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Ask a Vet: How to avoid inappropriate urination
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This past April, I was lucky enough to attend the first opening night in Wrigley Field history. As a long-suffering Cubs fan — I played second base when Ryne Sandberg was the best second baseman — this was a dream come true.

Then the dream turned into a nightmare. Or it was similar to having a nice dream, and then a homicidal clown with your first-grade teacher’s face showed up.

First, it’s cold in April in Chicago. I prepared myself mentally, but apparently the rest of my body wasn’t on board.

Next, a bathroom situation happened.

For some reason, some bathrooms weren’t available because of construction. Then about half of the remaining bathrooms stopped working. Perhaps the Cubs angered the toilet gods in addition to that billy goat so long ago.

Thus, the demand for potty spots stayed constant, but the supply suddenly dwindled. It left many baseball fans exhibiting what we veterinarians call “inappropriate urination.”

Inappropriate urination is used to describe urination outside of the desired area. Your cat uses the rug instead of the litter box. Your dog uses the bed instead of the yard. Your neighbor in section 103, who you’ve never met before, uses an empty beer cup.

Inappropriate indeed. But somewhat understandable, although certainly not desirable. And almost always there’s an explanation.

To give the allegory to Wrigley’s snafu, imagine your cat’s litter box. Perhaps your cat was happy with it as a kitten, but now it hardly fits. Or maybe the box is too tall and your elderly cat’s joints hurt to enter it.

Or maybe the box is dirty. Most of us have entered a public bathroom at one point and known instantly by the smell we should find somewhere else to use the restroom. Your cat may be the same.

So try to empathize if urination goes astray. Making the bathroom access more hospitable is important.

If the problem persists, seek medical help. A clean, available bathroom still won’t help a urinary tract infection or diabetes.

And above all else, avoid Wrigley Field’s misstep.

Matthew Sisk is a practicing veterinarian from Habersham County. Have questions about your pet? He can be reached at

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