Peeing outside the box - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-27-2011, 12:53 PM Thread Starter
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Peeing outside the box

So, I'm in college and my parents are taking care of all the animals at home. Mom called this morning and said one of the cats has been peeing in random places. It's recent because I talked to dad a week ago and he didn't mention anything at that time. I asked if they are keeping the box clean (Neko has in the past peed or pooped beside the box if it is filthy) and they say they are. So I said they should take him to the vet in case it's an infection. However they do not know which cat is doing it and can in no way afford to bring both cats for a visit let alone for tests. So how does one find out which cat is peeing out of place?


Now it could be behavioral. I'm not sure if I would rather it be behavioral or medical to be honest.
As some background info...The cats were mainly cared for by me before college, however I have been in college since September and they have been fine. I've been told Willie has been a little off since I left, but they could just be imagining it. My most recent visit home was three weeks ago, he seemed happy and healthy. Two weeks before I left for college we got a puppy, Tucker, I chihuahua/terrier mix. They all got along very well at first, learned to play even. However in the last three months or so he's begun picking on Willie. He'll try it with Neko but Neko is very imposing so it doesn't get very far. So Tucker turns his attentions to Willie and just constantly tries to play with him. He'll shove him, jump on him, get in his face, bark at him, and just poke him in the head over and over and over. If Willie swats is excites him further. I've been told it's getting worse, if Willie is on the ground Tucker is almost always in his face. Unfortunately my parents are too lazy to do anything except yell at him and probably shove him with a foot when they get really ticked and probably only after the dog's been allowed to attempt to play for several minutes. By that time the dog already got to have a grand old time pestering Willie so just wants to do it more. I plan on dealing with this when I go home for a week in March, I've told them to leash him in the house but they won't for some reason.
Dad thinks this is causing Willie to pee out of the box. However the box is in my bedroom which the dog cannot get into because there is a gate. I would think he'd WANT to pee in there where it is safe.

To go along with all the dog stuff since we got him Neko has been able to steal his kibble, he bullies the dog away from his bowl and takes it. If you're in the next room you'll hear Tucker start barking and come in to find Neko shoving his face. Anything Tucker leaves behind in the bowl is snarfed down by Neko as quickly as possible. When I am home I do not allow it, I'll stand in the kitchen for the entire meal to prevent him from doing it, but when I am gone they are busy getting ready for work or whatever and don't want to stand and keep guard, so Neko is getting kibble (normally he only gets wet food). He has even started to gain some weight from it. I don't know if the kibble could be causing anything, it's not the bulk of what he getting or anything, he still eats his wet food.

More recently, maybe two weeks ago, dad got a new cat tree for them. Dad really likes it, it is made to look like it has real branches and is really tall, I have not seen it yet. He got it from someone he was building a house for, I think it's a used cat tree. It is in my bedroom. I am told they both perch on it. Could smell from the previous cats cause him to be doing this?


I just wish I was home, I know them so much better than my parents do. So I guess I could just use some advice.
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-27-2011, 01:04 PM
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If something changes at home my Siamese will pee somewhere he's not supposed to. Like he's mad. If we leave town for too long, he pees. After we brought home the baby, he peed. He gets over it after a couple days, but he doesn't like change. It's been a long time since he's done it since nothing has changed. It could also be some kind of infection like you said. I hope you get it figured out!
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-27-2011, 05:32 PM
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I think in this situation it is possible for it to be both stress and medical.

Dog food is very bad for cats. They have different dietary needs so their food is made up of different ingredients and amounts. There is an extreme possibility that one of the cats has a UTI as a result of getting into food that it shouldn't. I've known of 2 cats that were getting into dog food and both got UTI's from it. As you already know your parents need to feed the dog in a separate place and when the dog is done the food needs to be immediately picked up. It is a health issue for the cats.

I also think the new dog is causing stress. Dogs are pack animals that work with a pecking order. The new dog is going to be trying to figure out where he fits in. Tucker would not have done this immediately because he was observing what the current order is. Now that he has an idea he is now trying to assert himself where he feels he should fit. It is natural for a dog to try to dominate anyone in the pack he can to try to be as high up as possible. Cats do not understand this because they are not this way. It sounds to me like Tucker thinks he is higher up in the pack order then the cats and is asserting himself over them. This is going to cause the cats a lot of stress. Your parents may be unknowingly doing things that reinforce to Tucker that he is indeed higher up then the cats. It is extremely important that the cats place in the pack are raised as higher then Tucker's. Cats do not think like dogs and will do things perceived as insulate to a dog. They might become repeat offenders causing stress in Tucker and creating an environment for potential aggression. It is extremely important for you parents to get a grasp on this in my opinion. I highly highly recommend they do some research regarding pack mentality in dogs. This is a Tucker problem. The sooner they correct this the easier it will be to fix.

