Many people will agree that there is nothing harder than getting the smell of cat urine out of carpet and furniture! Even a normally fastidious feline can suddenly start peeing outside of the box, or spraying the walls. Urine marking is one of the top reasons cats are abandoned and surrendered to shelters. People don’t understand the root cause and give up on the problem before ever attempting to resolve it. Remember it is always important to check with your vet when unusual behavior pops up. There are many reasons why your cat could be suddenly urine marking.
When a kitty becomes a senior they can suffer from arthritis pain. This pain can discourage the use of litter boxes. You should consult your vet to check your cat to see if pain management is an option. Purchasing a low-sided pan with no cover can also be helpful as it is easier to access.
As with aging joints, other pain can cause the kitty to associate using the litter tray with discomfort. This can range from urinary tract infections to impacted bowels. Each can be life-threatening for a cat! It’s important to have your vet check them for a UTI infection and alert them if your cat strains during a bowel movement or if there is blood in their stool.
If you have multiple cats inside your household or stray cats that roam around outside it can make your kitty feel insecure in his or her environment. This is also one of the more difficult behaviors to correct in felines. For this, there are multiple solutions depending on the situation.
- Spay and neuter as early as possible. This goes especially for males as once a tom begins to spray this behavior can remain even after the procedure.
- Drive off strays or feed them further from your home. Another option is to have them fixed as well. This will also help with cat overpopulation so you’ll be doing a good deed. For information on how to get started with Trap, Neuter, and Release (TNR) for feral cats please contact Ally Cat Allies.
- Finally, remember the golden rule: one litter box for each cat in your home plus one extra. Territorial cats can resource guard and having less to fight over can make them happier in their environment.
CHANGES TO THE ENVIRONMENT
One common cause of sudden urine marking is a change in the cat’s normal routine. This can be anything from a new baby in the home to a new litter in the box. Cats can be very sensitive to these changes and many will react by – you guessed it – pee around the house. If you’ve tried changing the litter, go back to the old kind and slowly transition to the new by mixing. If you’ve got a new addition to the home remember this is a huge change for your cat and can cause a great deal of stress. Before the baby, put up the new nursery furniture as soon as possible. Play sounds of babies crying. The cat will need time to adjust. When the baby is home, introduce the two slowly in a quiet environment with lots of treats. Products like Feliway can help ease them into this transition.
Never thrust sudden changes on a cat and expect them to adjust immediately. If you do then you’re failing your feline when you blame them for their stress reaction.
If all else fails, seeking a cat behaviorist can help give you further insight into causes and solutions for your cat’s naughty habits!