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petdrz, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 7350
Experience:  Over 30 years of experience in caring for dogs and cats.
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I have a Cornish Rex with chronic inappropriate urination

Customer Question

I have a Cornish Rex with chronic inappropriate urination issues that improve and worsen in phases. I believe it's related to anxiety and loneliness, but if I get another cat at this point my husband will flip out. Our house has high ceilings, and Feliway Plugins seemed to burn up too fast and not do much good. We tried Anxitane, but probably not long enough to tell if it was working. That was also the time that we introduced Cat Attract, which certainly helped. She has been to two vets, who could not find anything wrong with her except for excessive ear wax, which I clean with an enzyme solution about every two weeks. She was spayed at 7 months old. We have lived in three houses with her, and she has done this in every house. We have been in the current house for 2 1/2 years. She does not pee upstairs on the carpet, only downstairs on the wood and tile. It's mostly near the windows and door at the front of the house. She has a cat door to a screened back porch, but not out front.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  petdrz replied 1 year ago.

Hello and thanks for trusting me to help you and Layla today. I am a licensed veterinarian with over 25 years experience and would be happy work with you, but need a bit more information in order to better assist you if you don't mind.

I am assuming that a urine sample has been checked. Were there any abnormalities noted? Was it checked at a time that she was urinating inappropriately?

Has Layla had her urine cultured for bacteria, even if the urinalysis was normal?

Does she ever use the litter box for urine? for stool?

How many litter boxes does she have totally in the house?

Are the urine accidents on horizontal surfaces or vertical surfaces (spraying)?

Is she an indoor only cat or is she allowed outdoors as well?

Is she observing other cats outside through the windows?

Thanks and I will respond further after you reply. There may be a slight delay while I formulate and type a thorough response or I may be offline, but if so, I will respond as soon as I am able.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your help. Layla's urine has not been cultured recently, but her last culture was negative and was at a time when she was urinating inappropriately (2011). She has two disposable litter boxes and one self-scooping litter box in our laundry room. She has not been using the self-scooping box since I tried a larger crystal litter earlier this year. I changed back to the finer crystals, but she has only used it twice in the last few months. That's why I added the second disposable box. She uses both of them for both stool and urine, but also urinates on floors, baseboards, and on the wood frame of a certain chair that is by the front windows. She sometimes urinates on the laundry room floor, next to the litter boxes. There are two litter boxes on the screened porch, which she uses sporadically for both urine and stool.
She loves to go outside, but I keep her indoors and on the screened porch. She darts outside when she gets the chance, but she does not usually leave our yard. We sometimes let her explore the back deck, supervised, but then we bring her back in. She observes other animals and preys on lizards when she gets the chance. With her Cornish Rex coat, she is very susceptible to wounds and sunburn, so I do not allow her outside freely. She also likes to eat grass and weeds when she gets out, which are treated with herbicides and pesticides. She is prone to vomiting, and I have been adding probiotics to her food. The vomiting has decreased in frequency. It seems like she really wants to be outdoors, but my understanding is that her coat is not compatible with outdoor life. She also prefers company to being left alone, but we are at work and school on weekdays. When we go away overnight, we know that we will come home several spots of urine on the floor.
Expert:  petdrz replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for the reply.

It definitely sounds as if there is an anxiety issue as well as a possible substrate issue, which may have been solved when you went back to the finer crystals. Still, it may be worthwhile to offer a litter box buffet to identify her preference. Clumping litters seem to be preferred by most cats because it is soft. It also allows you to keep it cleaner as there shouldn't be a wet bottom. You may need to experiment with different litters, different types of boxes (short sided, tall sided, etc) and different amount of litter in the boxes. You must scoop daily! Cat's are very texture specific so look at the places she is choosing to go. If it is a carpet, you may want to put a piece of scrap carpeting in a litter box for her and slowly add more litter as she starts to use it. Some cats, mine included, prefer to urinate in an empty litter pan with no litter at all. When dealing with anxiety, even in a single cat house it is best to create an environment of "plenty” including food bowls, climbing towers, toys and resting areas in multiple locations.

Next, you want to make the other spots unattractive or unavailable, confinement is one way. Maybe keep her from the places it is occurring if possible, especially when you are not home, unless that is where the litter pans are. It may be best to not allow access to the rooms where she can look out of the windows as that maybe adding to her anxiety. Enzyme products are needed to break down the odor causing components of the urine. There are a few products that work very well to do that: Nature's Miracle® (link here), Anti-icky poo® (link here) or Zero odor® (link here) Deterrents are needed after that. Carpet runners (with plastic spikes) turned upside down work great for large areas. There are also "scat mats" which give off a small electrical charge. These are not harmful to her. Another option is an indoor invisible fence to keep her out of certain areas of the house. They are very effective. LINK HERE There are small devices that can keep her from going through a doorway as well LINK HERE. Also there are motion detector type products that work very well and are inexpensive.



I would give the Feliway another try, but maybe try a feliway collar. These can be made by soaking a cloth collar in the liquid feliway that comes with the feliway spray. I would resoak the collar every 5-7 days.

There are drugs that can be tried, but I would try the other things first. Even if you have to resort to drug therapy for a while, these are changes that should be incorporated at the same time. Anti-anxiety meds such as Prozac have been shown to effectively reduce urine spraying and marking.

This is a hard subject to cover adequately in a few paragraphs. I am including a link that may give you a few more ideas. I am also including links to a website that offer suggestions to provide environmental enrichment for indoor cats. This has become a very important subject as we have now identified that many cat behavior and medical disorders stem from the fact that they are confined indoors which is not how cats naturally choose to live. This "stress" can lead to physical and behavioral problems.

Feline house soiling

OSU Indoor Pet Initiative

I hope this is helpful. Please let me know if you have ANY other questions. My goal is to give you 100% satisfaction and if you are not yet satisfied, please reply so I can clarify for you.

My posted replies are for general education only and not meant as a diagnosis. Only after a thorough veterinary examination can a diagnosis for your pet be made and specific treatments be advised or medications be prescribed.

Dr Z

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you. Our house is very open and she has a lot of places to perch. I do not feel that restricting her would help with the anxiety, but I will try carpet runners or ScatMats to keep her away from the front window and door. Do you think that the Sentry Calming Collar for cats would be a good option? She has never worn a collar, and I'm not sure how she'll react.
Expert:  petdrz replied 1 year ago.

Yes, I have heard some good reports about the pheromone collars. I would try get her used to it by having it on her for short times to start until she gets used to it.