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 FelineMed Your Own Question
FelineMed, Licensed Veterinary Technician
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 386
Experience:  Accomplished LVT for over 10 years with a BS in Biology as well. Experience working in 2 feline specific hospitals.
Type Your Cat Question Here...
FelineMed is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

One of my cats is very nervous about sudden sounds, or any

This answer was rated:

One of my cats is very nervous about sudden sounds, or any sudden stimulation. She now pees on the floor on a daily basis, and we are sure it is just because she is so on edge all the time. She is an indoor cat.
What I want to know, is can I give her a tranquillizer, I have clonazepam at home, so it would be good to use this. I do not want to use Clomicalm as the withdrawal effects that were shown by one of our cats was unacceptable.
Hi! I am a Licensed Veterinary Technician and have worked in 2 different cat hospitals for well over 10 years. I'm looking forward to assisting you!

I'm so sorry to hear that Nigella has been urinating inappropriately...
that can be quite a difficult and frustrating issue with cats!

Has this been something that she has done for awhile now, but has recently worsened?
Does the urine look abnormal at all (particularly dark or light in color, any blood)?

Thanks in advance for the further information!
Also, you are very right that many cats will urinate inappropriately just because of behavioral issues or their "scaredy cat personality" in this case heh.
Just curious though, has she happened to have had a urinalysis recently at all though?
I see that you must be currently offline. I must step out for a bit, but as soon as I get your replies later tonight, I will work out an answer for you : )
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Yes, Urine is totally normal. House is not overcrowded, there are plenty of litter trays. She has been having this problem off and on since the major earthquakes that we had 3 years ago, so is definitely stress related. She ran and hid after each aftershock ( of which there were MANY) Hope this helps

Thank you so much for the further information!
My goodness...earthquakes...poor kitty...that would be enough to scare me....

You are right in that there are many behavioral medications used to treat anxiety and inappropriate is a link to some information on the Clonazepam that you mentioned:

However, it is best to discuss it with your veterinarian prior to would legally require a veterinary client patient relationship to discuss starting the medication or one similar.

It may very well be true that Nigella is urinating outside of the litter box for purely behavioral reasons and this unfortunately is something that we see often in cats. Especially because they do have such finicky personalities! There are many things that you can try aside from behavioral medication.

Some cats are just incredibly picky about the litter box or had a bad experience (an earthquake) that they associate with the litter box...such as another cat "attacking" them as they are leaving the box. Some of these things it sounds like you are already doing, but if there is anything new, you may want to give it a try!

Ensuring that her litter box is in a low traffic area is ideal. Also, I know you said you have a lot of litter boxes alreay, which is great! You want to make sure that you have at least 1 litter box on each level of your residence and 1 extra litter box for the total number of cats that you have. It may help to give different options of litter boxes as well...such as 1 covered and 1 uncovered box...or different types of scented and one unscented. Over time you will realize which litter she prefers best.

Also, there is a product called Feliway, which is a diffuser similar to an air freshner that you plug into an outlet and it realize "synthetic happy cat pheremones" which can have a calming effect and help cats with anxiety and who are eliminating inappropriately.

It sounds as though Nigella is thankfully urinating mostly on a hard surface, but you want to be sure to clean up any previous areas with
something like Nature's Miracle since some cats will just continue to go in the same places because of the smell...even if we can detect a
smell, they usually can.

Also, cats are very habitual creatures and urinating inappropriately can become a "habit" so if you can break the habit and retrain them to the box, that can be helpful. This would require putting her in a small space without carpet and her food and water and litter box and hopefully she will start using the box in this space, then gradually you give her more and more room to roam, hoping that this will create the "habit" of urinating in the litter box again.

I hope that some of this has been helpful and that you guys don't have anymore earthquakes or aftershocks to deal with!

Please do not hesitate to ask any further questions. I aim to provide you with the best service possible. If you feel I have done so, then
a positive rating is greatly appreciated! If not, please let me know how I can better assist you. Thanks! XXXXX
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hi, thanks for your detailed reply to my query. I have tried most of which you suggest, including Feliway (sorry I forgot to mention that), but thought of using different litters. Thing is, is that she squats down right next to the litter box, and lets fly, so I dont think confining her with the box will be very beneficial. Thanks for the links to the info about clonazepam, unfortunately owing to the temperamental state of computers, I cannot open the site, but will keep trying. Have you had any experience of cats using clonazepam? If not is there any other anti anxiety drug that you have experience with. This problem has come and gone since the earthquakes, but she has just over the last 3 weeks become bad, and I feel that a short course of an anti anxiety drug may be the answer, just to get her out of the habit

Hi again! I'm sorry that the Feliway did not work....that's good that you tried though and it means you are doing your research!

If she is squatting right next to the box, then that is a good sign that she at least realizes that she is supposed to be going in the box, but for one reason or another, is "afraid" to use it...either because she is associating the earthquake shaking with the litter box or if she had felt pain one time while urinating. She may surprise you and be willing to "try" out the box again if in a smaller space where she may feel "safer," but then again you definitely know your kitty best! I really think if you are able to get her to just realize that the litter box is "ok" and nothing to be afraid of and she goes in a few times realizing this, then hopefully that will become her new "habit." It sounds like she is at least "trying" to be a good kitty heh just not succeeding...

There are many different behavioral medications used in kitties...some work well for some cats and not for others, it really just varies from cat to cat. I have not had any patients on Clonazepam....but have had cats on Clomicalm (as you mentioned), Elavil, Xanax, Fluoxetine (Prozac or Reconcile), is really just trial and error and working with your vet to determine which type and what dose will work best for Nigella. Just because one doesn't work, it doesn't necessarily mean that the others won't work either.

I hope you are able to find something that works out well for Nigella and gets her using her litter box again like a good kitty : )

Please do not hesitate to ask any further questions. I aim to provide you with the best service possible. If you feel I have done so, then
a positive rating is greatly appreciated! If not, please let me know how I can better assist you. Thanks! XXXXX

FelineMed and other Cat Specialists are ready to help you
Thank you so much for the excellent rating! It is much appreciated : ) I will be checking in with you in a few days to see if there is any progression!
Just checking in to see if there is any progression with Nigella?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thanks, we have just been to the vet to get some amitriptyline (elavil) to try, , and have bought a covered in litter box to give her more privacy, to see if that achieves anything, so watch this space!!

Ok good, keeping my fingers crossed!
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I really have to laugh or cry - Nigella popped into the new covered litter box, had a look around, and promptly went into the laundry and peed on the mat there :-(. Cant wait to start the elavil!!!

Oh goodness...kitty kitty...hoping the Elavil works!