Cat Veterinary

Have Cat Questions? Ask a Cat Vet Online.

Ask a Cat Veterinarian,
Get an Answer ASAP!

I have a 16 lb., 8.5 year old spayed female American shorthair…

Customer Question
I have a 16 lb....
I have a 16 lb., 8.5 year old spayed female American shorthair cat, Rascal, who has recently started urinating along the baseboard/carpet in her room (I have a 6 year old spayed female American shorthair as well). Each cat has their own "bedroom" for their own space/privacy/food, and they have been raised with one another all along. Rascal began her "marking" when my husband & I went on vacation for twelve days in April, which we do every year. The pet sitter noticed the "spraying" started about 7 days into our vacation. Upon our return, I took Rascal to the vet (to rule out physical/medical complications). All of her blood/urine tests came back negative. She stopped urinating in the one spot for about a month; but, has started marking another spot about 1.5 feet from the first. I have tried cleaners, spray inhibitors, etc...nothing is stopping her from the marking. I clean the litter boxes every other day (each cat has their own box) and have done this since I adopted Rascal as a kitten. Why has she started this behavior AT THIS AGE when she has never marked before? And, what if anything can I do to inhibit her from marking in the future...my carpet is getting ruined & the room smells of ammonia from the urine.
Submitted: 8 years ago.Category: Cat Veterinary
Show More
Show Less
Ask Your Own Cat Veterinary Question
Answered in 1 hour by:
6/29/2010
Cat Veterinarian: DrLucy, Cat Veterinarian replied 8 years ago
DrLucy
DrLucy, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 618
Experience: Almost 30 yr as a practicing small animal vet.; experience in gen.medicine, surgery, emerg/crit.care
Verified
Spraying behavior is a tough one to correct, but not impossible. Most feline experts recommend a multi-modal approach, which combines several simultaneous therapies. One of the first things I would do, however, is to make sure that none of your "corrective behavioral measures" might be construed as punishment by Rascal, or you may increase her stress level and worsen her spraying behavior. Punishment and correction are thought to be ineffective in deterring "bad" behavior in cats. Distraction might work if it can be delivered at the exact instant when the "tail wag" that precedes spraying is occurring. Suitable distractions might be a water pistol or a coffee can with a few coins inside (and the top taped back on) dropped on the floor. (Just make sure you are not throwing it at her.) Saying "No" just does not work. Neither will showing her or placing her in the litter box, because the spaying is a territorial display, not a plain urination behavior.

Before you start a treatment plan, I suggest that you read through the following material, which will give you lots of information:
1) The Indoor Cat Initiative, at Ohio State University: http://www.vet.ohio-state.edu/indoorcat.htm
2) http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&S=0&C=0&A=633
3) http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&S=0&C=0&A=612
(Note that, although many references discuss inflammation, bloody urine, etc., do not discount the information about information related to these, because there can be a waxing and waning of inflammation, allowing completely normal periods in between. So, even though Rascal had normal urine tests, there could be some low-grade inflammation that was undetectable.)

Here are some things that may help:
1) If she is spraying near a window, she may be seeing cats outside and perceiving them as a territorial threat. Consider drawing the blinds so that she cannot see outside.
2) Experiment with different locations for the boxes; different shapes; different sizes. Many cats prefer a very large box with high sides but no top. Do NOT use the covered litter boxes. A great box is one you make out of a large, semi-clear plastic storage bin with one side cut down to about 3 or 4 inches high (and NO top).
3) NO deodorized litter. It should also be dust-free. Many cats prefer clumping litter. Some cats prefer real soil, even if she never has before.
4) You should have a minimum of 3 litter boxes, and they should be cleaned twice a day, and scrubbed at least weekly.
5) Since she never used to spray before, and it started after you were on vacation (possibly a stressful event), you can probably assume that stress is at least a component, as it is with many other cats with various types of urinary problems. Frequently there are also low-grade inflammatory conditions of the bladder and/or urethra. These may wax and wane, so a cat would be completely normal (with normal urine tests) in between episodes. There are various medications that can be tried, to help reduce her stress reaction (if present), reduce inflammation, and relax her bladder muscles. It is hard to predict which one(s) will work. You just have to try. Possibilities are: A commonly used one is Amitriptyline. Alprazolam can also be tried. For antiinflammatory effects, low-dose Metacam can be used. Other medications that have been tried are gabapentin and Tramadol. A glucosamine/chondroitin supplement (Cosequin for cats) helps some cats. (Usually used for arthritis, but there is some evidence that it helps keep the mucosal lining of the bladder healthy). All of these would have to be obtained through your vet.
5) Weight loss may help a lot. Just carrying around extra pounds is a significant stress on a cat's whole system. In addition, it makes the bladder more difficult to empty completely, and makes hygeine of the genital area difficult for her to accomplish without help (like cleansing daily with baby wipes, by you).
6) Most experts on feline urinary disorders recommend switching to a completely canned diet, to increase consumption of liquids. They also recommend doing everything you can to encourage water drinking--offer clam juice, tuna juice, low-sodium broth; cat fountains; different types of water bowls; etc.
7) There is some evidence that Feliway pheromone diffuser or spray can help reduce stress-induced spraying in some cats. It is worth a try: http://www.feliway.com/us

I think this covers most of the available information. If you have any questions about any of it, please don't hesitate to ask me. I would be happy to help. It's a frustrating problem to live with. I understand all too well, myself.
Ask Your Own Cat Veterinary Question
Was this answer helpful?

