I wrote this some time ago as a response for someone else but the information remains relevant and lately I seem to be getting a LOT of use out of it. First get a UTI exam/sample for diagnosis and proceed from there with pursuing any behavioral or environment issues, but the UTI *must* be ruled out FIRST. If your cat(s) is/are male, just replace she/her with he/him.
I apologize if this sounds blunt, it isn’t meant to be, it is simply the most expedient way for me to share all of the information you need to be informed.
Inapropriate Urination / UTI
The NUMBER ONE REASON CATS PEE INAPPROPRIATELY = Urinary Tract Inflamation. (UTI)
Diagnosis is with a vet checking a urine sample. There is no other way to diagnose this medical problem. Depending on diagnosis (infection, inflamation, crystals) treatment can include antibiotics, anti-inflamatories and/or a diet change to help get more moisture into their elimination systems.
Cats are naturally neat and tidy animals.
They *know* what a litterbox is for.
If a cat is not using their litterbox they are trying to *tell you something* and you need to listen.
AFTER a veterinary visit and UTI has been eliminated as a problem, then you can move on to examining other areas:
Is the cat spayed/neutered? ...unaltered cats can develop UTIs due to hormonal changes from instinctual mating behavior...
Has the home been stressful for the cat? ...cats can develop UTIs due to stress...
Does the cat like the litterbox? ...open-tray, hooded, deep enough litter, large enough box...
Does the cat like the location of the litterbox? ...is it in a quiet area, low traffic and no sudden noises...
Does the cat like the litter used? ...some cats prefer different litters...
Does the cat approve of how clean the litterbox is kept for it? ...many cats will refuse to use 'dirty', and especially *smelly* litterboxes...
Are the litterboxes arranged in such a manner as they cannot become a trap? ... some multi cat households can have a problem with another cat either guarding the LBs or waiting to ambush a cat exiting a LB in an effort to play
Cats WANT to use a litterbox to hide their waste. If they are not, it is because there is some sort of problem and avoiding the litterbox is The Only Way for the cat to tell you It Is Having A Problem.
If you and your family are annoyed at this behavior, imagine how *frustrating* and *painful* this is for your cat, who is trying to tell you in every way she has available to her: She Is Having A Problem. UTI's are painful and the kitty tries to find places to pee where maybe it *won't* be painful, like soft piles of clothes, bedding and rugs. When the pain *still* isn't going away by peeing on soft things, they start to pee on 'smooth' things like floors, tables, sinks, tubs, stoves and countertops. IMO, when a cat reaches the point of peeing *right in front of you while looking you in the eyes* ... please don't get upset, the kitty is simply trying to tell you she has something wrong with her.
After medical treatment, diet can play a large role in helping to keep UTI's at bay; more moisture, as in a wet food or RAW diet. Even a better quality dry food and not feeding "McKittyCrack" (which is what I call grocery-store available catfoods) can help the kitty stay healthy. There are plenty of topics in the Health/Nutrition Forums to help you find a good catfood and/or diet for your kitty during and after treatment.
Good luck, we really *want* you to be able to help your kitty. Please let us know how things go...the information you share could help other people in similar situations, too.
Last edited by marie73; 12-03-2010 at 02:27 AM.