MEDICAL CONDITION OR UNWANTED BEHAVIOR
Urine marking in cats can be caused by medical conditions such as urinary tract infections, diabetes, renal failure, arthritis, neuromuscular dieases and urinary tract diseases. To determine if your cat has a medical condition causing inappropriate urination, a detailed history and lab tests are usually required. Most cases can be either solved completely or at least much improved by utilizing various treatments.
But urine marking can also have behavioral causes. Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disorder, (FLUTD), is inappropriate urination or urine marking in cats that do not have medical conditions but are overly sensitive, anxious or in a stressful environment. A simple change in an owners schedule can stress some cats enough to cause FLUTD. For healthy cats, urine marking is usually seen in male cats or cats from multiple cat households. Aggressive interactions between cats both inside and outside can be influencing factors in urine marking. Limited access to the outdoors and the ratio of litter boxes to cats in the home is also a significant factor in urine marking.
Things that will help:
For multiple cat households, increase the number of litter pans to one litter pan per cat, plus 1 extra litter pan. Each cat in a multi cat household should have their own food and water dishes. Remove waste from litter pans daily and change all litter once a week. Add canned food to the cat's diet. Use an enzyme cleaner (e.g. Urine Off, Nature's Miracle for Cate Urine, etc) where marking has occurred. Using pheromones, (e.g. Feliway) can also help decrease and in some cases, eliminate urine marking. Pheromone products should be used for at least four weeks for a change in behavior to occur.
Substrate and Location Preferences:
For some cats the type of litter used is very important, this is called a substrate preference, it is especially seen in long haired breeds although it can be seen in any breed of cat. Try different types of litter to see if your cat prefers one type over another. A substrate preference can emerge spontaneously or be triggered by a stressful situation, such as the litter box not being changed frequently enough. Changing the type of litter can be a trial and error situation but may remedy the problem.
A location preference is when the cat likes to urinate or defecate in places other than its litter box. True location preferences can be the easiest elimination problems to solve. Thoroughly clean the area where your cat has been urinating or defecating and place a litter box in that spot. If this is an area that is not appropriate for a litter pan, try moving the pan to a location that is similar, i.e.; tiled floor, no windows nearby, etc. If your cat continues to eliminate in the same spot, put the litter pan in that spot and then slowly over a space of time, a week or two, move the litter pan an inch or two at a time to a more appropriate place.
Enriching your cats environment may alo help with elimination problems. Environmental enrichment should include window perches for cats, hiding places for the cat and scheduled owner-cat play/cuddle time.
If your cat continues to urine mark after implementing these changes, contact your veterinarian about the possibility of using behavior modification drugs. These medications can sometimes be very helpful in stopping feline urine marking.