Appointments: (02) 6251 1444
16-18 Purdue St, Belconnen, ACT
(Parking via Gillott Street)
Mon - Fri: 8:30am - 5:30pm
Saturday: 8:30am - 1:00pm
BOOK ONLINE NOW!

Canberra Cat Vet Blog

Help! My cat is urinating indoors

Friday, June 27, 2014

Marking or toileting?

Spraying small amounts of urine against vertical objects such as chairs or walls is a territorial marking behaviour. Entire male cats are the most likely to spray. 

Male and female cats urinate in a squatting position leaving a greater volume of liquid.
Medical problems such as cystitis, diabetes, kidney disease and obesity exacerbate abnormal toileting behaviour. 

Why do cats spray or mark?

Anxiety and stress are the most common causes of spraying. Cats are creatures of habit and like to have their own space and toys. Even though they are willing to share a house and bed with you they need places and things of their own to be happy. If they think that something that belongs to them is being taken over by someone else they feel threatened. They have to let everyone know that it is theirs. The natural way to stake their claim is to mark it with the facial scent glands or urine. This is like writing their name on their things. Putting urine or facial scent on a thing or place makes a cat feel secure, especially if they feel out of place, nervous or afraid.

What makes cats anxious?

• A new cat or kitten. Introduce a new pet into the household gradually. Let them get used to each other through a screen or glass door. Exchange their bedding and let them sniff and sleep on it. Remember to reassure and cuddle the established pet as well as the cute new one.

• A new baby. Let your cat hear the sounds and sniff the clothes of a new family member from a safe, private place. Give the cat lots of attention.

Changes in furniture or carpets and disruptions such as building or painting. Lock your cat in a room well away from tradesmen and the strange sounds and smells associated with their work.

• A strange cat wandering in the garden or even through the cat flap.

• The loss of a human or animal companion. Strongly bonded cats will need extra care and attention if mourning a friend who has moved or passed away.

Incompatible cats, especially if a lot of cats live together. Determine which cats do not get along and keep them in separate parts of the home with their own litter and sleeping areas.

Stress.

Enriching a cat’s environment minimises stress

Cat scratching posts, toys that mimic prey, tunnels, outside runs and a variety of high spots and hideouts will keep your cat happy and stimulated. Vertical space is often more important than horizontal space. Some cats appreciate an indoor garden sown with grass, cat nip and cat mint. Find several toys they like and rotate them regularly. Your company is important. Even an old cat will appreciate a game with a ribbon on a stick or a glittery ball. Make your cat work for food by hiding it in various locations around the house or in food puzzles such as plastic containers with holes cut in the sides. 

Routine is important for some cats. Ten minutes each day play and grooming your cat to provide regular predictable attention that helps reduce their anxiety. Feed them at a set time.

What if I can’t identify or remove the source of the anxiety?

If you cannot identify or remove the source of the anxiety then provide your cat with a safe haven. A room where your cat can safely retreat or relax without fear of disturbance is ideal. A small, enclosed and elevated space lined with your worn clothes is also good. Most cats will mark a limited space with facial rubbing and bunting only.

Clean urine marked areas with a special enzymatic cleaner like Urine Off, available at Canberra Cat Vet, that eliminates the scent. If your cat can smell urine he will mark it again. You may have to lock him out of the room for a while to help him forget it.

Protect a habitual spraying site by placing dry food or a bed at the base. Cats are usually reluctant to spray their own key resources. Food and beds are also reassuring and may reduce anxiety. However, a stressed cat may move to other areas and mark there instead.

A natural pheromone spray called Feliway calms some cats and reduces the urge to spray and mark. Spray it on previously marked areas or plug a Feliway diffuser in or near the area he most marks.

You might find useful more hints on The Litterbox Guru

Never punish cats. If caught in the act they can be picked up and placed on the litter tray, stroked and calmed. Never ‘rub the cat’s nose in it’ as this will make a nervous cat even more likely to toilet indoors.

