No cat owner likes to have their cat peeing around the house or really anywhere outside the litter tray. In this article we will try to advise you on why your cat might be peeing outside the box, whether a cat diaper might be the solution and how to select the best cat diaper for your cat. We will then give you an overview of the best options on the market so you can select the right option for your cat if you decide to go this route.
Why Does My Cat Pee Outside The Litter Tray?
Generally speaking there are four broad reasons why your cat may be peeing outside their litter tray. These reasons are that they may be incontinent, maybe be ill or recovering from illness, they may be spraying or on heat, or they may have been born with a birth defect.
Incontinence – An incontinent cat will leave trails of urine in different areas, exhibit constantly wet fur between the legs and probably be licking their rear end more than usual. They will also probably smell of ammonia.
Incontinence can be caused by a variety of issues which usually relate to nerve damage or bladder sphincter weakness. Your cat may have had a fall and damage their back resulting in incontinence issues. Age related muscle weakness can cause bladder weakness, or muscle weaknesses resulting from overuse issues caused by conditions such as kidney problems, diabetes or urinary tract infections. Maybe your cat has dementia and simply forgets or is confused as to what to do. A cat diaper can help in these situations.
Spraying/Marking – Spraying cats are marking territory. This is a natural activity. Usually cats will spray outdoors but if your cat sprays indoors this can be a problem. Often when a cat sprays indoors it can be related to stress issues – they can feel the need to assert their territory if they feel vulnerable. A diaper may be a solution until the spraying activity can be reduced.
Female cats that are not neutered will come onto heat. In these situations it is normal for them to leave spots of blood, spray mark and urinate excessively to demonstrate estrus. A diaper can be effective at collecting this blood and urine and reduce the damage from spraying when they are on heat.
Illness/surgery recovery – Maybe your cat has a short term illness like kidney stones that increases difficult urination or is recovering from surgery that has made mobility difficult for a short time and reduced ability to make the litter box. In these situations a diaper can help when kitty gets caught short.
Birth Defects – If your cat has a naturally occuring defect that can’t be remedied by surgery a diaper may be the best option when they kept indoors.
What types of diapers are available for cats?
Now we can see why you might consider a diaper for your cat it is time to look at the possible options available on the market so you van make an informed decision on which type of diaper might best suit your cat’s needs.
Disposables – as the name suggests these are a one use diaper. Typically utilizing an absorbent pad, comes with fixing tapes and elasticated openings. Just bin then after use and you are done. Ideal for cats suffering short term from incontinence issues like those recovering from surgery or other mobility issues.
Reusable cloth – a more environmentally friendly solution for those cats with longer term issues. These cloth diapers are usually machine washable and feature pockets that can take an absorbing liner. If kitty has dementia or a case of permanent incontinence these could be the diaper for you.
Cat pants – these are essentially a set of pants with elasticated leg, belly and tail openings that can be used to hold an absorbent pad or liner in the correct position on your cat. Usually washable and available in a wide variety of stylish designs.
Human Baby Diapers – if all else fails extra small human baby diapers might be the cheapest option for your cat. Obviously they are not ideal as you will have to cut a tail opening bt they are widely available and come in a whole range of options and price levels.
How To Choose?
Size – Most of the pet diapers on the market are marketed to dog owners. Not many diaper options are purely marketed as cat diapers. Most dog diapers come in a range of sizes to suit large dogs down to chihuahuas. As a cat owner you are going to have to look mainly at dog diapers but aim for the extra small and small sizes to suit a cat. To work out which size is most applicable you will need to measure your cat around the waist just in front of the rear legs. Most extra small options start at 4 inch diameter waist measurements.
Washable or disposable – is it worth getting washable diapers if your cat has a short term issue? Disposables are cheaper but you have to keep buying them again and again. Go washable if kitty has long term problems.
Tail Opening – check for a tail opening or you are going to have to make your own! Some brands such as barkers actually make diapers without a tail opening for those cats that have had their tails docked or whose tails have not developed from birth.
Comfort factors – is the diaper going to be comfortable? Is it so bulky that movement might be restricted? Is it like to interfere to a degree that your cat might spend most of its time trying to remove the diaper? Would cat pants be the ideal solution as they are difficult for kitty to remove but then they are difficult to check regularly. These are some factors you will have to consider when you are buying diapers for your cat.
