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Cats behaving badly (Inappropriate Urination)

Soiling is the vet's term for your cat going to the toilet in the wrong place - be it under the bed, behind the sofa or in your hat. This is one of the most common behavioural problems in cats and it gets worse with the number of cats you have. In a single cat households soiling doesn't happen very often, but when there are many cats in one house the problem can become a serious issue. Animal behaviourists have found that in homes which have 10 cats or more it is pretty certain that one or more cats will be using the wrong place as a toilet.

There are many reasons why a cat might suddenly abandon her litter box and the best way to get her back there is to understand why it happens.

The first thing to do is to check for underlying medical problems, so a visit to the vet should be the number one priority. This is especially important if the soiling starts suddenly without any obvious changes in the cat's environment. The vet will give the cat a general checkover and probably a urine test to make sure that there is no urinary tract infection. The vet will also check for incontinence, which can be a problem with senior cats whose bladder control might simply fail with age.

Once medical problems are ruled out, its time to start looking for other possibilities. Remember that there is a difference between inappropriate urination and spraying. When the cats go to the toilet to relieve themselves, they squat. You can see that for yourself when your cat is using the litter tray. Inappropriate urination (soiling) happens when the cat does this outside her litter tray, choosing instead anything from the middle of the carpet, the kitchen sink or even your clothes. However, the basic reason is generally the same - the cat is relieving herself, and that is the main intention behind the action. Spraying, on the other hand, has a different purpose. Spraying is much more common in multicat households, and is a cat's way of saying 'this is part of my territory. It smells like me because I belong here.' When a cat is making this kind of statement, she does not squat, but stands and sprays a stream of urine at a vertical surface such as a wall, window or furniture (for example table legs). The spray is designed to hit the surface at feline nose height and be plainly read by other cats which use the same territory.

Inappropriate Urination

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