Cats with anxiety related behaviours like spraying often need evaluation for anti-anxiety medications in addition to the above changes to resolve the problem. Call us on 6251 1444 for a behaviour consultation if you cannot sort it out.


Search Blog

Recent Posts


Tags

return home panadol arthritis discount changed roundworm health check bad breath holiday rolls feliway urination thiamine deficiency tradesmen blind feline AIDS not eating string wobbles rub flu crytococcosus poisonous plants scratching post antibiotics cat behaviour toxins high blood pressure biopsy eye hiding African wild cat fits prey pain scratching drinking more sore ears pill heart disease weight microchip petting cat twitching cat fight headache intestine cognitive dysfunction jumping kitten deaths snuffles change diarrhoea obese sore eyes spey ACT FIV poison straining new year decision to euthanase allergy, feline enteritis seizures award flea treatment furballs constipation bed overweight lily revolution mouth breathing introducing snot pain killer open day painful carrier urinating on curtains or carpet spray checkup lame enemies behaviour face rub thirsty senior drinking a lot dental check in season kibble blindness new kitten whiskers gifts sense of smell allergy FORLS New Year's Eve new cat skin cancer breathing difficult old cat sensitive activity best cat clinic paralysis xylitol kidneys mass off food stare into space hole echocardiography love blood test weight loss stiff dental scratch cancer catoberfest hospital hard faeces best vet head plaque radioactive iodine urinating outside litter blockage cortisone body language competition meows a lot mental health of cats fireworks cystitis home lick blood in urine heavy breathing breeder examination AIDS cat vocal client night moving sore cranky birthday aggression snuffle exercise panamax pet meat restless dilated pupils aspirin appointment fight teeth check-up feline herpesvirus prednisolone introduction signs of pain kittens tablet kitten play wool when to go to vet opening hours yowling information night corneal ulcer hyperactive enteritis eye ulcer strange behaviour thyroid furball dymadon antiviral paracetamol grass litter hunched over aerokat urine grooming runny eyes noisy breathing cat containment cat vet unsociable sick cat behaviour change sick Hill's Metabolic fluid pills RSPCA abscess calicivirus runny nose blood pressure attack gasping ulcers sudden blindness paralysis tick sucking wool fabric tumour hairball free worming ribbon cat enclosures desexing brown snake lymphoma foreign body kidney disease cat friendly senses abscess,cat fight dental treatment salivation worms sensitive stomach pred mince holes in teeth cat enclosure eye infection holidays snakes vet visit anxiety poisoning ulcerated nose kitten skin panleukopaenia paralysed tick mycoplasma visit vision touch socialisation pain relief castration sun vomiting cage ulcer poisons goodbye diet IBD toxic on heat lump renal disease hearing fever holes cat worms nose scabs snake skinny hunters cryptococcosis best veterinarian food puzzles anaemia pancreatitis blue learning hungry tapeworm chlamydia dry food blocked cat flea prevention polish urinating weight control hunting pet insurance home visit bladder bite massage spraying herpesvirus computer bladder stones fleas desex introductions cta fight groom comfortis physical activity unwell fear aggressive conflict lilly slow panadeine vaccination rash marking tartar permethrin adipokines joints training dementia panleukopenia outdoor cat hunter asthma pica depomedrol cat flu enclosure blood diabetes vomit cough urine spraying christmas itchy sneeze insulin photo competition wet litter eyes odour snakebite Canberra bump rigid head heaing Canberra Cat Vet scale virus litter box hypertrophic cardiomyopathy poisonous kidney pet vaccine liver indoor cats cat history introduce hypertension open night collapse train nails diuretics stress obesity snake bite tooth advantage plants fat old appetite rough play house call pheromone annual check hyperthyroidism lilies euthanasia best clinic inflammatory bowel disease

Archive

A calm, quiet haven for cats and their carers staffed by experienced, cat loving vets and nurses.

Canberra Cat Vet 16-18 Purdue St Belconnen ACT 2617 (parking off Gillott Street) Phone: (02) 6251-1444

Get Directions