So, you’ve cleaned up the urine again… Last time it was in the clean laundry, this time it was on the curtains, next time it better not be on the new lounge suite! You may have scrubbed and washed or even gotten rid of some carpeting because it’s ‘beyond it’ but the urine marking continues. Sometimes it may seem as though your cat is ‘doing this on purpose’ and figuring out what’s going on can be a real frustration for some owners, not to mention time consuming and expensive.
So why is my cat peeing on the furniture / on the curtains / in the hand basin etc.?
Firstly, I can guarantee it is definitely NOT “on purpose”, “to get you back”, “because he’s lazy” or “for fun”! The underlying cause may be a medical one, a behavioural or social issue, or an environmental issue.
- Medical Problems: Ever had a bladder infection or a friend or family member that’s had one? Cats can get these too and they can be darn uncomfortable. Cats may urinate in unexpected areas because the ‘urge’ to wee is so strong that they just can’t get to the litter tray or outside fast enough. Kidney disease may be another cause – lots of dilute urine is produced and the cat just has to go more frequently than before. Some cats can develop blockages in the urinary tract, so if you’re seeing your cat urinating in small squirts or looking as though he’s trying to urinate but nothing is passing, it can be a real emergency – your cat needs to be checked out fast! Older cats may develop arthritis which is painful and they may avoid using litter trays with high sides or going through windows to get out to the toilet because of the pain involved.
- Behavioural Issues: Urine marking or spraying is sometimes associated with cats feeling anxious or nervous. It is a way of them saying “this is my home” or “my bedroom” and “I want to feel safe here”. It may be more common when you have moved house or if you have some new carpets or furniture that smells different and causes some anxiety in your cat.
- Social Issues: If you have a household with more than one cat, or there is a new cat in the neighbourhood or your cat is the new cat in the neighbourhood, there may be some factors which cause cats to spray. Sometimes it may just be the sight of another cat through the window which makes your cat feel nervous about an intruder in his space which causes him to spray on the curtains next to that window. Multiple cats in the household may or may not get on and if one starts spraying, the others may too.
- Environmental Issues: Do you clean your cat’s litter tray often? Do you have multiple cats but only one litter tray? If you have multiple litter trays, are they all in the same area? Cats are very secretive about their toiletting habits as well as fastidious about a ‘clean loo’. If you only clean out your cat’s litter tray once a week or have one tray for 2 or more cats or keep trays in the same space, these arrangements will not be suitable to your cat/s.
So how do I deal with the problem?
- If your cat seems painful, in distress or is showing difficulty urinating, seek veterinary attention immediately. If it’s after-hours, you need to contact the emergency vet because if your cat is ‘blocked’ it can be life-threatening.
- Clean up any urine using a mild soap and water – do NOT use anything with Ammonia or Bleach in it as this will simply smell like more urine to your cat and will be more likely to urinate in the same spot again. Using an enzymatic cleaner like “Urine Off” may help to remove any trace smells – follow the instructions on the label carefully.
- Ensure you have set-up your feeding, water, litter trays etc in a way that is most suitable for keeping cats happy. Always have “number of cats +1” litter trays i.e. if you have 2 cats, ensure you have 3 litter trays in different areas of the house. Clean litter tray often and have them in quieter areas where they can go to the loo ‘in peace’. Have a read of a previous post for more info: Are You Providing A Happy Home For Your Kitty?
- If you suspect your cat or cats may be feeling anxious, getting into fights, not eating or drinking normally, over- or under-grooming, or behaving differently please contact us. There may be multiple factors involved. A physical exam and possibly a behaviour consult may be needed to get to the bottom of the problem.
If you have any questions or would like to get your kitty / kitties checked out, please email or call 0481 527 678 to book an appointment. We’ll be happy to help you get on the road to a ‘less smelly’ household and a happier cat.