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Unread 07-20-2009   #1 (permalink)
chrizjonez
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Default Why has my cat started spraying/peeing?

Hi! I have two 6-year-old female cats that are littermates. Maya and Zora. Zora is the orange tabby with major personality (good and bad) and is the one that I caught spraying the backyard fence about two months ago. I saw her back up to it, wiggle her tail and then walk away, leaving the fence with a wet spot on it. I got a little worried when I saw her do that outside thinking that she might decide to do it inside but I figured she was just marking her territory (she and a neighbor cat have territory issues, mostly Zora invading the neighbor’s). But yesterday I found a laundry basket full of clean, folded clothes had been peed on! The basket was on my bedroom floor for about a week (I was in bed sick all week) so I’m not sure when it was done, who did it or why but my guess is that it was Zora. I have had them since they were 5 months old and the only times I’ve had a problems with them going outside of the box is when I’m out of town; one time the sitter “forgot” to clean the box and the other two times I think one of them were just mad at me and decided to pee on the dryer. Come to think of it, it was that laundry basket that was on the dryer when they peed on it….

Do I have something to worry about? Does Zora (assuming she’s the culprit) think she can pee anywhere now? If so, how do I stop her? I bleached the laundry basket yesterday in hopes of removing any “scent” that may have been left.

Also, my home office also acts as their room, where their automatic feeder, scratching posts and window bench are. Every once in a while I swear that rooms smells like pee but I can’t find the source. The hardwoods have been mopped…Does anyone know of a way of detecting cat pee assuming my nose fails me? I keep a clean house and although I’ve admitted I might be a little bit of a crazy cat lady, I don’t want to be the one that can’t smell cat pee in her own home!

Help!
 
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Unread 07-20-2009   #2 (permalink)
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Hello and welcome to the forum!

As a general rule, anytime there is inappropriate urination, it usually means the kitty is sick. Either she has a UTI (urinary tract infection) or is forming crystals in her urine, or both.

So I always advise a trip to the vet first. Bring her with a full bladder, so the vet can get a sample, they take it right from the bladder, this does not hurt the cat.

Bleach may make the problem worse as it can resemble the smell of pee.

The only way to find ALL the pee spots is to get a black light and go over everything.

You will need an enzymatic cleaner to remove the odor. Even if you can't smell it, she can. Many people recommend Nature's Miracle, but there are several other cleaners out there that are good, too. One man I know swears by plain white vinegar.

Yes, if she has peed in the laundry basket before and then smells her own pee, she may pee there again.

The peeing on the fence sounds territorial, but inside the house, in odd places does not.

Cats don't pee in the wrong place because they are angry at you, they pee there because something is not right with their worlds, and they don't have any other way to communicate that.

(an example was when their boxes didn't get cleaned. They didn't refuse to use the box because they were angry, but because the box was dirty and they didn't like it)

What is wrong is what has to be determined, and the first thing to do is rule out, or treat, illness. If she does have a UTI or crystal formation, that is treatable, with antibiotics (UTI) and diet (crystals). Because there may be a lot of spots, some retraining may be necessary after she is healthy again. Part of that depends on if you can remove all the odors.

If she gets a clean bill of health, other reasons have to be explored. Look for any changes, no matter how tiny, that may have caused her stress. (by the way stress can cause illness such as UTIs and bladder infections)

Even a change in your laundry detergent, if it's something she doesn't like the smell of, could cause her to react, cats are that sensitive. Other things such as new person in the house, or someone gone, new furniture, new litter, new routine (such as if your daily schedule changed drastically) new cat outside (something you can't control of course)the list can be limitless.

I realize this is a very long post, but there's a lot to cover when a kitty is peeing inappropriately!

Once health is determined and possible cause, and all spots of urine removed, we can help you with retraining, if it is necessary.

If it turns out to be territorial or other stress related, feliway plug in diffusers can help a lot.

.
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Unread 07-20-2009   #3 (permalink)
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Default how many boxes?

by the way, how many litter boxes do you have? It may be as simple as adding a couple more. Many cats don't like to share, and just like anyone else, can develop a like or dislike at any stage in their lives.

Also many cats prefer one box for pee and one for poop.