How JustAnswer works

step-image
Describe your issueThe assistant will guide you
step-image
Chat 1:1 with a cat veterinarianLicensed Experts are available 24/7
step-image
100% satisfaction guaranteeGet all the answers you need
Ask DrLucy Your Own Question
DrLucy
DrLucy
DrLucy, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 618
618 Satisfied Customers
Experience: Almost 30 yr as a practicing small animal vet.; experience in gen.medicine, surgery, emerg/crit.care

DrLucy is online now

A new question is answered every 9 seconds

How JustAnswer works:

  • Ask an ExpertExperts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional AnswerVia email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction GuaranteeRate the answer you receive.

JustAnswer in the News:

Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.

What Customers are Saying:

It was so professional, so personally concerned (as we were) and you answered all of our questions. George and I are so happy that I found "JustAnswer" on my Google search -- you are now in my "Favorites" list! And, yes we do love our kitty - she makes our life complete!

Bev & GeorgeBoca Raton, FL

Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help.

Mary C.Freshfield, Liverpool, UK

This expert is wonderful. They truly know what they are talking about, and they actually care about you. They really helped put my nerves at ease. Thank you so much!!!!

AlexLos Angeles, CA

Thank you for all your help. It is nice to know that this service is here for people like myself, who need answers fast and are not sure who to consult.

GPHesperia, CA

I couldn't be more satisfied! This is the site I will always come to when I need a second opinion.

JustinKernersville, NC

Just let me say that this encounter has been entirely professional and most helpful. I liked that I could ask additional questions and get answered in a very short turn around.

EstherWoodstock, NY

Thank you so much for taking your time and knowledge to support my concerns. Not only did you answer my questions, you even took it a step further with replying with more pertinent information I needed to know.

RobinElkton, Maryland

< Previous | Next >

Meet the Experts:

Dr. Gary

Dr. Gary

Cat Veterinarian

3,959 satisfied customers

DVM, Emergency Veterinarian, BS (Physiology)

Dr. Andy

Dr. Andy

Medical Director

4,835 satisfied customers

UC Davis graduate, Interests: Dermatology, Internal Medicine, Pain Management

Dr. Bruce

Dr. Bruce

Veterinarian

4,656 satisfied customers

15 years of experience as a small animal veterinarian

Dr. Scott

Dr. Scott

Veterinarian

3,998 satisfied customers

15 years of small animal, equine and pocket pet experience in medicine and surgery.

Rebecca

Rebecca

Cat Veterinarian

3,944 satisfied customers

More than 30 years of companion animal practice.

Dr. Drew

Dr. Drew

Cat Veterinarian

3,076 satisfied customers

Small Animal Medicine and Surgery

Dr. Deb

Dr. Deb

Cat Veterinarian

2,960 satisfied customers

I have been a practicing veterinarian for over 30 years.

