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Doc Sara
Doc Sara, Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 952
Experience:  I am a dog and cat veterinarian with a lifetime of experience in our family veterinary hospital.
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Did you get my question? I guess not. my cat wets on the

Customer Question

hi. did you get my question? I guess not. my cat wets on the carpet. I think she is defendi g her territory as there are 2 other cats that live in an apartment just thru a door off the l/r. she doesn't like them. wh a t do you think? Is there a y way to help her.)
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Doc Sara replied 1 year ago.

Hi there, I'm Dr. Sara. I'm a licensed veterinarian who works exclusively with cats and dogs. I'm sorry to hear that you're having trouble with your kitty and the litter box situation - I'll do my best to help.

If Zen isn't spayed - that would be priority number one on my list. If you feel that she is marking (which looks like spraying on vertical surfaces, not just puddles of pee on the ground or furniture) and she's not spayed - having her spayed would help immensely. The same goes for all the other cats in the home - the more hormones, the more drama. What is it that you're seeing that makes you say she's defending her territory? Is she spraying on vertical surfaces near that door where the other cats live?

Here are a few more thoughts on general litter box management and behavioral litter box issues:

Cats are super fastidious, so some are very sensitive to a dirty litter box. Some cats absolutely will not pee or poop in a box that's not immaculate, so watching the boxes for cleanliness is important. Cats also tend not to like hoods on their boxes (especially bigger cats - they get too cramped) so I always recommend removing hoods from boxes. Cats also don't like to eat and potty in the same place, so food and water dishes shouldn't be near the litter box.

The ideal number of cat boxes is the number of cats in the home PLUS ONE. Each box should be in a separate spot - a cat will look at two boxes right next to each other as one box, so spread them out. Make sure there's at least one box on each floor of your home too, in case stairs are an issue, perhaps for an older arthritic cat. Boxes should be far from very noisy or unpredictable areas. A washer or dryer or furnace kicking on at just the wrong time can startle a cat and turn them off from the box entirely.

It's also a good idea to try a new type of litter. I usually recommend ADDING a new box rather than changing any of the existing boxes. If you're using clumpable litter, I'd rotate through trying pine litter (Feline Pine), recycled newspaper litter (Yesterday's News), crystal type litters, or corn cob litter. Sometimes you'll find that he will like one of these new litters better.

If these things aren't working and the situation is really desperate, I'll consider allowing them to become an indoor/outdoor cat with time outside. If they want to go outside and like to be out there, it often alleviates or eliminates completely the urinating in the home. Obviously, this approach comes with its own set of risks, but IF the choice is to rehome or euthanize them or to allow them to have some outdoor time, I'd choose the latter. I've actually done this with my own cat and it's solved our issue.

I've had some success with pheromone products like Feliway or Comfort Zone. They are geared more toward behavioral marking but sometimes can have an overall anti-anxiety effect and help with litterbox issues. If she is truly marking her territory, these products can be a great help toward calming her and helping her let go of the territorial issues.

Lastly, I would consider a course of anti-anxiety medication like fluoxetine. In many of my patients this alleviates or eliminates the problem. Social stresses in a multicat household or other anxiety disorders in cats will commonly manifest as house soiling.

Please let me know what ideas I can expand upon for you and what other questions you may have.

Thanks

~Dr. Sara

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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
she is about 2 1/2 yrs old now. she will wet in her litter box once in awhile..but not often. yes her food and litter box are fairly close...I'll try moving it. I've tried different kitty litter..not much chsnge. Don't want to
put her down, but....thanx doc ..did your
best, ***** ***** not enough, as maybe there isn't an answer. she doesn't go in the other part if the house but still sees them. she goes outside with me but doesn't like to go out alone very often. ve r y nervous outside.always watching the door to make sure its open. What dosage would I give her of that calming medicine...(although she sleeps a lot.) but runs when men come around..
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
doesn't like to be picked up. Is a large cat....white long hair, blue eyes. Not very affectionate, only on her terms.
Expert:  Doc Sara replied 1 year ago.

If you really have tried all the suggestions that I've made, then I would have her in to your veterinarian to see if they will prescribe some anti-anxiety medication - I use fluoxetine in my patients and it tends to work very well. You'll need to have your veterinarian tell you the dose once its prescribed - it'll be on the label.

~Dr. Sara