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

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

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