Kittens learn to use the litter box from their mothers or owners. But what happens when a potty-trained cat starts having accidents because of old age or a medical condition? In this article, we will talk about cat diapers.
Cat diapers are a largely misunderstood pet care product. While not a substitute for proper litter training, pet diapers are helpful for overcoming temporary ailments or solving long-term health issues.
Read on to see how cat diapers can make your life easier and your cat’s life more comfortable. We will talk about the different types of diapers and situations that indicate their use. We will also review some reliable cat diaper products.
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Can a Cat Wear a Diaper?
Yes, cats can wear diapers. However, most cats will need some adjustment time as wearing diapers is not natural for them. After all, cats have many anti-diaper weapons such as paws and claws, sharp teeth, and tenacious (destructive) minds. However, the good news is, with time and patience, you can teach your cat to wear diapers.
When Should I Use Cat Diapers?
There are many health conditions and situations in which cat diapers may be needed, including female cat spraying, cat urinary incontinence, cat bladder infection, and more. Some are transient and need diapers for a limited time frame (post-surgery recoveries), while others are permanent (mobility issues), thus yielding permanent diaper use.
We’ve listed below the most common reasons for putting diapers on cats.
Female Cat Spraying. For many kitty owners, it comes as a surprise when cats start to urine spray around the house. However, the behavior is quite common and usually linked with stress and anxiety issues. Feline anxiety can be the result of an absent owner, bothersome neighbors, a new pet in the home, or a cat-unfriendly dog having access to the house.
Cat Urinary Incontinence. Causes of urinary incontinence may include (but are not limited to) birth defects, obesity, diabetes, specifically situated lesions, and tumors. The telltale signs and symptoms of cat incontinence include dribbles on the floor and furniture; skin irritation in the genital area; constantly moist lower belly region; and involuntary urine leaks.
Senior Cats. We all know that the body stops working as effectively with age, and accidents can happen as a kitty gets into its golden years. Some age-related issues like incontinence and dementia are directly linked with inappropriate urination, while others, such as blindness and arthritis, physically prevent the senior cat from using the litter box.
Diabetes or Kidney Disease. The incidence of diabetes in cats is alarmingly increasing, while chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a widespread condition among older felines. In both cases, there is an increased water intake and consequently a more intense urge to visit the litter box. However, accidents outside the litter box are pretty standard.
Bladder Infection. The most common reasons for bladder infections (cystitis) and urinary tract infections (UTIs) in cats are general are bladder stones or uroliths. Signs and symptoms indicating such infections are frequent urination (pollakiuria), inability or straining to urinate, painful urination, accidents around the house, and passing blood-tainted urine.
Different Types of Cat Diapers
Cat diapers do not come in quite as many variations as the kitties themselves, but the options do cater to many situations and individual needs. These are the main types of diapers for cats:
- Washable Diapers. Cloth diapers are typically machine washable and reusable. They have inner pockets for inserting super absorbent liners and washable or disposable pads. In the long run, these are better value and eco-friendly but require maintenance.
- Disposable Diapers. As the name suggests, you just use and then toss these disposable diapers. They are extra efficient and highly absorbent. However, they are expensive and usually used for short-term purposes and temporary conditions.
These are the main types of diapers for cats. However, there are additional products that can be used instead of or in conjunction with cat diapers. For example, you can use:
- Cat Onesies. Designed based on the shape and anatomy of the kitten, the onesie fits snugly. The baby onesie allows wearing disposable or washable pads or baby diapers and is a simple solution to escape ‘cattists’ and shifting absorbent pads.
- Stud Pants or Queen Pants. Stud & Queen pants are an alternative to kitty diapers. As the name implies, stud pants are for male cats, and queen pants are for ladies, but the difference between the two lies solely in the name as they are actually identical.
- Diaper Harness. This helpful product is specifically designed to keep the diaper in its place, or better said, on your cat. They are available in different sizes, colors, and styles. Plus, diaper harnesses are relatively cheap and do not require much maintenance as they are worn on top of the actual diaper.
- Belly Wrap Bands. Although similar to disposable diapers, belly wrap bands do not cover the cat’s butt. Therefore, they make a practical product for cats with urine incontinence, spraying, and similar problems. However, the belly wrap band is not suited for cats with bowel issues.
Finally, if you ran out of pet diapers but have a baby diaper on hand, you can still use it. You just need to make some slight modifications. First, you will have to check if the size fits (the average cat needs a newborn diaper size). With the size confirmed, you should make an opening for the cat’s tail.
To make the tail opening, put the diaper flat open over the cat’s hind legs while standing on all fours and use a pen to mark the tail spot. Then, cut a hole on the marked spot (start small and enlarge the tail-hole if necessary).
Best Washable Cat Diapers
To make things easy for you, we have reviewed the two best washable cat diapers below.
Summary: The Barkertime cat diapers are reliable, fashionable, and available in two options – with and without a tail-hole. Plus, these US-made cat diapers are easy to put on and change as they feature adjustable hook-and-loop tabs.
