Cat lovers know that felines are truly amazing creatures and that cleanliness is an integral part of their being. Using the litter box is a completely natural thing for them to do when ‘nature calls.’ Sometimes, however, something goes wrong and they pee here and there in the house. Why is that?
Your cat’s behaviour may sometimes seem odd, but there is always a reason behind it. If your cat suddenly urinates in places other than the litter box, there’s something amiss. In actual fact, urine is not just a physiological need but a very real means of communication cats use when they have something to say. So when you find little ‘messages’ where you least expect (or want) them, it’s time to find out what your cat is trying to tell you.
There is a wide variety of reasons why your cat may suddenly ignore the box, and they all stem from something bothering your cat. One such bother may be the presence of other felines in the home. Cats are prone to urinating here and there when they live with other cats. And when a new cat joins the household or when a group of cats lives together under one roof, the action is a classic territorial marker. The dominant cat will spray or leave ‘markers’ in order to tell the others that the territory is his or hers. It’s a way of saying Look out, I’m the boss here!
Not only, but cats are creatures of habit. They are not fond of change. Every time something out of the ordinary takes places it threatens the status quo and upsets their routine. If you bring home some new piece of furniture, cover some household appliance or even change your perfume your cat perceives it as a threat to its territory and its instinct is to remind you that, like it or not, your house is still his domain!
The reasons for the protest can often be much less profound. Cats are, by their very nature, clean animals and they cringe at nasty smells. If they don’t like the type of litter in their box, or if the box needs to be cleaned or changed, they may well do their ‘business’ elsewhere until something is done about it. All you have to do, if this turns out to be the case, is to clean or change the litter box more often. Cats are not the only ones who like a nice, clean bathroom!
If, on the other hand, your cat pees around the house to mark its territory, the cure is a bit more complicated. You’ll have to find a way to lessen the reasons for the territorial battle by, for example, giving each cat its own bed to sleep in. Being imbued with its own odours, it reassures the cat of its dominance. Their food bowls should also be kept separate so that each one has his or her very own dish. Not only, but you can prevent stress by making sure there is a litter box for each resident feline plus an extra one, that is, 2 cats = 3 litter boxes, 3 = 4 etc…
Finally, considering that territoriality is closely linked to sexuality, it is a good idea to sterilise your felines, and not just because it will prevent them from peeing around the house. Another tactic is to make your cat’s favourite alternative peeing spot less appealing by spraying it with lemon juice. Or place its food bowl near it, seeing as they won’t spoil the area where they eat.
Remember, do not use punishment (also because it has little or no effect on cats). Be patient, try to understand and use good judgement. Even the most hard-headed of cats can be potty trained!