How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Jessica Gamauf Your Own Question
Jessica Gamauf
Jessica Gamauf,
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 9
Experience:  Associate veterinarian at Wynn Haven Animal Hospital
84113422
Type Your Cat Veterinary Question Here...
Jessica Gamauf is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I have a 8 year old female cat that never does the things

Customer Question

I have a 8 year old female cat that never does the things that most cats do like clawing at furniture etc. She just started to spray and dribble a bit. She has never done this. I also have another female that I have had for 6 years and she just peed wherever she wanted,but not all the time. They use the cat pan and I clean it all the time. I have 3 females total all spayed and this has become a real problem. I had to replace carpet with vinyl planks like laminate and it hasn't stopped. Other than this new thing thing it only happened occasionally in spurts. How can they not do anything for a long time and then just start up again. I have taken one to vet when she first did this checking for bladder infection. She was clean no infection. I will be taking the other to vet because I do think she may have infection. I have tried 3 different cat pans and they all use the same one and it didn't stop the problem. They have been together for 6 years and I do not know what is causing this only occasionally peeing or spraying. They all go in and outside. Please give me some idea what to do. Thank-you,Vicki Dennison
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Jessica Gamauf replied 1 year ago.

Hi Vicki, my name is***** and I am locked in to see if I can help you sort this out.

So as I understand it Maggie is the one that has done this on and off before but Annie is the 8 year old that has never sprayed before? Or is it Molly that has started to do it recently? I just want to get my names straight for ease in my answer :)

Expert:  Jessica Gamauf replied 1 year ago.

I will admit this is one of the most frustrating questions I get in practice. It is hard for the owner and the vet and sometimes we cannot find a solution. It is also the most common reason for otherwise healthy cats to be euthanized in veterinary medicine. . . I certainly don't recommend that and always try to talk my clients out of it. But my point is that it can be extremely frustrating. I have dealt with it for 12 years with my own cat so I understand your pain!

First we need to rule out physical causes of inappropriate urinating like FUS or lower urinary tract disease. Your vet can see signs of that often on routine urinalysis (such as blood in the urine). I would certainly rule out UTI in the new female since she has never done this before. That is a simple fix in most cases.

If no physical cause can be found then we are left with behavioral or emotional/mental issues. As a general rule of thumb cat behaviorists will tell you there needs to be one litter box per cat plus 1. So technically they would recommend 4 boxes for your home. It is important to make sure the box is cleaned regularly every day. Clumping, low odor litter is usually tolerated best, ***** ***** cases sand works well. The boxes should be in a location with some privacy but easy to get to. They should be away from doors or windows, and in low traffic areas. In some cases the location of the box is the problem. Look around and see what noises or objects are near by and can they cause the cat to avoid the box. If the cat is more nervous and tends to hide during the day, the box shouldn't be hard for her to get to or in an area that makes her have to come out in the open if she doesn't want to. Also, most commercial boxes are too small. You want something big enough for them to stand in comfortably, get out of easily, and be able to turn around. A tupperware container sometimes is better. You can cut a hole in it too if you have a taller one which also helps with cats that tend to spray next to the box while standing in it.

Sometimes the issue is stress induced and can be cyclical. Sometimes it is an issue between cats within the household. They have been together for years, but that doesn't mean they love each other. Cats tend to be solitary animals in general, rather than pack animals like dogs. If they lay together and groom each other then you are probably ok, but if they tend to avoid each other, even if not fighting, there may be an unspoken dislike between two of them. This does add emotional distress sometimes. Sometimes girls just don't get along :) Sometimes the issue is with someone outside the home, a neighborhood cat or possibly wild animal hanging around causing the house cat distress.

Then there is the issue at home. Sometimes they are upset with you or changes in the home, new people visiting, changes in work schedule, people leaving, etc.

In some cases I can adjust the stressor, change box locations, litter types, and solve the problem. Feliway diffusers help in some cases. They provide a natural pheromone to help stabilize their moods when stressors or competition are the issue. This is probably similar to the mood collar. I have used anxiety meds as well in these cats such as prozac in cases that I just can't solve or where the stressor can't be avoided.

