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Cat unsure of the litter box

The essentials

  • Both male and female cats can benefit from diapers — Diapers for male cats are sometimes called stud pants, while diapers for female cats are called queen pants.
  • Elderly cats might experience incontinence — This can be due to health issues such as urinary tract infections or kidney problems.
  • Both disposable and washable cat diapers are easy to find — Deciding on the best option will depend on your cat’s size and the reason they need a diaper.

Can cats wear diapers?

Using a litter box comes naturally to many indoor cats. However, sometimes a medical or behavioral issue can lead your kitty to go elsewhere in your home. This can be challenging for pet owners to understand and eventually resolve, but pet diapers are a reliable option in many circumstances.

Reasons cats wear diapers

Senior cats. Aging and senior cats often experience incontinence or frequent urination as a result of diabetes or kidney disease. Additionally, more than half of cats between the ages of 11 and 15 and 80% of cats aged 16 to 20 experience feline cognitive dysfunction (FCD). Some symptoms are changes in your cat’s behavior, blindness, memory loss or dementia, and hearing loss. Older cats with FCD may forget where their litter box is located and begin to go elsewhere.

Immobile or paralyzed pets. Cats with mobility issues like severe arthritis may struggle to use a normal litter box. While there are handicap boxes for senior or immobile cats, long-term diaper use is also a viable option.

Female cats in heat. Female cats often reach sexual maturity around 6 months old. After this, if they remain unspayed, they will experience an estrous, or heat cycle, during the breeding season. This cycle lasts about six days on average. During this time, you might notice your cat doing things they wouldn’t normally do, like spraying. Some cats will spray to emit hormones that are meant to attract a mate.

Kitties that spray. Spraying describes a cat’s emission of urine on a vertical surface and is not always linked to your cat’s heat cycle. This behavior could be related to anxiety due to environmental factors. Introducing a new pet, family member, or even rearranging furniture in your home can heighten your cat’s stress level. Spraying as a response is often seen in male cats that aren’t neutered; however, about 10% of neutered male cats will continue to spray or “mark.”

For inappropriate elimination. This is a behavioral issue — not something medical — and refers to when your cat chooses to go outside their litter box. Some cats will choose a place to go again and again, which is your first clue that they’re likely avoiding their litter box for some reason. Perhaps the box is difficult to access, too small, or has not been properly cleaned. It’s important that you work with your vet to understand why your cat might be avoiding their litter box and address the underlying cause.

Felines on certain medications. Steroids including corticosteroids can cause increased thirst and therefore frequent urination. This can lead to accidents. Your vet may recommend your pet wear a diaper temporarily as they finish a round of medication.

Medical causes of urinary issues in cats 

Some urinary issues can be life-threatening. A few of the most serious urinary issues in cats include the following:

Bladder infections. Recurrent bladder infections are sometimes called feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD). If your cat is urinating more often than normal, urinating outside their litter box, or you notice blood in their urine, they might have FLUTD. In some cases, your cat may have bladder stones. This occurs when a build-up of minerals forms in your cat’s urinary tract and may require surgery.

Long-term medical conditions. The diagnosis of a health condition such as diabetes or kidney disease can affect how often your cat needs to urinate. Your vet is your best resource when it comes to determining what might be impacting your pet’s bathroom habits.

Urinary blockages. If your cat is getting in and out of their little box but producing little or no urine, they might have a blockage in their urethra. This is most common in male cats since their urethra is narrow. The blockage can be due to urinary stones, mucus, or inflammation and should be diagnosed by your vet immediately.

🚨 If your cat is straining or struggling to urinate, something serious and potentially life-threatening could be going on. Head to your vet ASAP to get your pet checked out.

The best diapers to try 

If your vet recommends a diaper for your feline friend, here are a few of our favorite options to try.

Best machine washable option

Best disposable option

How to put a diaper on a cat 

It will likely be difficult the first few times you put a diaper on your cat. But with patience and perhaps a few treats, both you and your cat will get the hang of this new accessory. Follow these steps whether you’re using a washable or disposable diaper:

  1. Put your cat’s tail through the tail opening at the back of the diaper
  2. The long end goes on your cat’s belly, while the shorter end comes up the back
  3. Pull each side forward, meeting each side together at the waist above your cat’s hind legs
  4. Clasp or snap together the fixtures on both sides

Additional items to try

These are things pet parents might want to use in addition to or instead of a cat diaper.

  • Diaper harness. This is a device used to keep the diaper in place. It attaches to the diaper and often has buckles and straps that wrap around your cat’s front legs to stay secure.
  • Belly wrap bands. This is a piece of fabric that covers only the front of your cat. If your kitty is spraying or marking, they can wear this and still poop as normal.
  • Onesies. Some pet parents find that using a cat onesie over their pet’s diaper will ensure their kitty can’t take it off or claw at it. They tend to make for easy diaper changes, too, since most have snaps at the bottom.

Frequently asked questions

Can cats wear diapers?

Absolutely. They are especially helpful for cats with health issues that cause incontinence. They can also be a simple solution for female cats in heat. Some of the most common types of diapers are washable, reusable options and disposable diapers.

When should a cat wear a diaper?

Depending on your cat’s situation, diapers may be suited for long- or short-term use. Speak with your vet about what might be best for your cat.

What diapers are best for older cats?

If your older cat is experiencing incontinence due to age or cognitive dysfunction, it’s likely they will need to wear a diaper long term. In this case, a washable, reusable diaper is likely their best option.

Can cats defecate with a diaper on?

Yes, although there will be different outcomes depending on which diaper your cat is wearing. Some diapers, including belly bands, do not cover your cat’s behind, so they can empty their bowels as normal while wearing one.

Can I use a diaper on a cat that sprays?

Yes, diapers can be used on both male and female cats that spray or mark.

Can I put dog diapers on my cat?

Yes, you can! Many diapers on the market are made for both cats and dogs.

Can I put baby diapers on my cat?

While you could, we suggest purchasing a version specifically made for pets, which will have a pre-cut tail-hole and ensure the best fit for your cat.