- Three layers of protection
- Waterproof moisture barrier
- Soft inner layer and fashionable outer layer
- Adjustable hook-and-loop tabs
- Various size options
- Active cats may snuggle out of the diaper
- Heftier price tag than similar products
Review: Cat owners say these diapers are “nicely made” and a “great solution for incontinent pets.” They also say size small is a good fit for most domestic cats. All in all, the Barkertime Cat Diapers are excellent washable diapers.
Summary: From senior cats with mobility issues to cats that cannot hold it while traveling – the BINGPET Diapers are designed to fit various situations. They feature a highly absorbent inner layer and a leak-proof outer layer. This diaper has a velcro across the back to ensure a snuggle fit on your cat and prevent unwanted slips.
- Waterproof and leak-proof design
- Machine washable and machine dry
- Horizontal velcro line for snuggle fit
- Available in different colors and sizes
- Three pieces per pack
- Not suited for overly active cats
- Tricky to use in cats with diarrhea
Review: Happy customers describe the cat diapers as “quality workmanship” with “excellent price.” They also say things like “smart design” and “I will buy this again.” All in all, BINGPET Diapers are reliable and budget-friendly.
Best Disposable Cat Diapers
Washable cat diapers are budget and eco-friendly, but if you opt for convenience, we have you covered. Below is a thorough review of the two best disposable cat diapers available on the market.
Summary: The Vet’s Best Comfort Fit Pet Diapers are practical and extremely easy to use, but they are not eco-friendly, which is why we recommend them for short-term purposes. They feature fur-friendly fasteners, repositionable closures, elastic leak barriers, and most importantly, a wetness indicator telling you it is time for a cat diaper change.
- Highly absorbent core for extra comfort
- Practically positioned tail-hole
- Convenient wetness indicator
- Elastic openings for leakage prevention
- Environment-friendly and biodegradable
- No extra-large size available
- The velcro strip is not very efficient
Review: Satisfied cat owners say the diapers “work wonderfully” and “there is no more pee on the floor.” They also say the diapers are “quite absorbent but pricey.” All in all, the Vet’s Best Comfort Fit Diapers are convenient and efficient.
Summary: The Simple Solution Pet Disposable Diapers are designed with two imperatives in mind – reliability and comfort. They feature a super-absorbent core and leak-proof opening barriers. Plus, the fact they are made of stretchable and elastic fabric allows unimpaired mobility. Last but not least, the fur-friendly fasteners make them perfect for long-haired cats.
- Absorbent core and leak-proof barriers
- Efficient and fur-friendly fasteners
- Elastic fabric for normal mobility
- Properly positioned tail-hole
- Suitable for large and long-haired cats
- Actual sizes may differ from the description
- The tail-hole is the same size in all diapers
Review: Long-term customers advise to “give them a try” as these diapers “seem to do the trick.” They also describe them as “marvelous” but, according to some owners, “too bulky.” All in all, the Simple Solution Diapers are fur-friendly and comfy.
How to Use and Change Diapers for Cats
Cats are notorious for their lack of collaboration, and changing your cat’s diapers can be more than challenging. However, you will get to a manageable point with the right technique, some practice, and lots of patience (on both sides).
Before we explain the technique, we should note that cat diapers come in different sizes. Putting the cat diaper and keeping it on will be much easier if the size is right. To determine the size, just measure your kitty’s waist by placing the measuring tape in front of the hind legs, around its midsection.
Now that you know the best cat diaper brands and how to choose the right size, it is time we go through the technique. Although there are variations among different brands, the general instructions are the same and include the following steps:
- Step Number 1: Start by inserting the cat’s tail through the tail opening in the diaper
- Step Number 2: Pull the diaper up with the long end positioned under the belly
- Step Number 3: Place the short end over the cat’s back and make the two ends meet
- Step Number 4: Snugly wrap the diaper around the cat’s waist or midsection
- Step Number 5: Secure the diaper by adjusting the hook-and-loop tabs or clips
- Step Number 6: Use a baby onesie or diaper harness to make sure the diaper holds.
During the process of putting the diaper on your cat, it is important to be patient and under no circumstance squeeze your cat. Using force can make the cat skeptical and make future diaper use more challenging than they already are.
Keep in mind that the cat diapers need to be changed every couple of hours. When changing the diaper, the cat’s private parts must be cleaner with pet-friendly wipes and in case of rashes treated with antibiotic ointments. It is recommended to shave (or clip short) the diaper area for easier hygiene maintenance.
Our Final Thoughts on Diapers for Cats
Just a quick reminder – cat diapers should not be a long-term consideration if kitty refuses to be litterbox trained. However, they are more than helpful when managing physical and behavioral issues resulting in urine leaks.
We understand that watching your kitty wear diapers and struggle with everyday activities is hard. Still, cat diapers are vital in many situations and will make both your and your cat’s life much easier. Just make sure you find the perfect diapers for your cat’s needs.