Your vet may have discussed some of these things with you already but I hope it gives a few more ideas. Like I said, it can be very frustrating and stressful. I used to have aluminum foil lining my bedroom walls to keep my cat from spraying, and ultimately have ripped out the carpet in several houses from her. She now lives on the patio and we are both happier. :) Let me know if you have any other questions or ideas.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Annie just started this. Maggie and Molly have peed and Molly has sprayed for a bit of time.Never,ever had problems with Annie til just 2 days ago. She is my perfect cat. I love them to death and really try to give each one equal attention and love and pets. I do not want them to have to be garage cats as I enjoy their company so much and they have been in and outdoor cats since day one. I adopted each of them and they are my kids.
Expert:  Jessica Gamauf replied 1 year ago.

Then I would certainly get the urinalysis done on Annie since this is new for her. Maggie and Molly sound more behavioral and one of them may be more inclined to do it because of the other one. "Urine Off" is a good enzymatic cleaner to saturate the affected areas with. I would try the other suggestions as well. And if nothing else works, a behavior modifying happy drug may be the next step. There are several types and that would be something your veterinarian could prescribe for you if needed.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I have tried the box thing and it doesn't work. The cat pan is big with plenty of room to turn around. It is in my huge bathtub off the master bedroom. They have no problem getting to it. It is cleaned once or twice per day and I have been using the same litter combo of unscented Freshstep and clump and seal mixed together. They use the cat pan. They will run in from outside to go to the pan and use it after they have been out for the day while I am at work. They love to be outside. The other neighbor cats or strays they will chase off or get along with. As far as i can see they have had no changes that would cause this. I have had cats all my life and have never had this problem,even with male cats. Their food is the same and they get fresh cold water in and out everyday. I just don't understand as I have never had this problem before.
Expert:  Jessica Gamauf replied 1 year ago.

I have actually found this problem far more frequently in females than males. They tend to be the more behavioral cats. I also find a lot of my behavioral girls are calico, not sure if that applies to your girls. A lot of the time they hide their emotional stresses so they will otherwise behave and act normally. Again, the outside cats can still be a problem and unfortunately there isn't much you can do about that situation. But if they have to chase off strays or neighborhood cats on occasion, that can be enough to cause this marking nature in their home. It is their way of saying, this is my house, this is my wall, my family, my mom. In their minds, they are doing the right thing, even if it is gross to us. It may be more of a dominance thing than an insecurity as well. Sometimes the pheromones help with these types of sprayers as well. It would also explain why their behavior tends to come and go as it may have more to do with transient strays. Another thing to mention is in cats with FUS, it will be cyclical. So if a urine sample isn't examined when they are in the middle of a relapse, you may not see the cellular evidence in the pee. I have had some females spray clearly bloody urine on the walls, but sometimes the blood is only seen microscopically.

As I said previously, it is a common problem and I have probably one case a week. So if you have never had a cat behave this way you have been very lucky! You are doing everything right. Rule out physical problems with Annie but I would focus on behavior modification with the other two so they don't feel the need to mark their territories so defiantly.

Expert:  Jessica Gamauf replied 1 year ago.

I have to log off tonight. If you have any other questions or concerns I will check back in tomorrow. Good luck with your girls!

Expert:  Jessica Gamauf replied 1 year ago.

I was thinking more about your situation and here are a few online resources that have some more great ideas for you. Maybe something in these will help as well:

www.catvets.com is the American Association of Feline Practitioners and they have some great information under the "Cat Owners" tab. You may have to search in the FLUTD section for more information on inappropriate house soiling.

http://www.catvets.com/guidelines/practice-guidelines/environmental-needs-guidelines

http://jfm.sagepub.com/content/suppl/2014/06/17/16.7.579.DC1/Take_home_instructions_for_cat_owners.pdf

Good Luck!