Pandora Syndrome In Cats: Not as much fun as you might think!

Feline urinary tract disease is often coupled with multiple health problems. Recent research has shown stress may be a contributing factor to feline urinary problems, in what has been called “Pandora Syndrome”. Dr. Tony Buffington, emeritus professor of veterinary clinical sciences at the Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine coined the term in his paper “Idiopathic Cystitis in domestic Cats – Beyond the Lower Urinary Tract”, published in the Journal of Feline Medicine. This 2011 study found that stress has a significant impact on lower urinary tract health. The research confirms, environmental modification is an important part of the solution.

Here are some treatment and prevention ideas:

  • Litter boxes need to be kept meticulously clean

  • Guardians need to be aware of managing their own stress levels because cats pick up on human stress

  • Keeping your cat’s routine consistent – the study found that cats reacted with flare-ups with minor changes, such as a switch in the person who feeds them.

  • Prey play sessions – at least 10 minutes every day

  • Affection – spend more time with your cat, cuddling, grooming, petting

Having more than one cat in a household presents additional stress.

In these instances environmental considerations should include:

  • Plenty of resources – multiples of litter boxes, food and water bowls spread out in the home

  • Plenty of vertical space – cat trees, shelves, etc. will help lessen territorial aggression

  • Hiding spaces – cubes, tunnels covered beds, boxes, etc.

If your cat is having reoccurring urinary issues along with some other confusing health problems, stress may be the underlying cause. Check out the blogs on this site for information on how to reduce stress, and consider contacting me for a behavior consult.



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