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Cat Urine Problems

Litter Box Avoidance, Territorial Urine Spraying, Removing Cat Urine Odor


Cat Behavior & Training > Cat Behavior 101 > Cat Urine Problems

One of the top reasons for surrendering cats to animal shelters is for problems associated with spraying and/or urinating outside the litter box. We examine here the causes of spraying and peeing outside the box, how to combat litter box avoidance and urine spraying, and how to remove the stains and odor of cat urine from carpeting, bedding, and clothing.

1. Fixing Litter Box Problems, by Amy Shojai

Adult cats understand the basics of proper litter box manners, but can get their tails in a twist over a variety of issues. Health challenges prompt cats to find alternatives to the legal toilet, and even after veterinary diagnosis and treatment, owners need to address the behavioral aspect to solve litter box problems.

2. Ask Amy: Cat Poops Outside Box

Pooping outside the litter box is almost as commonly reported as urinating out of the box. It also can be caused by physical pain associated with the box, such as constipation, or hemorrhoids. If your cat has suddenly started avoiding the box, you may benefit from Amy Shojai's advice for this kind of cat behavior problem.

3. He Peed WHERE?

Cats do not pee outside the box out of spite, or to "get back at you." There are two main reasons why cat urinate outside the litter box:

  1. UTI or Blockage
    A cat may associate pain from a urinary tract infection or blockage by urinary crystals with the litter box itself. Consequently, the cat will seek out other places to urinate. It is imperative that you rule out a medical cause by taking your cat to the veterinarian without delay.
  2. A Dirty Litter Box
    Cats are fastidious animals and carefully cover their feces and urine, so as not to leave a trail for predators to follow. If a litter box becomes full, they will look elsewhere to pee and poop. Regular litter box maintenance is extremely important.

4. Cleaning up Urine Messes

Sometimes we cat lovers just have to "get down dirty" when the subject of cleaning up messes arises. I'm talking about basic cat messes. You've got it - the pee, poop, and barf accidents that occasionally plague a house with cats. For cat urine stains and odors an enzymatic cleaner works best:

5. Why Cats Spray Urine

Cats stake out their territory outdoors by spraying urine on trees, fences, vehicle wheels, and other inanimate objects. Quite logically, this behavior is called "territorial marking." A cat is very efficient at keeping his territory secure by repeatedly marking his scent to establish his territorial boundaries.

Cats do much of the same indoors, for various reasons, usually involving stress caused by various factors. Cats are creatures of habit and respond to changes in their surroundings negatively, often by spraying urine.

Although urine spraying is usually behavioral, in some cases it may be caused by a medical problem, so that should always be ruled out first, as this guest article illustrates.

6. Ask Amy: How Can I Stop Cat Urine Marking?

Ednamay writes, “My son has an Abyssinian and I have a Siamese. Both are five years old, both female, and we had them within three weeks of each other. They each allow the other space, but they do occasionally curl up together, but not tight close. They are both neutered. They seldom play together, they prefer to play alone or with one of us. Our problem is that the Aby marks everything with urine.

7. How to Discourage Urine Spraying by Cats

A reader is distressed over her cats' urine spraying problem while she was on a week-long trip, and asks for advice on removing the urine stains and odors, and how to prevent his spraying in the future. This was a complex problem which required a detailed response.

Cat Behavior & Training > Cat Behavior 101 > Cat Urine Problems

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