< Previous | Next >

Related Cat Veterinary Questions
We have two cats, one male and one female. Both were adopted
We have two cats, one male and one female. Both were adopted from the humane society at around 10 weeks and had been spayed and neutered. Both cats are loving and friendly. A few months ago the female… read more
VetTechErin
VetTechErin
Licensed Veterinary Technician
College/AAS in Veterinary Technology
680 satisfied customers
We have two, three year old male tabby cats (brothers). They
We have two, three year old male tabby cats (brothers). They have peed on and destroyed two of our couches and now a mattress. Just yesterday when I was going to attempt to clen up urine stains i foun… read more
Dr. Emily
Dr. Emily
Associate Veterinarian
Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine
756 satisfied customers
My 3-1/2 year old spayed (done when she was a kitten) started
My 3-1/2 year old spayed (done when she was a kitten) started spraying. SHe likes to go over and spray our 2 leather couches, and if she can't access the sides, something else in the living room. We'v… read more
Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara
Doctoral Degree
5,415 satisfied customers
Hi, we adopted a kitten in June. She was 8 weeks old. She
Hi, we adopted a kitten in June. She was 8 weeks old. She understood the litter box right away. We had no problems. We had her spayed at 4 months in August. The surgery went fine except that it seems … read more
Steve O.
Steve O.
Practicing Veterinarian
Doctoral Degree
3,640 satisfied customers
I have 2 cats. My girlfriend moved in 6 months ago with her
I have 2 cats. My girlfriend moved in 6 months ago with her 3 cats. Well my snow bengal Jake is not getting along with her chartuex Dusty. Well it appears Jake is no longer using the Litter Robot we h… read more
Dr. Gabby
Dr. Gabby
Veterinarian
Doctoral Degree
4,408 satisfied customers
My friend has 8 cats, all are spay,all have arrived at her
My friend has 8 cats, all are spay,all have arrived at her house at various times through the years,all are of cat age, not kittens. One cat has over a period of years marked (sprayed) her living room… read more
Dr. Gary
Dr. Gary
Cat Veterinarian
Doctoral Degree
3,959 satisfied customers
We live in a rural area. There are 2 male cats indoors, 10+
We live in a rural area. There are 2 male cats indoors, 10+ yrs &4+yrs. Both are neutered and get along with each other. About 6 months ago, a new female barn cat moved in. We had her spay… read more
Rebecca
Rebecca
Cat Veterinarian
Doctoral Degree
3,944 satisfied customers
My 9 year old female cat started to urinate about 2 months
My 9 year old female cat started to urinate about 2 months ago on our couch. I took her to our vet and she had a bladder infection. She took an antibiotic for 10 days but she continued to urinate out … read more
Dr Rachel
Dr Rachel
Doctoral Degree
173 satisfied customers
Hi, weve introduced a new puppy to the house and our two grown
Hi, we've introduced a new puppy to the house and our two grown cats are not appreciative! They are urinating/defecating everywhere, and we don't know how to help them. Any ideas would be greatly appr… read more
Dr Rachel
Dr Rachel
Doctoral Degree
173 satisfied customers
We adopted a cat from a person who lived in a flat. As a result,
We adopted a cat from a person who lived in a flat. As a result, she came with a tray. we managed to get her to use the garden instead, and have no problems until recently, the past 4 months, when she… read more
Dr Rachel
Dr Rachel
Doctoral Degree
173 satisfied customers
We have 3 indoor cats (one also goes outdoors for brief periods.)
We have 3 indoor cats (one also goes outdoors for brief periods.) The outdoor cat (6 yrs) and the youngest cat (age 4) have been peeing all over the house in the last 5 months. It is not just one spot… read more
vetmom4
vetmom4
Veterinarian
Doctoral Degree
976 satisfied customers
cat: spayed..carpet..peeing..kids and pets urine remover..calm
Hello, My cat is about 2 years old and was spayed about 5 months ago. Recently my husband and I steam cleaned our living room carpet and found that she has been peeing along two walls. Since then we h… read more
Dr. Loretta
Dr. Loretta
Large and small animal Veterinarian
Doctoral Degree
22,387 satisfied customers
I have two cats that I adore, but they are peeing EVERWHERE
I have two cats that I adore, but they are peeing EVERWHERE in my house. It is ruining my life! My husband is furious and turned off by the stink, I don't want to have friends over, I am mortified tha… read more
CriticalCareVet
CriticalCareVet
Veterinary Specialist
Doctoral Degree
57,087 satisfied customers
I have two cats. One of them has just started not using the
I have two cats. One of them has just started not using the litter box :( No urine that I've noticed, just poop. We got the one cat(female) early Jan from a rescue house. The vet estimated she's about… read more
Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara
Doctoral Degree
5,415 satisfied customers
I have 2 cats. The younger cat who is almost a year has always
I have 2 cats. The younger cat who is almost a year has always been a finicky litter box user, ie: won't use a dirty litter box and sometimes no reason at all. I recently moved to a new apartment, my … read more
Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara
Doctoral Degree
5,415 satisfied customers
i have a 10 year old male cat who has recently started to spray
i have a 10 year old male cat who has recently started to spray urine on the side of a door in the room where his litter box is. Please help… read more
Dr. K
Dr. K
Veterinarian
Doctoral Degree
2,462 satisfied customers
cats: spayed female..possible territorial or stress related spraying
I have 2 spayed female cats- 2 and 3 years old - some tension - possible territorial or stress related spraying -for at least several months - I had been using Feliway-& had done multiple attempts to … read more
Doc James
Doc James
Post-Doctoral Degree
863 satisfied customers
cat: that have been with us the same amount of time or longer
We have a five year old neutered cat named Kramer that has been with us since he was a kitten. We also have two other cats that have been with us the same amount of time or longer. One is his brother.… read more
Dr. Dave
Dr. Dave
Senior Emergency Clinician
Doctoral Degree
198 satisfied customers
Disclaimer: Information in questions, answers, and other posts on this site ("Posts") comes from individual users, not JustAnswer; JustAnswer is not responsible for Posts. Posts are for general information, are not intended to substitute for informed professional advice (medical, legal, veterinary, financial, etc.), or to establish a professional-client relationship. The site and services are provided "as is" with no warranty or representations by JustAnswer regarding the qualifications of Experts. To see what credentials have been verified by a third-party service, please click on the "Verified" symbol in some Experts' profiles. JustAnswer is not intended or designed for EMERGENCY questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals.

Disclaimer: Information in questions, answers, and other posts on this site ("Posts") comes from individual users, not JustAnswer; JustAnswer is not responsible for Posts. Posts are for general information, are not intended to substitute for informed professional advice (medical, legal, veterinary, financial, etc.), or to establish a professional-client relationship. The site and services are provided "as is" with no warranty or representations by JustAnswer regarding the qualifications of Experts. To see what credentials have been verified by a third-party service, please click on the "Verified" symbol in some Experts' profiles. JustAnswer is not intended or designed for EMERGENCY questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals.

Show MoreShow Less

Ask Your Question

x