That being said I think the way to figure out which cat is spraying is to separate one temporarily . It is possible that both of them are the culprits! Obviously the first thing I would recommend is a vet visit. Things also need to be done to reduce their stress. I definitely recommend Feliway in this situation to help reduce the cats anxiety. Tucker needs to be worked with and the cats stress reduced. Cats do not spray out of vengeance or anger, but out of stress or medical. Cats do not seek vengeance with humans or each other. You sound very knowledgeable OP and it seems that you already know much about spraying and it's causes I truly hope that your parents take an active interest in fixing this. These are what I would recommend.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-27-2011, 07:27 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks you both for the advice. I do not personally feel Tucker is trying to do anything involving a hierarchy, I understand a lot of people stand behind dogs as pack animals who see relationships in terms of hierarchy but I am not someone who thinks that way, I feel most dog behavior is simpler than that, it's simply a matter of them doing what gives them pleasure at the moment and avoiding that which does not or is unpleasant. Based on what I've seen I am of the belief that Tucker honestly just wants to play with the cat, and the cat wants no such thing. But Tucker simply doesn't care, if Willie will not play Tucker will simply play with him anyways. He doesn't understand that he can't always play with the cats, that sometimes they can say no. Willie is simply a fun play-thing to Tucker. Tucker uses very good bite inhibition when playing with the cats, there has never been ANY pain or injury (well not for the cats anyway, he's yet out a few yelps) but is it still obnoxious behavior. He is a very high energy dog, he CONSTANTLY needs to be doing something and this is a manifestation of that. If he is not being played with, trained, exercised, or occupied with a new or treat dispensing toy, he is getting into trouble. He is not getting enough exercise, he's not getting daily training sessions as he should, and he should not be given as much freedom as he is. I just can't wait until I get home. I think he is absolutely fabulous, would be a great agility dog, unfortunately he may not have been the best pick for my parents, but that's the risk of getting a puppy from a shelter.

However I do agree, regardless of reasoning behind the behavior, that it must be stopped, so I'm with you there. I know quite a bit about dog training and behavior, it is a passion of mine, so I know what I will do. It's just a matter of either completely fixing it in the short time I am home in March, or trying to get my parents to continue once I'm gone as I'd rather it not wait until May when I come home for the summer if it is stressing Willie out this much.

If it is not medical I will get some feliway as well to see if that reduces the stress. I think simply getting Tucker to leave Willie alone will be enough if that is indeed the problem. Willie is not otherwise fearful of the dog, he comes up to him, rubs him, flops on the ground in front of him, lays near him, etc. The dog is just annoying as heck lol. So I think if the dog is the issue, just stopping that one behavior will fix it.

I just hope I can find out what is indeed the problem and that there is a relatively easy, or at least simple, fix.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-27-2011, 08:25 PM
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I apologize if I in any way made it sound like Tucker wasn't wonderful. I'm not saying you thought that, I just want to make sure My statements and beliefs on dogs are based off of what I was taught at Canine Assistants, a great company that breeds and trains service dogs. I have no doubt you will do a great job and get your kitties and Tucker happy and co existing beautifully. Best of luck!
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-27-2011, 09:47 PM Thread Starter
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Oh no, I wasn't offended or anything, I'm just used to angry dog forum arguments about dominance (and then all the abusive things many people do in an attempt to be dominant) and whatnot, I guess I jump on it quick lol. I apologize for being snippy.

Oh and I forgot to mention that their litter box is new too. In January I switched from a standard litterbox (it was 6 years old actually) to a larger rubbermaid storage container. I thought they'd like it because it was so much bigger, a little higher but nothing inconvenient. I don't know if that has anything to do with it.


I will tell them to buy an enzymatic cleaner. I made them do it when we got Tucker, they used it for a while but eventually, after they ran out of a bottle, they just started using regular cleaner which I didn't object to as it was only for poop and only on the hard kitchen floor, not carpet.

