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Inappropriate Urination

[Siamese cat]

Of all cat "accidents", inappropriate urination causes the most cleanup woes. Help prevent it by providing a clean, well-maintained, accessible litter box (boxes), watching your cat's health closely so that you immediately notice any changes. For your cat's sake and yours, find the problem and fix it.

There are several reasons why your male or female cat will urinate in inappropriate places in your house. Both males and females, neutered and entire of all breeds and all ages groups may spray urine. Spraying appears to be more common in multi-cat households with a 100% chance of at least one cat spraying in a household. Male cats that live with a female cat are more likely to spray than those living with another male cat. It is important to differentiate urine marking from inappropriate urination. Unneutered male and female cats will spray to mark their territory more likely than entire cats.

Inappropriate urination is frequently caused by illness. Among other reasons are dirty litter box, dislike of litter type, stress in the household, having had a bad experience while in the litter box. A males cat who's urinating in inappropriate location may have a painful bladder infection, urine stones, polycystic kidney disease (PKD) or kidney failure, feline leukemia virus (FeLV).

How To Deal With Inappropriate Urination?

First, you should rule out illness, so call your veterinarian. Neuter the cat. Spraying is a marking behavior and in 87% of male cats, castration alone is reported to solve the problem. If your cat uses the bathtub or sink in preference to his litter box, he might prefer a smooth surface. Try placing less litter in the box, leaving it partially empty.

Look for a behavioral cause: Is your cat under stress? Are there new pets or family members? Has your cat been placed in a boarding facility? Cats very dependent on their owners may have separation anxiety and they are more likely to spray. Cats that have had many changes in their routine such as moving house, the introduction of a new spouse, new baby or new cat in the household are considered to be more likely to spray.

If you have several cats, a bully cat may be keeping other cats from using the box or may be ambushing them while they're using it. Provide as many litter boxes as cats, plus one extra - in two different locations, if possible.

A loud noise, dog, child, or other stressor may have scared your cat while he was using the box, causing him to avoid it.

Cat spraying may be stimulated by the sight, sound and/or smell of another cat. If possible, decrease access to windows and doors to decrease the sight, sound and smell of other cats. Make the sprayed areas less attractive to the cat by making them feeding or play areas. A new approach to dealing with urine marking is the use of pheromones. Using Feliway Spray daily for 30 days in areas the cat sprays or bunts is reported to be effective in up to 95% of cases. The use of punishment in case of inappropriate urination is not recommended. It is not a reliable or effective way of changing animal behaviors. It often makes things worse by increasing the cat's anxiety and affects the relationship between the cat and the owner. The cat may also continue to spray but turn into a "sneaky sprayer", that is, wait until the owner is not present.

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