Educational Resources

Dealing With Feline Inappropriate Urination

Cat thinking outside the box?

Inappropriate Urination (IAU) causes serious problems for cats and their people. This behavior is terribly annoying, but we must remember that cats are not "vindictive." Cats do not try to "get back at" their people. Some cats who urinate outside the box are ill. Others are reacting to anxiety, stress, or a problem with their litter boxes. In addition, IAU is very upsetting. Cats with IUA may be banished outdoors or surrendered to animal shelters. At Cats Exclusive, we want to help keep your cats healthy, happy, and at home.

Medical Problems: Physical illnesses can cause IAU or make it worse: 

  •  Kidney or bladder disease
  •  Diabetes, hyperthyroidism, or other endocrine disorders
  •  Inflammatory bowel disease, allergies, or other immune system problems
  •  Joint, nerve, or muscle disorders that make it hard to get into the box

Litter Box Aversion: An unappealing litter box can make your cat go elsewhere. 
A litter box should be:   

  • Clean
  • Large—At least 1.5 times the length of the cat
  • Convenient—Accessible, with a box on each floor, one box per cat-plus-one (3 cats = 4 boxes)
  • Safe—Uncovered (most cats), quiet, with no risk of "ambush"
  • Comfy—Several inches of clumping litter with carbon-based odor control is preferred by most cats


  • Cats use urine to mark, organize and affirm their place.
  • Cats may need to refresh their claim of belonging when they feel insecure.
  • Any change in-home or routine, or social pressure from other pets can all take a toll.
  • A rich environment helps reduce stress

For Inappropriate Urination Issues we recommend:

  •  Physical exam, behavior consultation, and urinalysis
  •  Litterbox "makeover" to make doing the right thing attractive
  •  An environment of Plenty, with places to eat, sleep, climb, play, and hide
  •  Remove scent cues, with an odor neutralizer like ''Anti-Icky Poo" or "Urine-Off."
  •  Reset the scent message with "Feliway," a calming facial pheromone.

Read more information on Feline Behavior Problems: House Soiling.

This article is from Cats Exclusive's Winter 2010 Mewsletter.

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