Yes we must find out who the culprit is. The thing is I don't know how often it is happening or if the cat is ONLY going outside the box or is using it sometimes and not others. For all I know it's been two incidents in a week. I'll have to get more information from my parents. How long would you keep them apart before deciding the free one isn't the culprit?

Separating may be difficult. My room is their place. It has the litterbox, their cat trees, that is where they eat, and it is a no dog zone (however so is the basement and my brothers room, the two other places they've found pee). Plus Willie has never been without Neko. I can just envision the hours of screaming that will take place at that door.

If it is medical how long can they wait for a vet visit?
Can a urine sample from both cats be brought to the vet instead of each cat? Or do they need to examine them?
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-27-2011, 10:54 PM
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If people are doing that then they are completely abusing the privilege of understanding a dogs mind. People should seek to understand how a dog's world works and then use that to positively train their dog and build a deeper relationship with him/her, not use it to bend a dog to their will using an iron fist. I would consider what they are doing damaging manipulation. How sad I can see why that would upset you! I'm sorry that that is such a heated thing and that you've gone through that.

I know Canine Assistance uses pack mentality to positively train their dogs. They say that dogs generally don't long to be alpha, that they have security in knowing that they have a confident and loving leader. A leader perceived as insecure makes a dog then feel insecure and therefore forced to step up. A wonderful leader makes them feel taken care of, knowing that they can trust that person to protect them and provide them with all of their needs. So they teach how to be a confident leader that gives the dog security, and that by showing yourself as such a leader that the dog will long to please that leader. They compared it to a parent/child relationship. That a child feels secure and very loved when they have parents that are leading them and show confidence that they can care for them. Children that feel like they have to be the ones to take care of their parents are often stressed and don't have the most positive relationship with them generally. But a good parent would lovingly guide, not be a mean commander. They taught that you never to hit, yell at, or use force against a dog. This positive training builds a relationship of loving service between dog and human. That is one of my favorite things about dogs. They have such a humble servant attitude and loyalty and I feel that a dog owner is equally obligated to return such. Dogs are such selfless creatures. Ugh now I feel all fired up at those people too No apology needed, I could see how that subject could get very heated very fast.

A change in litter box can affect it. Sometimes cats will not use a box based off of location, type of litter used, or type of box. I've met cats who won't use a covered box. Have they been defecating outside of the box as well?

As far as separating them I would do it just for a couple of days. It shouldn't take long to see which one it is. I wouldn't separate them until you get them both looked at by the vet though to rule out medical. They may not like it. It is also possible that they might enjoy a break to just be by themselves with all that is going on. Unfortunately I can't predict that. This is only if you want to figure out exactly which one is doing the spraying. I see nothing wrong with just treating the situation like both are spraying and seeking ways to reduce stress in both.

I would try to get a urine sample to take in with you. You can call a vet to see if they would like you to take a urine sample and drop it off or bring the cats in. Chances are they will ask you to bring them in to examine them. I can't give you an answer on how long seeing a vet can wait only because I can't tell you exactly what the issue is. I suspect UTI, but I have no proof whatsoever.

I hope that I've been of help in some way!
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-28-2011, 01:45 PM
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What I've done to get urine samples is use plastic litter. The vet gave it to me, and it is just black plastic pellets. You would have to separate the cats just until each urinated in the box to get a sample of each. But then the cat goes in the box, feels it has covered it up, and you pour your sample into the tube. The plastic doesn't taint or affect the urine sample in any way. I've never seen anywhere that you can purchase it (perhaps someone else does). My vet just gave me a ziploc baggy full of it. I know it is what they use in their clinic when they have to get samples of cats staying overnight.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-28-2011, 04:24 PM
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You could try cat attract cat litter, and feliway diffusers for the stress.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-01-2011, 04:07 PM
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I am not sure if the cat(s) who are peeing use the same areas repeatedly or even the same room or not. We were having a problem with a cat peeing problem, usually in the same area / spots. I bought a 15 dollar logitech webcam, and taped it to the wall directed at the problem area. Recorded 24/7 until a pee spot was found. Then went through the recording to figure out which cat it was. It usually occured during the night or day while we were asleep or at work. So it usually was only 8 hours of tape to go through. Fast forwarding through the video took 20 minutes to analyze the video. Figured out which one cat it was out of four and dealt with it accordingly. This was the only way we could figure it out. With 4 cats, you cant guess which one it was.
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