Common Behavior Problems
Litterbox and Urine Marking/Spraying Problems
If your cat is soiling the house, it may be because he doesn’t
like using his litterbox, or because he is spraying. It’s
rare for a cat to stop using the litterbox altogether.
Your cat may have developed preferences, other than her litterbox,
for where and on what she likes to relieve herself. Litterbox problems
can be a symptom of other behavior problems, such as your cats
not getting along together or fear
Spraying is a marking behavior in which a cat backs up to a wall,
furniture or other vertical surface, raises her tail, and deposits
a small amount of urine. Both males and females can spray. If your
male cat isn’t neutered, it is unlikely you will be able to
control his spraying behavior. Have him neutered now - there are
no behavioral reasons not to.
Cats urine-mark in response to anything they feel is a threat to
their territory, including visitors, odors, or other cats. Cats
may also spray when they are anxious or fearful.
Depositing their own familiar odor seems to have a calming effect
on cats. For some great ideas try our new CDs What
Cats Want: Creating a Cat Friendly Environment or Helping
Cats Co-Exist: Creating Feline Friendships.
You MUST take your cat to your veterinarian for a complete check
up and most likely laboratory testing on your cat’s urine
or stool before working with the problem behaviorally.
Litterbox problems are generally resolvable. Start by purchasing
our booklet Cats Come Clean
which is full of information about creating a cat friendly litterbox.
These tips will solve many problems. If your cat’s problem
is more complicated, schedule
a telephone or in-home consultation with us so you
can continue to live happily with your cat.
Urine-marking problems may require both behavior modification and
short-term medication prescribed by your veterinarian. We can give
you individual assistance with either a telephone
or in-home consultation.
Rest assured your cat is not doing this because he is mad at you,
is trying to tell you something, or is trying to get back at you.
Do not try and punish your cat, and especially
do not try to show her the “mess” and then put her in
the box. This will not solve the problem, will significantly damage
your relationship with your cat, and can cause her to dislike the
litterbox even more.