A lesson about getting a veterinarian’s second opinion before surrendering your cat

I don’t know much about this first case of inappropriate elimination in this article but I feel it is important to report it. The story comes from Quora.com and the first posting is from a person who asks, “Should I get rid of my cat?”

The owner, in exasperation, was asking Quora.com users about what to do next because she had loved her cat for six years and there were no problems. And then suddenly her beloved cat started to pee on this person’s bed and they couldn’t stop it. They tried everything. She considered surrendering her cat to a shelter, I guess.

We don’t know how the story ended but a person intervened with their story (and the answer) and they said the following:

We thought our cat had just started peeing anywhere soft because of a behavioral issue, since the vet originally said nothing was wrong and he’s naturally very skittish. He was like that for nearly two years, and we basically gave up on the situation. Took him back to the vet a few months ago and an x-ray showed he had developed a bladder stone a third the size of his bladder and had to have it surgically removed. Since he recovered from surgery, he has not peed anywhere other than the box. Please get her a thorough examination!”


It is a similar story with an answer embedded in it to the question in the first part of this article. The answer is that if a veterinarian says that there is nothing wrong with your cat despite the fact that they are peeing around the home and despite the fact that you sense something is wrong, you don’t get rid of your cat having given up trying to cure the problem, you take your cat to another veterinarian and ask for another diagnosis.

Dean who was misdiagnosed by one vet as being in good health but another vet diagnosed a large bladder stone causing him to urinate outside the litter box
Dean who was misdiagnosed by one vet as being in good health but another vet diagnosed a large bladder stone causing him to urinate outside the litter box. Image: Quora.com user: Anna Welliver (believed).
Until September 7th I will give 10 cents to an animal charity for every comment. It is a way to help animal welfare without much effort at no cost. Comments help this website too, which is about animal welfare.

This worked out I have to say predictably because an x-ray showed that Dean, the cat that was peeing for two years inside the home without finding a solution/reason, had a “bladder stone a third of the size of his bladder” (enormous in other words). It was surgically removed and since that magical moment Dean has not peed anywhere other than inside the litter tray.

The advice from this person is, “Please get her a thorough examination!” Some vets are better than others and some are great and other are not. Experience counts. See a vet who’s qualified for at least 10 years.

One can understand the exasperation and frustration inside a home where a cat is peeing everywhere except in the litter box because of an illness which has gone undiagnosed. The answer is not to presume that the cat has a behavioural problem which has been missed but it is more likely that the cat’s illness has been misdiagnosed.

I have presumed that in this instance all the boxes have been picked regarding cat (and human!) behavioural problems. There are two issues involved here: health and behavioural issues, caused by stress. Both should be tackled perhaps simultaneously. The stress comes from the human as they are responsible for the environment.

In the story above the problem was not one caused by stress and therefore behavioural but a health problem. That’s the first thing to do is to check health but I would suggest assessing the possible dual causes of peeing outside the litter box simultaneously.

It’ll be one or the other or both but when a cat pees outside litter box because of stress it is not strictly speaking urinating but spraying to mark territory. I guess you know that. When a cat urinates because of a bladder health problem either a stone or an infection (cystitis), it will be urination forced upon the cat as the desire to urinate is uncontrollable.

RELATED: 6 tips on cat inappropriate elimination (infographic)

3 thoughts on “A lesson about getting a veterinarian’s second opinion before surrendering your cat”

  1. Poor Dean was doing his best to tell them something was wrong. Animals can’t talk so they do things from their normal behavior.
    Although I did rehome one neutered male cat who peed on the new owners bed on day one by day 3 they brought him back. He never once peed in the bed or anywhere in the house. He was only mad at me a few days after returning home.

  2. Excellent topic. Pro-advocate for your felines and yourself. If you have experienced anything that leaves you feeling a bit queasy, it is time for open communication. If that doesn’t leave you feeling satisfied, time to do your research and find a new veterinarian…

    • I am pleased you agree with this. I am about to write another article on vet second opinions as I think it is an important topic. How many vets make a misdiagnosis! It would be nice to know how many misdiagnoses are made. A lot is my opinion. Hope you are keeping well, Caroline.


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