"Stop the Mess: Discover Why Your Cat is Peeing Everywhere in Your Home!"

In the vet world, feline inappropriate elimination is a bit of a head-scratcher, accounting for 50% of all behavioral consultations. It's a dire situation and unfortunately, a top reason why cats are left to fend for themselves. At least 10% of cats experience this behavioral condition sometime in their kitty lives, and it can happen for various reasons- ranging from inter-cat disagreements, litter-box hate, or just a plain dislike of their environment. In this article, we'll delve into the most common causes of inappropriate urination and provide ways to fix the issue. The crux of the problem can be grouped into four categories: medical problems, litter box aversion, territorial, and attraction to another location.

Peeing cat.jpeg

Medical Problems

If you observe your feline friend is having trouble using the litter box, it's advisable to check if there's any underlying medical condition by performing bladder radiographs and urinalysis. The vast majority (75%) of these situations can be traced back to stress-induced cystitis, resulting in pain, inflammation, and a strong urge to pee but no particular cause. Stress is usually the culprit, and if not arrested early, can recur chronically. After stress-induced cystitis, bladder stones account for 15% of cases while UTIs standing at less than 5%. In rare instances, cats can develop urinary crystals or tumors on their bladder. In any case, an urgent solution must be sought after to fix the medical issue, alleviate pain, and help your kitty feel at home.

Radiograph of a cat with a distended bladder

Most kitties are kings and queens of their environment and can be particular about everything they interact with. Inevitably, this extends to their litter box, where they regularly hang out. However, their preferences are just one factor sparking litter box aversion. For example, if a feline has had a previous excruciating experience in the litter box, particularly when constipated or with a urinary obstruction, they may develop aversion. The standard tell-tale of formulating an aversion is when a cat pees outside the litter box, close but not entirely in. However, it's not always the case. Usually, cats prefer the litter box to be in a quiet, low-traffic, and easily accessible location that is uncovered. Cats' noses are extraordinarily sensitive, at least 60-100 times more than humans. Therefore, it may not be pleasant for a kitty to remain in a box soiled with fecal matter for too long. Additionally, since felines are prey and predator animals, they are naturally cautious and vulnerable during elimination. They prefer positions where they can see potential threats- even when there are no immediate ones. Also, most cats enjoy unscented litter at least 2 inches deep, making it significant enough to dig and bury.

tidybreeze-open top litter box.jpegRadiograph of a cat with a distended bladder

Understanding Your Cat's Territorial Needs

Few things in life can compare to the precious sight of a litter of kittens. However, it's important to remember that even those cute little furballs have their own individual needs, especially when it comes to their territory. Providing your feline friends with the right kind of environment is essential for their comfort and wellbeing. Cats can get easily threatened and stressed out when their environment changes, even subtly. New pets, children- especially those who crawl and grab, house guests, conflicts with pre-existing pets, outdoor cats in the neighborhood, and any changes in the smells or arrangements of things affect your cat's sense of safety. Failing to provide your feline friends with the right tools to cope with these stressors often leads to urinary and fecal marking, as increasing their scent helps them feel more secure. To combat territorial marking, it is important to understand normal cat behavior and their territorial needs.

There isn't anything more adorable than a box of kittens, but these little cuties like to spread out and have their own privacy for litter box time!

Cats use their scent glands on their face, paws, and tail base to mark their territory and surroundings. Rubbing their face and hind end and scratching on surfaces, including furniture, helps cats leave their pheromones on things around them, which is a signal to them of ownership, stability, and security. Providing materials to increase these sensations while decreasing the chances of your kitty marking in other ways is crucial. Synthetic pheromones, such as Feliway, are recommended to help increase pheromone levels and lessen urinary and fecal marking.

In multi-cat households, providing additional resources such as toilets, feeders, and play areas can reduce competition for resources and stress between cats. Vertical spaces, such as cat trees and shelving, plus hidden and covered areas to hide can help cats feel safe. Felines prefer seeking positions higher than the threat, giving them a sense of dominance, which adds to their feeling of safety.

An Attraction to Another Location

Cats have a natural inclination to toilet in easily accessible areas that are quiet, have the appropriate odors, and cater to their needs. When the litter box does not meet their requirements, cats will look for alternatives, making deep cleaning essential. Cat urine can soak through the padding of your carpet, causing difficulty in fully eliminating the smell and can lead to repeated marking. Using enzymatic cleaners such as Nature's Miracle will help break down urine components and eliminate odor without causing cats to seek new places to mark.

Solution or Action

Cats are complex in their behavior, and solving their litter box problems may require a more in-depth understanding of their needs. Medical conditions should be first eliminated before exploring behavioral solutions. Seeking help from a professional can help evaluate your cat's environment and relationship needs. At Southpoint Animal Hospital, In-home environmental and behavioral assessments, offered by Dr. Elise Hattingh, can help eliminate marking by maximizing your cat's sense of security and belonging. This service has been highly successful in creating harmonious home environments for cats and their owners alike.

Dr. Elise and one of our happy feline friends

Looking to expand your knowledge on feline behavior? Look no further than Dr. Elise's groundbreaking Feline Behavior Workshop, taking place on Saturday, April 21st. Delve deeper into the world of our feline friends and learn indispensable insights and techniques to better understand them. Attendees will have the opportunity to gain a wealth of knowledge in a warm and welcoming environment. Don't miss out on this must-attend event! Additional details can be found by clicking here. See you there!"

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