Sometimes cat urinating will begin to take place outside of the litter box on bedding, laundry, or in shoes.
In some cases this type of behavior is not from a veterinary medical issue–which you should first rule out–but because of stress.
Stressed animals may react to changes in the environment and change their toileting habits in response. These changes can include:
- new people (roommate, boyfriend/girlfriend)
- moving to a new location
- outside cats near territory
- conflict with other pets
- introduction of new household objects
- litter box issues (location, cleanliness, or inadequate number)
- negative association with litter box (ambushed or startled in box)
An animal behaviorist can help you to track down the underlying issue(s) and assist you with addressing the problem.
Usually a pet behavior modification program is about eight weeks long but can be shorter or longer depending on the complexity of the problem, how long it has been ongoing, and your compliance with the program.
(We have a litter box avoidance booklet available for sale in our shop or check our referral page for experts in your area.)
I’ve found success by using Feliway diffuser of use. It is an imitation cat pheromone that can be used in conjunction with an animal behaviorist’s recommendations.
There is also a Feliway Spray that is perfect for traveling and other situations where you need an extra stress reduction or a temporary boost.
Usually you need to trouble shoot and make temporary (and sometimes permanent) adaptations to eliminate the issue.
If you have multiple cats, sometimes the solution is as simple as making sure that you have one box per cat plus one. In other cases the issues may need barriers, temporary confinement or approximation back to the box.
After a 6.7 magnitude earthquake one of my client’s cats stopped using the box. She must have been using the box during the quake and so avoided it. The trauma caused a negative association with the litter box!
The solution was fairly simple, we moved the box to where she was toileting and gradually moved it in small increments until we got back to the original location.
Cat urinating and toileting issues are different from cat urine marking which I’ll talk about later.
Have you experienced this cat behavior problem of a cat urinating on your bed or laundry? If so, how did you solve it?