Feline inappropriate elimination is a common behavioral problem reported to veterinarians, accounting for approximately 50% of all behavioral referrals. At least 10% of all cats will develop elimination problems in their lifetime. Unfortunately, it is also a leading reason for relinquishment of cats. Elimination problems can develop as a result of conflict between multiple cats in a home, a dislike for the litter-box type or the litter itself, as a result of a past or present medical condition, or a more complex issue of perceived inefficiencies within their environment. In this post, we will review some of the most common causes for inappropriate urination, and some steps to help correct the problem. We can often categorize the underlying causes in to four main groups including Medical, Litter Box Aversion, Territorial, and Attraction to Another Location.
SPAH does offer an In-home Environmental and Behavioral Assessment, with Dr. Elise Hattingh, to evaluate your cats environment and relationships in order to maximize feelings of security, and therefore, eliminate marking.
Urinary issues are very common in cats, and inappropriate urination can be so frustrating to cat owners that it leads some to consider rehoming their cats. Before you go down this road, you should know that there’s hope for your kitty. Not only can you learn how to best deal with urinary problems in your cat, but you can find out how to prevent some urinary issues in the first place.
A cat urinates outside its litter box for one of two general reasons: a medical problem or a behavioral issue. If your vet determines that your cat‘s urine contains blood, but there are no crystals, bacteria or stones present, the likely diagnosis will be idiopathic cystitis.
Idiopathic cystitis is usually treated with a combination of diet change and environmental enrichment. If your cat has been drinking more, or you have been finding yourself needing to clean the litter box more often, your veterinarian may want to run some blood work to check for these issues. It’s a good idea to have your vet order comprehensive lab work to look for a health issue if none is found during the initial exam or urinalysis.
Lab work can reveal serious health problems like diabetes or kidney disease, allowing your vet to begin treatment immediately. If old urine odors remain in your home, there’s a very good chance your cat is returning to the area because of the smell. If your cat is peeing everywhere and you’ve ruled out medical issues, then it’s time to reassess your litter boxes.
Add plenty of vertical space and feline enrichment to make your cat‘s environment optimal.
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The reason some cats like to pee in plants is because dirt is soft and feels nice under their paws. Book an appointment ASAP if your cat is peeing and/or pooping on your bed, pillow or other personal items.
Its hard not to take it personally when your cat pees on your most expensive shoes or on your favorite piece of furniture, but seriously, theyre not trying to spite you! Something is wrong with them physically or something is off about their environment and they feel threatened, encroached upon, powerless, neglected or scared.
Feline inappropriate urination (urinating in the wrong place) is a common issue for cat owners. It often involves the cat urinating outside their litter box in an inappropriate area or on an inappropriate object. The causes are generally medical or behavioural in origin.
Age-related brain function decline and hormonal disorders such as diabetes, may also lead to changes in urination habits. Frustration, stress, or anxiety can sometimes cause a cat to change their urinating habits.
Territorial marking may be considered part of normal behaviour and can be triggered by the presence or odour of another cat. Cats also prefer to urinate in private, so placing the tray in a quiet area away from any household traffic and noise can help.
If your cat is peeing inappropriately, the first step is to visit your veterinarian. The vet will do a physical exam of your cat and check a urine sample. Based on the results, your vet will recommend treatment. There a number of common urinary medical issues in cats:When one or more urinary issues are chronic, the condition is typically calledUrinary problems can lead to a serious, urinary obstruction, especially in male cats. If your cat is experiencing urinary issues, don’t delay the trip to the vet. If your cat is posturing to urinate and little or no urine is coming out, your cat might have a blockage or partial obstruction. In this case, get your cat to a vet immediately as this condition can quickly become life-threatening.In some cases, inappropriate urination occurs when a cat has a nonurinary health problem. Your cat may be peeing outside the box because of pain or discomfort elsewhere in the body. It’s a good idea to have your vet order comprehensive lab work to look for a health issue if none is found during the initial exam or urinalysis. Lab work can reveal serious health problems like diabetes or kidney disease, allowing your vet to begin treatment immediately.
Dirty Litter Box
Cats are particular about their toilets. The litter box may simply be too dirty for your cat. Or it may be perfectly clean but otherwise uncomfortable to use. For example, the box may be too small for your cat to use comfortably. Or it may be in a location that your cat doesn’t like. If it’s covered, this may bother your cat. Perhaps the litter has a strong scent or an annoying feel on your cat‘s paws. Cat‘s like choice so too few litter boxes can also be an issue.
Your cat may be trying to tell you it’s stressed out at home. It may be unhappy with another animal in the household and is marking its territory to send a message to the other animal. Or your cat may sense that it’s too dangerous to access the litter box if the other animal is out and about. Your cat may also “act out” if there is a new human in the home.Cats are sensitive to the smallest of changes in their environments. No matter what the source of the stress is, make sure your cat has a quiet place where it can getaway. The new animal or human should not have access to this place of refuge.
Old Urine Smells
If your cat has peed in an area, the smell might remain even after you clean up the accident. A cat‘s sense of smell is much better than yours. If old urine odors remain in your home, there’s a very good chance your cat is returning to the area because of the smell.
Your Cat Hates Their Litter
If you’re still reading this article, you’ve probably ascertained that cats are sensitive creatures with particular needs and tastes. So now you know that it’s entirely possible that your cat hates the litter in their box. The reason some cats like to pee in plants is because dirt is soft and feels nice under their paws. Also, this is the most natural place for them to pee in your home. Litter varies widely in texture and scents and it could be that the litter is too rough or perfumed for your cat to deal with.
Diseases of the urinary tract can cause inappropriate urination. There are many such conditions, including bladder stones, bacterial infections, and other inflammatory diseases that can cause pain and an increased urgency to urinate. Diseases of the kidneys and liver can cause cats to drink more and thus urinate more frequently. Urinating more frequently means that cats may not reach their litter tray in time or that the litter tray becomes soiled very quickly which may deter the cat from using it again until the litter is changed.Age-related brain function decline and hormonal disorders such as diabetes, may also lead to changes in urination habits. A pet’s mobility and sensory function may also affect their urinating habits. Medical conditions affecting the nerves, muscles, or joints, could lead to discomfort, stiffness or weakness such that a cat may not be able to get to the litter tray or get into the litter tray easily.If your cat is urinating inappropriately we highly recommend making an appointment for your cat at your local veterinary clinic for a thorough physical examination and assessment. It is important to rule out any medical causes of inappropriate urination prior to addressing any behavioural causes.