One of the things that makes cat urine problems so difficult to solve is that fact that there are so many potential causes. The good news is that cats don’t pee on the floor for the sheer joy of it or because they want to tick off the humans. They naturally prefer to use just one spot for their business, so when a cat starts going all over the place, something is wrong. Your job is to find out what. That takes some patience and some experimentation, but you can do it.
Below are some of the most common reasons cats stop using the litter box and start urinating on the carpet, furniture, and elsewhere.
Of course, not all these reasons apply to every cat. It is possible, though, that two or three apply. So you may suspect your cat has a medical issue, take her to the vet and find out you were right. But then even after that issue has been treated, kitty still continues to wet on the floor. Clearly there’s another underlying cause.
The secondary problem could be a poor diet that caused the original health issue or stress from undergoing medical treatment. Or it could be something completely unrelated, like the fact that your cat doesn’t like his litter box being next to the big scary washing machine or he’s stressed out by the new dog next door.
If your cat’s taken to urinating in the house, here are some possible reasons:
1. Health problems
Health problems that cause inappropriate urinatation range from acute (short-term) issues like urinary tract infections (UTI) and feline lower urinary tract disorder (FLUTD) to chronic (long-term) like diabetes. If your cat suddenly picks up new urination habits, your first step should be to take her to the vet.
2. Unattractive Litter Box
You may think a cat who seems happy to wet all over the house isn’t picky about where she “goes,” but just the opposite may be true. Your cat may be finding bathroom spots that suit her (very precise) preferences because the litter box you’ve provided isn’t to her liking. Problems with the litter box include the the type of box, the location, and the filling (litter). These problems are easy to solve simply by changing things about the litter box until you find an arrangement your cat will use.
3. Poor Diet
Being desert creatures, cats evolved to survive without the need to drink large amounts of water. Wild felines like lions get the water they need primarily from their natural food: fresh meat. Unfortunately, many modern house cats receive too much dry food and not enough food with moisture in it, such as canned wet food. Because they’re not naturally inclined to drink water, they end up not getting enough water for optimal health. That can lead to urinary tract and urination problems.
Cats are sensitive creatures and sometimes even little things disturb them so much that they develop new and unpleasant habits as a way to cope. Change–any change–in the cat’s life and daily routine may cause this. Sudden, short-term upsets like a weekend house guest or a major storm can do it, too. Cats can even get stressed out because you’re stressed–they pick up the fact that something’s wrong. New urination habits related to stress may take the form of simply wetting outside the box or spraying by either neutered or intact males, or by female cats. (Yes, all cats can spray; intact toms are merely the most likely to do so.)
5. Poor Litter Box Training
Sometimes, for specific reasons, a mother cat doesn’t train her kittens in use of the litter box. Instead, she trains them to go in blankets, on the carpet, or wherever she deems fit. In the case of hand-raised orphan kittens, the trouble comes from incorrect training by the care-giving human. Poor training is a tough problems to solve because it requires, as you might expect, re-training your cat. As crazy as the idea of “training” a cat sounds (we all know it’s really just “negotiating” with the cat), changing kitty’s habits is possible, but it takes time, patience, and a proven approach.
Cat Urine Problems Eliminated provides more detail on each of these problems, suggests other potential causes of inappropriate urination (and ways to “diagnose” them), and arms you with the information you need to solve the problems, including getting that nasty cat pee smell out of your home.
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