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 Dr. Joey Your Own Question

Dr. Joey
Dr. Joey, Board Certified
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 4723
Experience:  15 yrs in practice, specialist canine/feline medicine
20970409
Type Your Cat Question Here...
Dr. Joey is online now

In December 2013, my adult son and I got a rehomed cat who

Resolved Question:

In December 2013, my adult son and I got a rehomed cat who lived with 3 other cats. We were told that she occasionally sprayed in the house. She is now a much loved "only" cat. She has never sprayed in the house but she urinates. She did not do this for about the first 2 weeks, then she did it after we had visitors. She then stopped for a good couple of months but, in the last 6 weeks or so, she has started again with more frequency. she has never wet her own bedding, but has wet on ours (she no longer has access), and on furniture or items that belong to us. I have laundered and cleaned settee covers etc thoroughly. we use Feliway spray and she has access to clean litter tray and toys. She uses her litter tray to wee in conjunction with wetting furniture and personal items. we have never been in the room when she has wet, but one or both of us are usually in the house, though she also does it when left alone (for brief times, not long periods). She has access to outside space, though seems to like one of us to be around. We do not leave her outside if we are out of the house. We have never chastised or shouted at her and she always has lots of affection; she is very loving and can be timid at times, yet very affectionate with some people who come to the house. Overnight she has wet both settees (one which had a cover on, one which didn't). This seems to mark an escalation in the problem as it has generally been once a week or twice. There is nothing that we can discern that is different to the period when she stopped urinating. She does not seem to have a bladder problem and it was initially thought that she was stressed and the situation would improve which, for a time it seemed to do. I am at my wits end now. Other than keeping her permanently shut in the kitchen when we are not in the room, \(which I wouldn't do), I am at a loss. This is not the first cat I have had as an adult and always had cats in childhood but have never encountered this problem. Please help!!
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  Dr. Joey replied 2 years ago.

Dr. Joey :

Hello I am Dr. Joey. Thanks for trusting me to help you and your pet today. I am a licensed veterinarian with over 15 years of experience. I look forward to working with you.

Dr. Joey :

Oh what a frustrating problem! You are definitely not alone. Many cats have this issue. The first step is to determine if she has a true medical problem before we consign this being a behavioral issue. This means, I highly recommend you have your veterinarian see her to do an examination and then some screening testing which should include at least a urinalysis but depending on her age, screening for underlying issues that would cause increased water intake/urinations (kidney disease, hyperthyroidism, etc) may be indicated.

Dr. Joey :

If no medical issue is identified then you do need to treat this as a behavioral problem.


As a behavioral issue there is no way to sugarcoat this...this will be tough to combat. But I have a few suggestions for you.

Dr. Joey :

First, we must assess the litterbox situation. Do you have enough litterboxes? The recommendation by specialists is that you have one box per cat plus one. So, that means at least 2 boxes. An especially fearful cat may not approach a box because something terrifying is between him and the box, such as a vacuum cleaner. Therefore, she will eliminate outside the box instead of approaching it. With two boxes, the problem is solved.


 


Where is the litterbox located? Cats don’t like to have their litterbox close to their food or bedding. They like to have a consistent, private place to do their business. So, avoid placing the box in one of the busiest rooms in the house. Be careful with boxes in the bathroom. If a cat gets sprayed by the shower while eliminating in the box, you can be guaranteed she may refuse to use the box again. Is the box easy for the cat to get into? This may be silly, but some people keep the boxes in a closet and then forget to leave the door open!


I always like to assume you are doing a great job with cleaning the box (scooping all daily; cleansing out the litter entirely every 3 to 4 weeks and when you do this complete change-out you actually cleanse the box itself with a non-ammonia cleaner). I recommend try a different litter. Try one that isn't as dusty and doesn't have an overt odorizer.


I think I forgot to mention above that if you have a hood on the box, take it off at least for now. Some cats start to hate the gas chamber effect they create. Other cats that are arthritis or on the larger side have a super tough time maneuvering into/out of the box to go, and ultimately give up and go near it. If you feel like it is a smaller box and she does have arthritis, then perhaps try a larger box that she can maneuver around in. Some people buy one of the tupperware storage containers that is a low rectangular box and cut an entry-way into it. This works superbly. Our goal is that we want her to love her box. We want her to jump in there, scratch around and make a big mess which means she likes being in the box.


