Feline Inappropriate urinating: Possible causes and treatments

Dear Dr. Simon,

I have a 5 year old male cat named Tommy that for the last 3 months has been urinating everywhere in the house except in the liter box.  My husband is thoroughly discussed and thinks we should get rid of the cat.  I love Tommy and would be heartbroken if he had to go.  What do you think I should do?

Dear Pet Owner

When a cat suddenly breaks his or her house training there are  2 major possibilities. that must be considered.  Either your cat’s problem is a physical one and is caused by a disease process or your cat is physically healthy and has a behavioral or psychological problem.  To rule out the first possibility of physical disease you need to have your veterinarian thoroughly examine Tommy for evidence of illness.  In addition to the physical exam your veterinarian will also need to examine Tommy’s urine for the presence of blood, sugar, crystals, white blood cells and urinary casts; all of which are evidence that there is a disease process present..  It would also be recommended that your veterinarian draw some blood from your cat and perform some very basic blood tests to help discover the presence of any underlying pathology. If after performing the above procedures your veterinarian feels the cat is physically healthy and that there is no evidence of urinary tract disease the conclusion that must be drawn is that the house soiling is a result of a behavioral problem.

Behavior problems generally result from various types of stress.   If a your cat must deal with the arrival of a new born baby or of a visiting family member or friend the cat may suddenly begin to urinate outside his or her liter box.   If your house is being remodeled,or painted or if new carpeting is being installed it would not be unusual for these stresses to set off  a house soiling problem.  Litter boxes which are not frequently cleaned of urine and stool can definitely serve as stressors that cause cats to break their litter training.  Changing the type of litter a cat  a uses can be enough of a stress to cause the cat to avoid using his or her liter pan.  Consequently, deodorizing or clumping litter may not work for certain cats.  As a rule of thumb you should provide at least one more litter box than the number of cats in the house.

Stray cats, in the neighborhood, that come calling often threaten a house cats territorial boundaries and cause previously well trained cats to start urinating on the walls or carpet.  Too many cats in one house is a commonly a cause of  carpet soiling.

If your veterinarian discovers that Tommy has a urinary tract disease antibiotics, urinary acidifier, and special prescription diets may all help to solve the problem.  If the problem turns out to be behavioral then discovering the specific stressor and eliminating it is the best answer.

If Tommy is an unneutered male, castration should definitely be considered to help prevent territorial spraying .  A number of mood altering anti anxiety substances  are now available to help cats deal with stress that can not easily be eliminated.  These substances can be either nutritionals,  herbal remedies or even drugs.

So if you have a cat that is upsetting the peace and tranquility of your house with his or her house soiling attempt to discover the cause of the problem before you take any drastic action. You may just save your cat’s life and save all your family members from a lot of grief. and guilt.


Woodside Animal Clinic is a unique, very personal,  one doctor practice where, for over 35 years, Dr. Simon has been healing dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, rodents, and reptiles with both traditional  and alternative medicine.  Dr. Simon is certified in Acupuncture, Chiropractic and Stem cell therapy.  He is the author  of 4 pet care books, a past president of the Oakland County Veterinary Medical Association and a regular contributor to Natural Awakenings magazine

Woodside Animal Clinic sees pets from all over Michigan but primarily from the greater Detroit  area  including Wayne, Oakland, Macomb and Washtenaw counties.   Cities in these counties include Royal Oak, Berkley, Huntington Woods, Ferndale, Pleasant Ridge, Detroit, Redford, Livonia, Hazel Park, Madison Heights, Warren, Centerline, Clawson,  Troy, Sterling Heights, Southfield, Birmingham, Lathrup Village, Bingham Farms, Franklin, Farmington, Farmington Hills, Novi, Wixom, Brighton, Livonia, Plymouth, Commerce, Ann Arbor, Ortonville, Waterford, Union Lake,  Rochester,  Rochester Hills, Auburn Hills, Utica,  Grosse Pointe,  Romeo and Flint, Hartland,  Lansing, Okemos, Flint , Howell,  Brighton, White Lake, Romeo, Saline, South Lyon, Windsor Canada, Toledo Ohio

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