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About a month ago, one of our cats, Allegro, started to urinate in three different corners of the living room, on the carpet. He's a little over 2 years old, and this is the first time that he or the other two cats have done this.

After he did it the first time, we immediately called the vet and got his urine tested. He didn't have an infection, but red blood cells were found in his urine, along with a small amount of struvite crystals.

He had been eating Wellness Core dry food with occasional grain-free canned food, so we switched the three cats to all-canned food with water added in. We got a ceramic water fountain to encourage him to drink more. He continued to pee in the living room, and it was always when we were there--usually when both of us were in the living room. He doesn't seem to be doing it when we are at work or asleep. He's not spraying--he's squatting, the way a female dog urinates--and he's not straining to go. We've been cleaning up the urine with vinegar and Urine Destroyer.

We brought him back in 2 weeks later to the vet for an X-ray (to check for a stone) and another urine test. Negative X-ray, totally clean urine--no more blood or crystals (at least the canned food and water fountain were helping with that). The vet suggested that it was behavioral.

We haven't had any household changes. The 3 cats have always shared two very large litter boxes (they are those gigantic rubbermaid storage containers with an entrance cut into the side--very high walls, no cover). They've always seemed to like the Tidy Cats power blend clumping litter (dark blue lid). The boxes are scooped daily, and they're never very full. They'd been totally fine with this routine and set-up for 2 years without any accidents or problems. Regardless, we got all-new litter boxes (now there are 4 boxes), added Cat Attract litter on top of all of them, and started scooping twice a day. Despite all of that, Allegro urinated in the living room again last night.

The vet thought stress might be the cause. Allegro gets along very well with both his sister Coda and the third cat we adopted a year and a half ago, Forte. However, Coda and Forte have never been very friendly with each other, because Coda doesn't really like any other cat besides Allegro. It took us months of a slow integration process until Coda and Forte could even be in the same room together without stalking each other and fighting (in a bad way, not a playful way). Now, they just tolerate each other, and will even both be on my lap at the same time, but usually at least once every day, Coda will hiss, swipe, and growl at Forte if he comes near her when she doesn't want him to. On a few occasions, we've seen Coda hiss at Allegro, and it seems to be redirected aggression. The vet first wondered if Coda or Forte were dominating the litter boxes, or if they were fighting near them, causing Allegro to want to avoid the area...but when Allegro has urinated in the living room, Coda and Forte were always both in the living room or adjoining kitchen area, and not blocking his path to the loft and spare bathroom whatsoever.

After the urinating last night, we broke down and moved one of the litter boxes from the loft to the living room, into the corner where he urinates the most. We've never wanted a litter box there because it's the room you first walk into when you come in the front door, it's really one big room that includes the kitchen (and we really didn't want cats peeing and pooping right there while we prepared food and ate), and Forte likes to fling litter around when they exit, so there will be used litter all over the living room carpet, even if we vacuum daily.

Most importantly, I am actually somewhat allergic to cats (I didn't know this until after we adopted the third cat, since I had never lived with cats before and my symptoms didn't trigger until we had three around at once, but I decided that the allergies were mild enough that I'd just deal with them). I went to an allergist and take a pill each day for the symptoms. But cat urine and litter dust really aggravate my allergies, so having the box in the living room--even if scooped several times a day--basically cuts short the time I'm able to spend in my own house. I'm already having to retreat to the bedroom early each evening, which we fortunately kept as a cat-free zone. It is very upsetting to feel like I'm trapped in my bedroom, because all the additional litter boxes all over and the urine on the carpet are causing more severe allergy attacks. I broke down crying last night after Allegro's accident, because giving him up is not an option--no one wants a cat with litter box issues, and a rescue probably wouldn't accept him, and he'd get PTS in a shelter...plus, we'd never forgive ourselves, we love him so much.

No accident yet tonight--so far, so good ever since a litter box was moved downstairs. But it's too soon to claim success. We have a Feliway plug-in on order (they're 50% cheaper on Amazon!), along with Bach's Rescue Remedy, so we'll try those and see if it helps with any possible stress.

