Inappropriate urination in cats can be one of the most frustrating issues with which cat owners deal.
If your cat is urinating in inappropriate places, please have him or her checked out by your veterinarian. There are several conditions such as diabetes mellitus, urinary tract infections and kidney disease that can cause these problems.
Once systemic causes of urination have been ruled out and behavior is the most likely primary problem, there are several steps you may take to prevent your cat from urinating in inappropriate places.
Litter box care: The number of recommended boxes that should be in the household is the number of cats plus one. If you have two cats in the household, then you should have three litter boxes. Ideally, these litter boxes should be in various places and not right next to each other. Also, litter boxes in the garage or laundry room can be a little scary for your cat, especially when the garage door opens. Litter boxes should be cleaned out daily, and the entire box should be changed weekly.
Enrichment: Although cats do not need to be walked like dogs, they do need environmental enrichment. This may include play toys with laser lights or feathers. Another treat cats love is cat nip. Fresh catnip or dried catnip that you place in a sock tends to be more effective than the pre-purchased cat nip toys.
Perches: Even if your cat is indoors only, cats love to watch for birds, rodents and other wildlife outside. Providing cat trees or perches so your cat can look through higher windows can provide hours of entertainment. When furniture is moved, consider if you will be changing access to window sills.
Scratching posts/mats: Cats have preferences for scratching on horizontal or vertical surfaces. Some cats like scratching posts made of hemp rope. You may want to try using a corrugated cardboard box as a simple scratching area.
Feline pheromones: Cats have facial pheromones they rub on you or furniture. Man-made pheromones sprays and diffusers are available. These pheromones can help cats feel more relaxed or at home in new environments.
Daily routine: Cats like routine and do not like change. If you predict any major changes (new animals, new housing, new schedule), you may want to slowly introduce these changes over time — if possible. If you are planning to take your cat on a road trip, you may want to do shorter car rides so that he or she gets used to being in a car.
For more information regarding indoor cat needs: http://indoorpet.osu.edu/cats/basicneeds.
Gina Kang, DVM, MS, lives in Truckee and works at the Doctor’s Office for Pets on 10939A Industrial Way, No. 101, Truckee. She sees all pets including cats, dogs, reptiles, birds and small mammals. More information can be found at www.doctorsofficeforpets.com or call 530-587-5144.