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The Ultimate Cat Behavior Guide.

THE PROBLEM – INAPPROPRIATE URINATION AND DEFECATION

 

IMPACT ON OWNER  -    offensive smells in areas of the house

  1. damage to walls and flooring
  2. difficulty in removing the offensive odours

CAT’S PERSPECTIVE -    possible medical problem

  1. reaction to underlying issue / upset
  2. insufficient or inadequate resources available to express natural behaviour.

Cat hiding after spraying
“Now what have I done wrong..”

Inappropriate urination can consist of
Urine pooling in areas other than the litter tray or urine spraying onto vertical surfaces, people and possessions.
 To urinate the cat squats and deposits a volume of urine on a horizontal surface. Common sites for inappropriate urination include carpet, settees, duvets, baths or sinks
To spray urine the cat stands up, usually making a treading motion with its back feet, quivers its tail and a small amount of urine is sprayed backwards onto a vertical surface such as a wall, leaving an obvious scent mark. Common sites for spraying include doors, windows, around cat flaps, curtains, electrical equipment and shopping or rubbish bags.
 Once it has been ascertained which of the two the cat is doing it is necessary to take action to resolve the behaviour.
Inappropriate defecation is the soiling of areas outside the litter box. A common area that cats tend to use is the bath.
It is very important to rule out Medical Causes first, if unsure see your vet.

.
MEDICAL

A cat that has suddenly started to urinate inappropriately in the house should be taken to the vet for a check up. Ideally you should try to obtain a urine sample for the vet to test for the presence of blood, protein and crystals. The first test often done is called a dipstick test. A strip of paper with reagents on it, react with certain substances that may be in the urine and change colour. The degree of colour change can give a rough idea of how much particular substance is present. This test can detect glucose, red blood cells, haemoglobin, white blood cells, urine concentration, acidity levels, and also other specific metabolites such as ketones and bilirubin. A refractometer can measure accurately how concentrated or dilute the urine is. Looking at the urine under a microscope can also be useful. Urine is spun very fast in a centrifuge, and sediment can form which may contain different types of cells, crystals, pus, bacteria, fungi, or parasites. The urine can also be cultured to see if there are any bugs contaminating it, and what they are. Soaking a small amount of cotton wool in the urine and putting it in a plastic bag is one method of obtaining a urine sample. Other commercially available none absorbent litter with syringes and sample pots can be obtained from your veterinary surgery or pet shop or  http://www.katkor.com

1. Cystitis

Cystitis (inflammation of the bladder) is usually associated with frequent visits to the litter tray and the passing of small drops of urine. The cause of cystitis may be infection ( bacteria – most common in females ) or inflammation including crystal formation ( more common in males ). Your cat may drink more than usual and you may even see blood being passed with the urine. IN ALL CASES IMMEDIATE VETERINARY HELP IS INDICATED – the main reason for this is the potential for your cat to ‘block’ either with stones, crystals, inflammation or debris which can be potentially life threatening.

2. PUPD ( polyuria, polydipsia) – increased urination/increased thirst

This condition is rather a sign that something is wrong rather than an actual illness in itself. It can occur for a number of reasons eg infection, kidney failure, diabetes mellitus and other hormonal problems. The important point to note is that if a cat is drinking more he is also likely to be urinating more hence urinating in inappropriate places if ‘caught short’. Again – if you notice these signs with your cat VETERINARY ATTENTION SHOULD BE SOUGHT. Your cat is likely to need blood samples.

3. Diarrhoea

Diarrhoea can lead to inappropriate defecation as the cat gets ‘caught short’. In this instance, the cat may have attempted to get to the litter tray. The faeces will be watery and may smell more than usual. If  it happens on more than one occasion or if there is blood present you should TAKE YOUR CAT TO A VET.   

