Inappropriate urination (which is the official name for peeing on furniture, carpet, floors, piles of clothing, or anywhere that is inappropriate) is a subject that is not savory. But it’s very important. I receive dozens of questions each week on this topic, both online and as a practicing veterinarian. Few things can be more damaging to the bond between pet and human. So, although I have touched on this subject before in this space, I think it’s important enough to cover again.
Inappropriate urination has two root causes: medical problems and behavioral issues.
Medical problems include such maladies as bladder infections (by far the most common cause of inappropriate urination), diabetes, kidney disease, certain hormonal conditions, sphincter control issues, and conditions in which the bladder becomes irritated or inflamed (including bladder stones, growths in the bladder, and a syndrome called FLUTD). Basic urine and blood tests (and sometimes X-rays) can identify most of these problems. Because any of these conditions can be painful at the least, and life-threatening in the worst case, any pet that urinates inappropriately more than a few times should see a vet.
If your vet runs the proper tests and does not discover a medical problem, then he or she will likely recommend treating the situation through behavioral modification. Tactics may include adding extra litter boxes, changing the size or type of boxes in the house, or changing litters. Stress often triggers inappropriate urination (even though most cats I know have very nice lives, they still can experience stress), so your vet may recommend steps to eliminate stress or reduce strife between cats in the house. In severe instances, antidepressant drugs may help with the situation, but I recommend these only as a last resort.
The long and short of it is that I recommend you have your vet evaluate your cat. It is what’s best for your cat, and for your furniture.
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