Pet Magasin diapers are one of the most popular options available on the market. Don’t be fooled into thinking these are just for dogs….the extra small and small size options are ideal for average sized cats and larger cats!
These are a machine and hand washable reusable diaper. They feature a waterproof outer lining and an absorbent inner lining – they can be used without absorbing pads but most owners suggest using absorbing pads for best use.
Comfortable to use, many owners find their pet is happy to use these diapers and many suggest their pet doesn’t try to remove them and they don’t become a point of focus.
Diaper is fitted by wrapping around the waist and closing with thick velcro straps. Features a tail opening for comfort. Each pack comes with a set of three so you can easily rotate.
These are a great option for an incontinent cat or an elderly cat with longer term health issues.
PetParents Washable Premium
These are very similar to the Pet Magasin option but are more suitable for smaller cats as the extra small version can be used on cats with a four inch diameter waist. They supply other sizes so even if your cat is larger they will offer a suitable alternative.
Each pack features three diapers for the price and come in three different, conservative, colors – black, grey or rust brown or alternatively a three pack available in black.
These diapers feature a tail opening and wrap around the waist and fit with velcro tabs. The diaper can be machine washed or hand washed and features an absorbent pad which has a waterproof outer lining to prevent leakage.
Leg and tail openings are gently elasticated to help prevent leakage and to ensure a good fit.
Barkertime Cat Diapers
Barkertime cat diapers are the only cat specific diaper on the market – most others are pet or dog diapers. They are offered with or without a tail opening and are made in the USA.
These are an easy to fit machine washable diaper that features a triple layer system. They have a poly cotton outer, soft inner lining and waterproof layer between inner and outer for leak proof security. They can be used as is or you can get liners specifically shaped for use with these diapers.
Unlike other diaper on the market you can get Barkertime diapers in a huge range of colours and patterns to suit every taste.
These are a premium cat diaper suitable for older incontinent cats, cats on heat or cats that spray and mark.
Vets best comfort diapers come in four different sizes. The size we are interested in is the extra small option. This is suitable for most cats (but check the measurements – these are suitable for cats with a waist measurement of 12.5 to 16.5 inches).
These are a disposable diaper and feature a wetness indicator so you can tell when to change, a tail hole ready positioned for easy fitting and fur friendly attachment tags for convenient fitting. They feature a super absorbent core and elasticated opening to prevent leaks.
Each pack comes with 12 diapers and a pack could be considered to be a medium price compared to other options.
The bad news is that reviews are very hit and miss. Quality issues, sizing issues and price fluctuations mean these diapers appear to attract a number of negative reviews that can’t be ignored. In a slim market with few options these are probably amongst the options to avoid…..
Paw Inspired Ultimate Protection Disposable Diapers – 32 pack
These are the only other disposable diaper on our list and it is fair to say they do better than the Vets best discussed above! Again, these are marketed to dog owners but the extra small size bracket for toy dogs should be suitable for most grown cats.
These are a fairly normal absorbent diaper – they have a tail hole, super absorbent gel pad, elasticated opening and easy fit tabs – all pretty standard.You get a good pack size for the price. The difference with these is all in the user reviews.
These diapers score really well. There simply aren’t many/any negatives doing the rounds on these and there are hundreds of reviews so they are doing something right. Here is what it is – these are super absorbent, no leakage and they stay on good – even when cat owners review! Sounds to me like these do what they say on the tin and people are happy with the result. If a disposable is required this should be your first stop.
In the machine washable/reusable category it really is a close run thing. There are a number of options available all of which perform well. Spoilt for choice – but when push comes to shove we would opt for the Bakertime Cat Diapers because they are genuinely designed for cats and owners love them. Oh, and you get a funky range of designs and colors which kinda floats my boat!
If disposables are your go to option then really you got one serious option and that is the Paw Inspired option. Great reviews mean you should have trouble free use out of this option. Other pet disposables simply have to many inconsistencies and issues. If disposables are your favoured option it might be worth buying baby diapers and altering to suit – that way you might save a bit of cash and still get a decent result!