How to Stop Your Cat Urine Spraying EVERYWHERE!

If your cat is spraying on the furniture or urinating outside of their litter tray then help is at hand! Find out why your cat might be doing this and exactly what you can do to stop it!


I’ve got got two very similar questions and the first is that the cat keeps going to the toilet on the owner's towels and clothes and inside some boxes trying to pee, and this hasn't happened previously. They've tried cleaning out his litter box but he still won't go in the litter box. They’re really worried about him and they also can't afford to go to the vet.

And then the next question is about a cat that the owners have had for a year and a half, and for the last 3 or 4 weeks or so, he started to pee on the couch next to the laundry room where his litter box is. He would also pee in the litter boxes as well. The cat was taken to the vet and there was a suspected urinary tract infection. The cat had a couple of different rounds of antibiotics and was then peeing more in his box and every few days on the couch and it wasn’t curing or eliminating that problem. There seems to be some confusion whether it's medical or psychological problem and the suggestion is maybe to try another third round of antibiotics and then if that doesn't work, hormonal injections

So, what can we do? Is that really what needs to happen or are there any other things that we need to think about?

Ultimately, both of these questions are about cats who are not peeing in their litter box. They’re peeing over the furniture, which obviously is something that is super annoying, it's really disgusting, it's not great for your cat because they're not going to be happy doing that and it's something that we definitely need to get on top of.

You probably won't be surprised to hear that problem peeing is a super common problem, and there are some really important questions to consider before you can actually tackle the problem and with a view of getting rid of it.

So the first thing that we need to discuss is: Is the cat spraying or is there inappropriate urination going on?

What spraying is, it's a marketing behavior, and typically that is urinating against vertical surfaces. So they're backing up against maybe with the side of the couch or against the bed or against the wall, they’re lifting their tail, that's maybe twitching a little bit and urine is spraying out on that vertical surface.

Now inappropriate urination on the other hand typically involves squatting to pee like normal so assuming a normal urination position and then peeing on a horizontal surface. So it's not where you want them to be peeing, but it looks pretty much like their peeing normally and depending on what that is, that's going to give an indication.

We also then need to rule out any underlying health problems, and this is especially the case with inappropriate urination. Now cystitis is probably the most common and actually in the vast majority of cats, this is not due to an infection. So very often we’ll only give antibiotics when there is a positive urine culture result. So it definitely used to be that we used to give our cats a lot more antibiotics when they had a suspected bladder infection, but really we understand now that generally it's normally a stress response and that's the number one cause of cystitis-like symptoms, unlike people and unlike dogs who are much more likely to get a bacterial infection causing cystitis, causing straining, causing inappropriate urination if you'd like.

So it's normally stress related and we typically treat that with anti-inflammatory medication. We also try to increase the water intake and I discuss 10 strategies to do this in my article all about how to get cats to drink more water. We can modify the diet as well to one proven to reduce the risk of a cat developing repeated episodes of cystitis.

And then there are a number of steps we can take to reduce stress with stress being the number one cause of feline idiopathic cystitis, which is what we call it and that can be making sure there's enough resources so food bowls, water bowls, and litter trays. There should be one more than the number of cats in the house. If you've got three cats that should be four separate food bowls, four water bowls and four clean litter trays at all times. We can use a microchip cat flap to stop strange cats coming into the house, we can use the pheromone Feliway, and we can give our cats a safe space where they can retreat if they're feeling uncomfortable, if they're feeling threatened.

So that’s stress, but other underlying health problems that can also cause inappropriate urination can be arthritis. So if a cat's actually finding it difficult to get into the litter tray, especially if it's got a high lip, then arthritis can be a cause. Kidney disease and diabetes can also be causes because they are just going to cause a cat to produce more urine, so they're going to go need to go more often and potentially then get cut short and not able to reach the litter tray when they need to go. Bladder stones can also cause this problem. So there are a number of different things that we can think about there.

If you've got an entire cat, then neutering your cat is going to help reduce inappropriate urination, especially if we're talking about spraying here. So if you've got an entire cat who is exhibiting marking behavior, then neutering them really is what's going to need to happen to get that sorted and to reduce and eliminate that as a problem.

Reducing stress, like I have already discussed, is another step even if you don't think your cat stressed. They hide it so well so having a little evaluation of different things that cause cats stress and trying to reduce those if at all possible.

Litter box cleaning is also important. So cats can be very fussy when another cat has been in a litter tray and even if it's only a small amount, they won't use it. We need to look at litter box numbers, like I say, so one more than every cat. Some cats are really fussy when it comes to litter type, so they might not like a scented litter, they might not like a clay based litter because it clumps up underneath their feet and also location, so litter tray should never be placed in a very busy thoroughfare. They should always be placed in private spots so that a cat can do its business without being observed, which is something that's important to them.

And then finally we also need to clean up their inappropriate urination properly so we can do that in a number of ways. There are enzymes sprays that you can buy that will break down the urine and get rid of that problem. What you can also do is you can take a biological washing powder (one that contains enzymes), mix that with a little bit of water to make a solution, and then let that soak in really well to the area where they've peed, where it will break down that urine and get rid of the problem. What we absolutely must do is avoid ammonia-based products because they will actually attract a cat back to that area and really accentuate and perpetuate the habit rather than curing and eliminating it.

The above is a transcript taken from “The Dr Alex Answers Show”.

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