Whether it’s your own male cats urinating on your carpets or a neighborhood male cat marking your lawn as his territory, unless you change the cats’ behavior, you can quickly end up with a big, smelly problem. Taking action now to stop your (or your neighbor’s) cats piddling where they shouldn’t can save you a headache in the future. Territorial marking and health issues are two issues to consider to get to the root cause of the problem so you can solve it fast.
What’s With All The Spraying?!
Unneutered tom (male) cats are very likely to start spraying to mark territory once they reach sexual maturity around the age of 6 months. A cat who’s very secure in his environment may not spray most of the time, but there’s always a risk he’ll start. Neutered toms are far less likely to spray, although they can and sometimes do. In fact, even some spayed females spray. As the photo at the beginning of this article shows, a cat sprays by pointing his rump at a vertical surface such as a wall and squirting urine. His tail twitches and he back-treads with his hind legs to help distribute his scent marking. A cat, male or female, squatting on a horizontal surface like the carpet or lawn isn’t spraying.
Cats spray to mark their territory and are far more likely to do this when they feel their territory or their physical safety is somehow threatened. The threat may be real or imagined. Maybe your indoor tom cat has picked up the scent of a stray tom outside and wants to let that cat know to keep away. Maybe that dining room set you recently inherited from your aunt carries the scent of her cats. The triggers depend on the cat, but there are numerous things can make cats feel threatened. If you can’t eliminate the source of the stress, feline pheromone diffuse can help your cat relax. These mark your home as “cat safe” to your cat with an “odor” humans can’t detect.
If you have stray toms coming around and spraying your doors or other property, first clean the soiled areas with an effective cat urine remover, then apply a cat repellent. Sometimes sprinkling citrus fruit peels, coffee grounds, or tea grounds or ground cayenne pepper on the ground will keep wandering felines away, but not always. A motion-activated sprinkler may also help deter cats from entering your property.
The cause of male cats urinating (not spraying) in the house may well be something other than stress. Unfortunately for our boy kitties–and male mammals in general–the design of the male urinary tract leaves it prone to a number of problems. One of the most serious is a blocked urethra. This is a medical emergency that, if left untreated, can kill a cat within days. If you suddenly notice your male cat urinating in the house or if he’s straining to pee and or frequently licking his genitals, call your vet immediately.
Kidney stones are another issue male cats are at greater risk for. The cat associates pain from this condition with the litter box and looks for a softer place to pee, like the carpet, in attempt to avoid the pain. In any case, unusual urination behavior requires a prompt assessment to the vet because the cat may have some other serious condition like a urinary tract infection, feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD) or a bladder or kidney condition.
Territorial behavior and health problems aren’t the only reasons for male cats urinating in the house, though. Something may be off-putting out the litter box, for instance. You can solve your boy kitty’s urination problems and get your home completely free of cat urine odors, but the solutions may not always be obvious. Instead of wasting time learning by trial and error, read the book Cat Urine Problems Eliminated to discover proven-effective ways to retrain your cat and regain your home.