By Dr. John De Jong / Ask the Vet | Sunday, July 22, 2012 | | Lifestyle

Dear Dr. John,

I’m almost at wits’ end with my cat that now has me trying to figure out if I can keep him anymore. He is 5 years old and pretty much a house cat that got outside a few times earlier this spring and last year as well. Last year he had really bad teeth and gums and eventually our vet suggested that we remove most of his teeth, which we did. Since then he has had a healthy mouth.

The problem now is that he is going to the bathroom on the couch and I cannot figure out why. The other day I thought I saw some blood in his bowel movement. Crazily, he now also has fleas and I cannot figure out how he got them since he stays inside. Perhaps they come into our screened porch. What should I do? Help.

— B.P.

Dear B.P.,

Cats void inappropriately in a home usually because of an emotional issue. Do you clean the litter box daily? You may need to get a second litter box, too.

Has anything happened around the home or in the neighborhood? The fact that you saw blood in his bowel movement might mean there is an underlying issue that needs to be addressed, so I would have a thorough examination done by your veterinarian. He could have a parasite. Flea season is starting to kick into high gear. That might well be the reason he is upset and possibly using your couch as his bathroom. I would make sure you use a good flea and tick repellent on the cat, treat the house with a spray or flea bomb, and see what happens.

Last but not least, you need to know that fleas are the vector for tapeworm and he may need to be de-wormed. I hope you will find a solution and be able to keep your cat, because a shelter might have trouble placing an animal with voiding issues and the end result might not be what you want. Good luck!

John de Jong, D.V.M., is owner/ operator of Boston Mobile Veterinary Clinic and partner/chief of staff at Neponset Animal Hospital.

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