Puzzled by cat wee on carpet? Noticed that your cat has become a tad nervy? Found bald patches on your cat? We held a Q&A with our resident vet to offer you the vet advice you’ve been searching for. Amongst concerns about stressed felines, we answered queries such as ‘why is my cat peeing on the bed?’ and ‘is it common for indoor cats to pee away from the litter box?’.
What’s the difference between my cat spraying and soiling inappropriately?
Spraying is a way that cats communicate with one another – i.e. a natural cat behaviour – whereas a cat peeing in unusual places can be a sign of stress, pain, or even old age.
Why do cats spray?
- Cats are very territorial creatures that are used to exploring large areas.
- Cats may spray when there is a large number of cats living in the same home.
- Unneutered male cats commonly spray. Unneutered female cats spray as well, but less frequently than males.
How do I stop my cat spraying?
Neutering is usually an effective method to stop a male cat spraying, as it lowers their hormone levels. Similarly, spaying tends to solve the problem of a female cat spraying.
Why is my cat peeing in places other than the litter box?
There are many factors that can lead to a cat peeing outside the litter box:
- A change in environment – such as moving house, bringing a new cat into your home, and travelling– is the most common cause of cats urinating in inappropriate places.
- Strangers visiting your home can unnerve your cat into soiling themselves. This can be especially true during the summer, bad weather, and around Christmas.
- Loud noises – such as building works, fireworks, a new baby, or even a vacuum cleaner – may cause your cat to urinate away from their litter box.
- A new cat moving into the neighbourhood can be a stressful experience for your cat. Even if yours is an indoor cat, seeing a new cat through the window can unnerve your feline friend and cause them to pee in the house.
- A neighbouring cat spraying against your door can cause your cat to follow suit as a territorial act.
- Keeping cats indoors can be stressful for them – as they naturally have large territories to explore and hide – and can lead to inappropriate soiling.
- Your cat may not like urinating in certain types of cat litter trays. Cats may feel trapped inside covered trays whilst kittens and older cats may struggle with litter trays that have high sides.
- Your cat may have an underlying health condition, such as a urinary tract infection (UTI), diabetes, or kidney / thyroid disease. If you also notice your cat drinking a lot of water, a trip to the vet is needed for a physical exam as well as urine and blood tests.
How do I stop my cat peeing everywhere?
- It’s important to consult with your vet if you think that the cause of your cat peeing outside the litter box is stress. A painful inflammation of the lining of the bladder, also known as Feline Idiopathic Cystitis (FIC), can be a result of stress – and you may find bloody spots in your cat’s urine. These bloody spots are usually sterile but they do require veterinary attention and potential pain relief.
- If moving house is causing your cat to pee in unusual places, a cat pheromone plug in – such as Feliway for cats – may help. Make sure there is a feliway plug in at your current home as well as your new home – you may want to have a stock of Feliway classic refills at hand. A Feliway spray may also come in handy. Spray the inside of your cat carrier and get your cat used to the carrier a few weeks before you move. Another good idea is to place some of your cat’s old litter into your new home, as this will help them to recognise their own scent.
- Give Feliway Friends and their cat calming plug ins a go. These Feliway diffusers mimic the specific cat pheromone that helps to build a bond between a mother cat and her kittens. Used in the home, this cat calming diffuser works to ease any tension between your cats as well as prevent any bathroom accidents.
- Clean your cat’s litter tray regularly using a mild pet friendly detergent. Be careful, however, as some can be toxic to cats. It’s important not to clean their litter tray too frequently, as your cat needs to associate it with their own smell.
- Try changing up the cat litter that you use. From clumping and non-clumping to eco-friendly, you should be able to find the right type of cat litter for your feline friend.
- If you find some cat wee on carpet, on your bed, or anywhere else in your house, you should clean this area with a pet odour remover to get rid of your cat’s smell. Simple Solution works a charm. As cats are creatures of habit, they will urinate in the same place again if it’s not properly cleaned up.
Are there any other signs that my cat is stressed?
Yes. Stress may be one of the answers to ‘why is my cat peeing in the house?’, but there are other signs of stress that you should look out for:
- Bald patches on cats, particularly on their tummies, is a very common yet subtle sign
- Hiding more than usual
- Skittish and nervous behaviour
- Suddenly becoming very vocal (hissing, yowling, or crying)
- Reduced appetite and weight loss
- Pacing and meowing
- Wide eyes, ears back, and lying down as low as possible
Our articles are not a replacement for face-to-face vet advice. It’s important to consult with your vet on a regular basis to raise any pet concerns that you may have.