Sorry this was so long--I was trying to anticipate any questions you guys might have. Please let me know if you have any ideas. Thank you in advance!
 

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We haven't had any household changes. The 3 cats have always shared two very large litter boxes (they are those gigantic rubbermaid storage containers with an entrance cut into the side--very high walls, no cover). They've always seemed to like the Tidy Cats power blend clumping litter (dark blue lid). The boxes are scooped daily, and they're never very full. They'd been totally fine with this routine and set-up for 2 years without any accidents or problems. Regardless, we got all-new litter boxes (now there are 4 boxes), added Cat Attract litter on top of all of them, and started scooping twice a day. Despite all of that, Allegro urinated in the living room again last night.
Try putting one of the boxes on the spot where he's peeing. Seems odd that you don't want to get him to pee there, but perhaps if you can get him to pee in that box in that spot, you can gradually move the box to a different location very slowly.
 

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Try putting one of the boxes on the spot where he's peeing. Seems odd that you don't want to get him to pee there, but perhaps if you can get him to pee in that box in that spot, you can gradually move the box to a different location very slowly.
We already did last night, in the corner where he's gone the most. There's no room for a box in the other two corners, though--one is right behind the TV (it's a space not too much wider than he is) and one is in a narrow place between a couch and an armchair (and there's really no way to move the furniture for anything longer than a vaccuuming--it's a fairly small room, and there's literally no other place to move the couch or chair without putting them in the dead center of the room, which would be such a change (the couch and chair are favorite sleeping places of the cats) that it would probably add more stress than help.

We don't have a big house, and most of it is an open floor plan, so we're severely limited on possible litter box places.
 

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I suggest you go to an online bookstore and find a book on cat behavior for advice. Which is what I had wished I'd done but I had no idea there were so many helpful books available.

She's been gone several years now but when my Maine **** hit 10 years old she decided overnight she didn't like her litter box set-up any more. One day it was fine, next day it was intolerable. Now the litter had to be cleaned before she would use it again and food had to be far away. Took me a while to figure this out. By then I had to go through a litter training period -sort of like toilet training a toddler-lots of praise when deposits were made and she got a treat. Then for the next seven years she would find me and give me a little reminding bite that she had used the litter and wanted her treat!

Your cat is not being bad or anything, she is trying to tell you something is wrong. Cat politics can be complicated and odds are one of the other cats has done something to trigger this. Allegro might not be the problem; she just has the symptom.
 

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It seems to me there is enough tension between Coda and Allegro, that is upsetting him enough that he's "marking" the corners of the livingroom as his territory. Allegro needs to be retrained.

Do you have a large size wire dog crate, or can you borrow one for a while, or get one on kijiji/Craig's List or some such place? These are collapsible and are terrific for retraining or rehabilitation. Confne him to the crate with a smaller litter pan when you can't be in the room supervising him all the time. Feed all his meals (2x/day) and any treats locked in the crate (no free freeding of food left out to nibble on). You want him to feel that this is his safe haven. Let him out of the crate after he pees in his litter box. If you can't find a crate, you can use a bathroom, or other room that doesn't have carpet, but a crate is better as you can set it up where most of the action is so he doesn't feel isolated. When you do see him use the litter pan, lavish praise on him verbally and occasionally with a treat. When you do let him out of the crate, spend time playing with him and the other cats....one of those interactive fishing-pole type of toys is good (like "Da Bird"). After playing give them all treats. Groom him every day away from the other cats in the bathroom with door closed. In fact you can do that with each cat. This makes them feel special when they get all your attention and is good for bonding. If after a few weeks, he's at the point where he's uses the box every time in the crate, and you think he may be ready for complete freedom.....put some aluminium foil sheets in the corners. Leave the crate with the door open and continue to feed him there. Hopefully he will have gained some confidence and feel Coda's no longer a threat. Good luck!
 
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