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Inappropriate Elimination in Cats: Communication or Conflict?

Is It Cat Urine Marking or Something Else?

If your cat is urinating everywhere except in the litter box, you obviously have a problem on your hands. The question is, does your cat also have a problem, and what kind of problem is it? Strategic deposits of urine can indicate a medical problem, an attempt to attract mates, an expression of emotional distress, or a demonstration of dominance. Until you've sorted out the meaning behind your cat's new urinary habits, you cannot address and correct that problem. That's when it's good to know that your feline experts at All About Cats can help you figure out the difference between cat litter box problems and other cat marking problems.

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Understanding Cat Litter Box Problems

The first point to consider is whether you're seeing deliberate cat urine marking or litter box avoidance. It's actually fairly easy to tell the difference between deliberate spraying and litter box avoidance. Urine marking or spraying occurs in small, pungent-smelling amounts of urine directed onto vertical household surfaces compared to litter box avoidance which involves the voiding of an entire bladder's worth of urine on horizontal surfaces like the floor or bed.

A third concern is medical problems with the urinary tract. If your feline is clearly trying and failing to urinate normally, showing signs of pain, or having other cat litter box problems for no clear reason, he may have a medical issue that requires immediate care

Reasons for Cat Marking Problems

Why do cat marking problems occur? Adult cats who have not been spayed or neutered will spray so that their urine will inform other cats of their reproductive readiness. This instinctive behavior can be stopped (or, in pre-pubescent cats, prevented) simply by spaying or neutering your cat here at our clinic. Cat urine marking is also a means of claiming territory -- so if there's a new baby or pet in the family, your cat may feel that his space is threatened. The more cats you add to your household, the more urine marking you're likely to see. You can address this issue by making sure each cat has his own separate "zone" or perching area well away from other occupants. Providing each cat with plenty of food, toys and affection will reassure him of his secure position in the family. You may even want to replace the litter in a shared litter box more frequently so your cats aren't so disturbed by each other's distinctive scent.

Caring for a cat is a never-ending journey of discovery, and some of the twists and turns are inevitably more pleasant than others. But once you understand the trigger for your cat's inappropriate elimination, you can take proper steps to help him experience greater health, comfort and/or happiness as a member of your family. Feel free to call our cat clinic with any questions or concerns!

When did your cat's urinary habits change? Tell us how it happened!

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