Ask Dr Fiona
How do I stop my cat peeing on housemate’s bed?
Cats are unique creatures and they can be very fussy when it comes to urination. Urinating in inappropriate places can be frustrating but it can also be an indication of a more serious medical condition.
Lower urinary tract disease, infection and the presence of crystals are all medical reasons why a cat might urinate in the ‘wrong place.’ These issues can cause pain and discomfort and need to be ruled out when it comes to inappropriate urination. A urine sample will be required (this can be collected by a veterinarian) and the urine will need to be examined for the presence of blood, bacteria and crystals. It is also sometimes necessary for the urine to be sent to an external laboratory for testing.
It is important to note that due to their anatomy, male cats are more susceptible to urinary tract obstructions. This can be a life threatening condition so inappropriate urination should never be ignored in male cats (or any cat for that matter!)
Problems with litter trays can also cause a cat to look elsewhere to urinate. It is a good idea to have a litter tray for every cat in the household, plus an additional tray. This gives the cat/s plenty of choices and if one tray is dirty or not ‘ideal’ in the cat’s eyes, there is another option.
You need to remove all faeces from the tray as soon as possible and should clean the tray out daily. Rinse the tray with warm water and a gentle dish liquid, never use harsh chemicals or bleach as this can deter a cat from using the tray. Some cats hate a covered tray while others prefer it so you may need to play around with the configuration. Plastic bags at the bottom of the tray can also deter cats from using the tray correctly as can choice of litter. Always use a fragrance free litter (the recycled cardboard type litter is a good choice).
If all medical reasons and tray issues are ruled out, the inappropriate urination can be presumed to be behavioural. Stress from a new family member such as a new baby, a new pet or even another housemate can all lead to a cat urinating in an undesirable area.
There are pheromone diffusers that plug in to the wall (Link here) that can help reduce feline stress and improve inappropriate urination issues as well as medication that can assist in more problematic cases.
Finally, it is very important that you effectively clean the area the cat is urinating in/on. For example, if it is a bed, all the bedding (including blankets and doonas) needs to be cleaned using a pet urine remover (try a product such as ‘Urine Off’). If the scent is not removed, the cat may continue to return to the same area to urinate.
If you’d like to chat in person, you can book a live video call or start a text chat to discuss in more detail, as soon as possible.
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