3. Arthritis

As your cat gets older he is likely to experience joint stiffness. The range of motion of your cat’s joints can become so limited that he is unable to use the litter tray especially if it is of the high sided type. Other signs you may notice are him sleeping more and reluctant to jump onto and off surfaces. Your vet may be able to prescribe an anti inflammatory to relieve your cat’s pain.

4. Senility

As your cat becomes older changes can go on in his brain that can lead to confusion and an altered state of mind regarding toileting. Other signs could occur like yowling for food then walking away, only to demand more again or an alteration in activity level. It is worth having your cat checked by a vet.

BEHAVIOURAL 

1. Territorial.

All cats, male or female, entire or neutered can spray. Territorial marking behaviour is more common with entire male cats but any cat may feel the need to scent mark their territory usually as a means of communication to alert other cats of their presence and to boost confidence by surrounding themselves with odours that are familiar. Such behaviour is usually manifest by the cat 'backing up' to the target and spraying or shaking a few drops of urine at said target. Typically this is 'vertical' marking (walls, table legs, televisions) and typically the targets are revisited at regular intervals. Cats often spray around a cat flap or doors to make themselves secure and to signal their presence to invading cats. In the un-neutered cat, the urine not only signals the cat's presence but its status. Females in season have high levels of oestrogen in their urine to attract toms and they leave a highly pungent spray which is a combination of urine and secretions from anal glands under the tail. Spraying indoors is a sign that the cat is feeling stressed and needs to make itself feel more secure.

2. Avoidance.

Avoidance behaviour refers to those cats that are unhappy about the location or type of their current litter facilities. Some cats feel self conscious about using the litter tray in front of people or other animals, especially if the tray is positioned in a prominent area. Cats dislike using their litter trays in areas that are associated with eating and may seek alternative locations. The actual litter type and smell may put some cats off using the tray especially if the litter is dirty, clumping, perfumed or insufficient in quantity. 

3. Fear / Anxiety

A nervous cat or one that is kept entirely indoors may be threatened by changes to his environment like redecorating, moving furniture or even new people entering the house. Smells brought in on feet may be enough to trigger a feeling of insecurity and a need to spray. Redecorating effectively removes all the cat's subtle markings which have been carefully placed by rubbing and scratching, with the strong odour of new carpets, paint or furniture. Your cat has lost his ‘furnishing’ hence feels insecure and feels he needs to replace it. Sometimes if strangers are in a house a cat will urinate inappropriately rather than pass through a room with the stranger in to access the litter tray or outdoors.
Some cats feel intensely threatened by the presence of strangers and subsequently ‘mark' an area with a strong, familiar and reassuring scent eg your bed!

3.Multi-cat territorial situations.

Adding new cats to an established household can threaten resident cats, or upset the balance in a multi-cat household and induce spraying. Status challenge within a group can occur as the younger members reach social maturity between the ages of 18 months and four years thus upsetting the group dynamics. Spraying under these circumstances is almost always accompanied by a degree of passive or active aggression and intimidating behaviour that you the owner may not be aware of. There is generally a conflict over resources ie litter trays, feeding stations, rest areas or toys.

 

THE SOLUTION

  1. NEVER PUNISH YOUR CAT
  2. Always seek veterinary advice in cases of inappropriate urination in a cat that has normally been using a tray and/or going outside or if your cat is not passing normal solid faeces.

Please see the Kindle E-Book for more tips...

In a multicat household, if you are unsure which cat is urinating or defecating inappropriately you could

  1. Separate the cats into different areas of the house. This is probably easier said than done and can in itself affect behaviour!
  2. Use a video camera - either monitor the litter tray itself and eliminate potential offenders! Or, monitor the area that is most subject to the inappropriate elimination then you can catch the cat (or cats) in the act.

Please see the Kindle E-Book for more tips...

It is important to understand your cats thinking processes and we guarantee that by reading our Kindle E-Book you will have a head start. The most important factor in having a wonderful long term relationship with your cat is learning how they think. Get inside your cats head!

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