in a home that was suddenly no longer able to keep her. Although I don’t have the reasons behind it, my heart can only rest believing that it was because her human could no longer care for herself or some other equally justifiable reason for letting this dear girl go at such a golden age.

Patches has a touch of arthritis and is on thyroid medications. She’s also got the occasional upset tummy, but she’s also old enough to vote, so that counts for something. Currently, Patches is being cared for by a generous, loving foster family with the support of Tabby’s Place in Ringoes, New Jersey, and it sounds like she may be able to stay. Patches is very optimistic.

If you think you could give a bit of extra money and you’d like to help support her financially, you may do so here. She could use a little help with her medical bills. She’s on a fixed income at this point and Caticare isn’t really covering it.

Let’s all send purrs of comfort to Patches. Even though her little body is still doing well, we’re sure her heart could use a little healing.

"Is that my new home coming to get me?" - Patches.

“Is that my new home coming to get me?” – Patches.

Patches sure loves boxes.

Patches sure loves boxes.

Love,

Crepes.