Boxes should be scooped at least twice a day, and dumped and scrubbed once a week. (I am not implying that you do not keep the litter boxes clean. I'm sure you do. I post that info for general purposes only. Some people really don't understand that cats hate dirty litter boxes)
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Unread 07-21-2009   #4 (permalink)
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Great advice acerlt!
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Unread 07-21-2009   #5 (permalink)
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Great advice acerlt!
As usual!
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Unread 07-21-2009   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by acerlt View Post
Hello and welcome to the forum!

As a general rule, anytime there is inappropriate urination, it usually means the kitty is sick. Either she has a UTI (urinary tract infection) or is forming crystals in her urine, or both.

So I always advise a trip to the vet first. Bring her with a full bladder, so the vet can get a sample, they take it right from the bladder, this does not hurt the cat.

Bleach may make the problem worse as it can resemble the smell of pee.

The only way to find ALL the pee spots is to get a black light and go over everything.

You will need an enzymatic cleaner to remove the odor. Even if you can't smell it, she can. Many people recommend Nature's Miracle, but there are several other cleaners out there that are good, too. One man I know swears by plain white vinegar.

Yes, if she has peed in the laundry basket before and then smells her own pee, she may pee there again.

The peeing on the fence sounds territorial, but inside the house, in odd places does not.

Cats don't pee in the wrong place because they are angry at you, they pee there because something is not right with their worlds, and they don't have any other way to communicate that.

(an example was when their boxes didn't get cleaned. They didn't refuse to use the box because they were angry, but because the box was dirty and they didn't like it)

What is wrong is what has to be determined, and the first thing to do is rule out, or treat, illness. If she does have a UTI or crystal formation, that is treatable, with antibiotics (UTI) and diet (crystals). Because there may be a lot of spots, some retraining may be necessary after she is healthy again. Part of that depends on if you can remove all the odors.

If she gets a clean bill of health, other reasons have to be explored. Look for any changes, no matter how tiny, that may have caused her stress. (by the way stress can cause illness such as UTIs and bladder infections)

Even a change in your laundry detergent, if it's something she doesn't like the smell of, could cause her to react, cats are that sensitive. Other things such as new person in the house, or someone gone, new furniture, new litter, new routine (such as if your daily schedule changed drastically) new cat outside (something you can't control of course)the list can be limitless.

I realize this is a very long post, but there's a lot to cover when a kitty is peeing inappropriately!

Once health is determined and possible cause, and all spots of urine removed, we can help you with retraining, if it is necessary.

If it turns out to be territorial or other stress related, feliway plug in diffusers can help a lot.

.
Thanks so much for all of your suggestions. I hesitate to take her to the vet because it’s only been the one time in the laundry basket and the other two times has been over a period of 1-½ years or so. If she had a UTI issue, wouldn’t her peeing outside of the box be more frequent? My hope is that it’s an isolated incident but as you mentioned…cat’s don’t go outside of their box unless something is wrong. That’s why I’m a little concerned.

There have been no changes in the household with the exception of my schedule…I was in bed that whole week sick so I don’t know if that weirded her out??

I used the Clorox spray on the basket hoping to get rid of the smell…I didn’t think it would make it worse. I have heard that ammonia shouldn’t be used to clean cat pee so I don’t use that. With the exception of the bathroom and kitchen, my entire house has hardwood floors so I only use white vinegar and water to clean them.

I think what I will do is remove EVERYTHING from that room and clean from bottom to top to ensure there isn’t any old pee stains. I’ll use the enzymatic cleaner you suggested. (can I get it at Petco?) I’m not positive that that’s what the smell is and I don’t think either of them go potty in there (maybe the did once).

What are feliway plug in diffusers? Do they help with stress or something?

Again, thanks for all of your input, I'll check out those links too.
 
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Unread 07-21-2009   #7 (permalink)
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Oh, and I have tried the two boxes before when I’ve been out of town and they completely filled one and totally ignored the other. I guess I could try a different location for a second box but my house is really small so I don’t really have any other place for a 2nd box…
 
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Unread 07-21-2009   #8 (permalink)
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I agree with Acerit. Please do go to the vet before you try anything else.
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