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What is the best way to discipline your cat?

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Hello -- My cat Sam is a 3 yr old neutered male. He was a stray that I picked up at approx 6 mos of age and he has been indoor since. About 2 mos ago, I moved out-of-state with Sam and a new roommate. Sam had met her before, but she had never been a "permanent resident".

Two issues have come up and I am wondering how best to treat them, and both revolve around urinating outside the litter box.

First, we have been trying to get Sam to be a nicer cat and follow some basic rules (TRYING is the key word here). It seems whenever either of us try to tell Sam not to do something he really wants to do (going outside, for example), he will pee on something belonging to that person. Usually it is a towel or item of clothing on the floor.

Secondly, there are times when I am paying more attention to my roommate than Sam, such as when she comes home from work. It appears that Sam is getting jealous of my interaction with her and will immediately urinate on something of hers.

A few things to note:
Sam has never peed on something NOT lying on the floor.
Sam seems to know this action is wrong, because he hides when we find where he peed.

-- Jason
 

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Jason,

first off, welcome to the forum

I can sort of relate to your problem. I have a friend whose cat has a similar behavior to yours. When the cat, it was a she, neutered, i believe, didn't like something the owner did, she peed outside of the litter box. My friend would *swear* on her life it wasn't an accident, the cat almost *knew* how undesirable this behavior was :(

In any case, she was never able to fix the behavior, ever. It was a pretty wild cat in the first place, so she just left it alone.

Maybe others will give actual advice ... other than that, good luck!
 

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First thing is to eliminate a medical problem as the cause of the urination. Your cat may have a UTI, so take him to the vet right away and get a urinalysis done. Stress can contribute to UTIs, so maybe moving in with your roomate has created a medical problem?

If it isn't medical, you want to check if there is something about the box that he doesn't like. How many boxes do you have? It's recommended to have one per cat + 1. So 2 in your case. Some cats like to pee in one and poop in the other. Also, does the box have a hood, if so, remove it. The hood can hold in some really nasty smells. How often do you scoop/completely change the litter. Many people recommend scooping 1-2 times a day and completely changing the litter every 2 weeks.

If these don't work, maybe he doesn't like the position of the box, or the type of litter you are using. These are things you can try changing.

If none of this works, it may be a behavioural thing. You may need to get your roomate to always pick up their things. You want to rule out any medical issues *first*, however.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Nile --

I just wanted to respond to a few of the things you said so it may clear thigns up. Sam's recently been to the vet so I can rule out UTI in this case (thank goodness). Also, he does have 2 litter boxes and used both normally. It seems as though he only urinates outside the box when he is having an attitude. The boxes do have hoods, though, but that is all he has ever had since I've been keeping him over 2-1/2 years ago.

I still feel very strongly that this is a behavior issue, but I will be talking with a vet at school today. Perhaps there is something I'm missing.
 

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Even though he went to the vet, did you get a urinalysis done while you were there? A UTI won't show up in a regular check-up, you have to get actual testing done. You always want to eliminate medical issues first, before looking at it as a behavioural problem.

If the urinalysis checks out fine, then you can start considering behavioural issues. Here are some great articles that may give you some insight into your situation:
http://www.littlebigcat.com/index.php?action=library&act=show&item=006
http://www.littlebigcat.com/index.php?action=library&act=show&item=litterboxsecretspartii
http://www.littlebigcat.com/index.php?action=library&act=show&item=litterboxsecretspartiii
http://www.littlebigcat.com/index.php?action=library&act=show&item=litterboxsecretspartiv
 

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Well, Queen, you stole the words right out of my...um...keyboard?! :lol:

I do want to point out that cats do not urinate for spite, revenge, anger, jealousy, or any other *human* motives. However, they always have a reason. It is often a cry for help, for reasons that may be medical, social, or territorial.

Punishment is never appropriate, especially for this problem. Why not? See:
http://www.littlebigcat.com/index.php?a ... tbehavior1
If he is already stressed (and there's no doubt about that!), random punishment will only make him feel less secure and worsen the problem.

Keep us posted on your progress!

Cheers,
Dr. Jean
 

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drjean said:
Well, Queen, you stole the words right out of my...um...keyboard?! :lol:

I do want to point out that cats do not urinate for spite, revenge, anger, jealousy, or any other *human* motives. However, they always have a reason. It is often a cry for help, for reasons that may be medical, social, or territorial.

Punishment is never appropriate, especially for this problem. Why not? See:
http://www.littlebigcat.com/index.php?a ... tbehavior1
If he is already stressed (and there's no doubt about that!), random punishment will only make him feel less secure and worsen the problem.

Keep us posted on your progress!

Cheers,
Dr. Jean
I wanted to emphasize on Dr. Jean's statement because a lot of times I have seen posts where people ask how to control their cats behaviour.
Please take note of *our own* vet's experience and never punish your kitties regardless of the reason you think you should do so - be it scratching, biting, urinating other than the litter box(es), etc
I doubt that even time out will work out - the kitty has to be shown an alternative to her/his behaviour and practice all the time. That only if it is a behavioural problem, of course

Sorry about the slight detour - I just think it is important

I hope your kitty will get better, Rubaru
 

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When I had my son 8 years ago my cat Max peed all over the new baby clothes stacked in the corner after the baby shower. It was right after my son was born. I definitely wasn't giving as much attention to my kitty as I had been. The baby took Max's place in the bed - so that would be an example of territorial behavior...? Max never did it again but I always wondered why he did it. :(
 

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That would probably be territorial marking; something new coming into the house that he felt the need to say "this belongs to ME and MY house!" 8O

Cheers,
Dr. Jean
 
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