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Inappropriate urination is a known ‘problem behaviour’ in cats. Whether it’s weeing on the sofa or your bed…it is the cats way of telling you something isn’t right in their world, and they need your help.

In this blog I’ll share with you what happened when one of my cats started doing it, and how I helped him to stop!

What is inappropriate urination?

Cats are inherently clean animals and will use a litter tray to urinate and defecate…most of the time! Toileting (as we’ll call it) is not just a physical mechanism for cats. They use this biological process to establish their territory, scent mark their space and to provide comfort.

Let’s step out of our human brains for a moment and see things from the cats perspective. A cats territory is defined by its scent. A cats sense of smell is used for EVERYTHING in their world. From sensing if their food is fresh, to knowing if they have an invader in their home and need to be on high alert.

They use their scent to mark their territory and their humans. They ingest our scent off their coat, they rub their scent on their scratching post.

And they use their toileting habits as another way to scent mark in their space.

For indoor cats this will be a litter tray. For outdoor cats it’s likely to be a small space/area that they continuously visit to ‘do their business’. Ever heard a neighbour complain of a cat that keeps coming into their garden – they are using their existing scent as a marker to return to.

When a guardian experiences inappropriate urination it means that the cat is weeing or pooping outside of the litter tray.

This could be on the sofa, in the corner of a room, in the wardrobe, on their bed. Basically, anywhere in the home that isn’t the litter box.

Why do cats do it?

Because they are trying to tell you something.

Most people say it’s because the cat is stressed. I’ve come to realise that I’m not a huge fan of that term or expression. What does it actually tell you? Nothing really.

Stress can come from fear, stress can come from anxiety, stress can come from physical discomfort.

When the cat is weeing on your bed, or the sofa they are trying to express an emotion.

Sadness, vulnerability, frustration, jealousy, fear, nervousness, worry.

Our job as their guardian is to figure out which emotion(s) they need support with.

Cats don’t wee or poop on things to ‘get back at us’. To ‘teach us a lesson’, to ‘make a point’. That’s not how their brains are wired! If you think that about your cat, take a long, hard look in the mirror and ask yourself why you are projecting that perspective onto your cat.

A cat will perform inappropriate urination to deal with an emotional response. It’s a coping mechanism. All behaviour stems from an emotional response.

The most common reasons for a cat showing this behaviour is because they have experienced change in their world, and they are trying to cope with it.

 New person/animal in the home – cat feels threatened and anxious

 Someone leaves the home – cat feels vulnerable and sad

 Cat walks past the window outside – cat feels threatened and on alert

 Change of cat food – cat feels unsettled and nervous

 New furniture – cats territory is affected, cat feels anxious

And the list goes on. But do you see how a simple change will bring about an emotional reaction in our cats.

After all, cats are sentient beings.

 Cat wees on your bed – that’s where your scent is concentrated, that’s where they feel safe.

 Cat wees on the sofa, another concentrated scent space, it’s where the cat feels safe.

 Cat wees in a dark corner – it’s where the cat feels safe.

 Cat wees on your clothes – it’s your scent, it helps the cat feel safe.

Can you see a familiar pattern here? Underneath the emotions I mentioned earlier, the one core element – cats need to feel safe and secure in their environment. Just like us humans need to.

How can you get them to stop?

We recently went from two humans to one in our home (I’m now outnumbered by the cats!)

I spent time with Leo, and Baby Max, telling them what was happening and why. How they were going to be affected and how much I still loved them.

All seemed ok for a while. Then we had a couple of instances of inappropriate urination. You can see all the details on my social media. Leo had weed on the side of the sofa.

He showed no other obvious signs of stress. He was eating, cuddly (for him), playing with Baby Max, going outside etc.

We had a urine sample tested at the vets to ensure there was no physical issue such a crystals, stones, a UTI etc. All clear. Great. I was pleased to know he didn’t have a physical problem because that meant it was emotional – and that I can help with!

When you have this issue, you need to ensure you keep the space clean. Cats will return to their scent and top it up as it begins to fade so if you can, use an enzyme based cleaner to clean the area and cover it. We protected the chair with a light-coloured towel (so I could easily see wee) and put down some plastic, washable mats.

Put a litter tray where they are weeing.

The simple act of weeing outside of the tray will cause additional stress to the cat so if you can give them the option to wee in that space, but in a tray it will help.

Be kind. To yourself and the cat. It’s all too easy when this happens to get frustrated, to shout at the cat, to get annoyed with the material things being weed on.

It’s just stuff. It can be replaced. If you need to step outside to catch your breath, do so. Shouting at your cat will only make the situation worse because now you’ve added a layer of fear onto the cats already delicate emotional state.

Talk to them in a loving voice, tell them you see they are hurting, and you are going to try and help.

Get help. The longer this behavioural response continues, the harder it will be to stop it. It will become a habit that needs to be broken rather than a reactional coping mechanism.

Ask them what’s going on. If you can’t do animal communication, get in touch with me. I did a session with Leo, and he shared how his heart was broken and he thought that by weeing on the sofa and displaying a ‘problem’ the other human would return to our home. He also shared remedies he needed, and steps I needed to take to help him.

He hasn’t weed on the sofa since we connected.

So, peeps, if you have a cat that is weeing outside of their box, try to find compassion within. See the world from your cats perspective and ask what has changed for them.

Most of all, try to understand what emotions they are experiencing which is leading them to display this behaviour.

If you need help get in touch.

I offer a FREE 20 minute intro call. You can tell me the issues you are facing and I’ll see which of my services can help.

With love,
Julie-Anne, Leo and Max xxx

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