Cats are creatures of habit, and so, when your cat starts to act a bit abnormally there may be cause for some concern. If you have a cat that is usually passive and are starting to see an aggressive side, especially when he/she visits the litter box, it may be bladder stones. Here are a few signs to look out for.

Look at the Urine

Your cat will most likely have a place that it urinates frequently. If your cat starts to urinate in unusual places, this may be a sign of stones. However, this is not definitive. It could be that your cat is just trying to expand his or her “boundaries,” in which case you would need to re-establish the boundaries with your pet. When inspecting the urine, look for signs of blood. If you note that there is blood, this is an indicator that your cat has bladder stones (or at minimum a UTI).

Genital Licking

It is common for cats to clean themselves frequently. According to webvet, a cat can spend up to 50% of its waking life grooming. Just because your cat has increased his or her grooming frequency is not a cause for alarm. When your cat abandons full body licking and grooming, and starts to focus, primarily, on grooming or licking the genital area, this is cause for concern. Cats that increase grooming in this area should be restricted, if possible, as constant licking can cause additional irritation and rawness.

Visible Straining to Urinate

WebMD states that one of the signs of bladder stones in cats is straining to urinate. Again, your cat is probably a creature of habit and has certain times and areas where it urinates. Observe your cat to see if it appears to be in pain or is straining to urinate. If so, increase the water content in your cat’s diet and see if that fixes the problem. It could be a case of dehydration. However, you should note that any disturbance to your cat’s regular routine can be an indicator of a bigger problem. Also, look for painful urination (cat cries out when urinating), urine spraying, and an increase in your pet needing to urinate.

What to Do if  You Think Your Pet Has Bladder Stones

If your cat has the symptoms of a bladder stone, you should take them to a veterinarian. Where there are sources that state your cat may pass the stone on his or her own, I would state this: You would not want to just wait it out, so your cat should not have to either. What you can do is minimize the calcium in your cat’s diet (lower the milk content and increase water). A vet may prescribe a specialized diet, flush the track, or (depending on the severity of the stones) opt for surgery.