 


Some cats need to be confined to a smaller area for a while until they earn the privilege to get back into the whole house by proving she can consistently use the box. You should not feel guilty about confining her to 1 or 2 rooms for a few weeks until she proves she is able to do this. During that time you can make the litterbox an excellent experience as noted above. Also we can work on reducing anxiety since this can sometimes play a role in these problems. If not already tried, buy a Feliway Diffuser. This releases the positive cat pheromone that makes cats feel awesome and are less likely to misbehave (cannot hurt and might help). Spend quality time with her daily doing what she likes whether that be petting, brushing, playing (laser pointer chasing, feather on a pole chasing, retrieving, etc) for at least 10 to 20 minutes a day. THis helps her know you still care.

Customer:

could you tell me your suggestions please?

Dr. Joey :

Above...starting. It takes a few minutes to type this. There are lots of things you can do. :)

Dr. Joey :

As some final notes, be sure not to punish ther when you find the disasters (you noted you are not which is wonderful). If you did punish, it would only serves to increase anxiety and can worsen the situation.


The other thing it is very important to thoroughly cleanse all areas that she has inappropriately eliminated. I recommend using an enzymatic cleaner. These can help get rid of the odor. If you have carpets, steam clean. If the cat smells it, then she is more likely to go again in these areas...plus it improves the odor for your nose as well.

Dr. Joey :

Finally, if you have done all of those things and no improvement, then it is time to discuss medication with your vet. Some cats are experiencing anxiety that we must address with medications (such as amitriptyline or fluoxetine).

Dr. Joey :

PLease let me know if anything did not make sense, seemed confusing or you have any questions!

Customer:

Thank you for your suggestions. Unfortunately, due to the configuration of the house, the only rooms where the litter box can be sited are the kitchen and the main living area which leads off the kitchen, so her tray is located in the kitchen. She uses it regularly in conjunction with urinating in other areas. I have tried different litter

Dr. Joey :

Excellent for starting a few steps in trying to resolve this. Do what you can of the suggestions above. If she has not already been seen by her veterinarian, then this is a next step. Give the cyclic nature of this (not all the time) it makes me wonder if she has bladder inflammation such as from idiopathic cystitis (sterile, nonbacterial inflammation of the bladder). This is a common problem and if identified there is medication to help treat this. But a cure is tough; takes a long time to resolve.

Dr. Joey :

If you have already had her checked out for medical problems (found nothing) and done the suggestions above, then it is time to have a discussion of medication with your vet. I know the thought of a daily long-term medication is daunting in a cat since they are a challenge to medicate. But potentially this could be compounded professionally into a transdermal ointment that is rubbed on the inside of her ear once daily or made into a liquid to be hidden in food or a chewy treat.

Dr. Joey :

Please let me know if you have any further questions. If not, then keep me posted. I am always happy to answer followup questions. You can reply to this question at any time to submit a followup. My goal is to provide you with excellent service today. If there’s anything else I can do, let me know – it’s been a pleasure working with you and I hope to assist you again soon! Kindly submit a rating as you exit our chat.

Customer:

Thank you for your suggestions. Unfortunately, due to the configuration of the house, the only rooms where the litter box can be sited are the kitchen and the main living area which leads off the kitchen, so her tray is located in the kitchen. She uses it regularly in conjunction with urinating in other areas. I have tried different a number of different litters and she now has one she likes (at least I thought she did). Her tray is completely changed twice a week and cleaned out as soon as we know that she has used it. I am wary of putting a tray, say, upstairs which is the only other place I could site a second one, as this would give her access to other areas where she has previously soiled. Last week I washed all the furniture covers and steam-cleaned the cushions underneath but she has wet on that overnight.I intend to have another consultation with the vet, as you have suggested. It sounds awful, and I wouldn't wish a long term bladder problem on anybody, but it almost would be a relief. As it is, my thinking is that it could well be behavioural as she did it (or something similar) at her last house, and was checked out by Blue Cross and subsequently my own vet and no physical problem was identified, but I take your point and will do so again.

Dr. Joey :

It sounds like you are doing a great job with her litterbox care. Great job on getting rid of the urine smell (be sure to use an enzymatic cleaner). It is absolutely a relief to find a medical problem! Then there is a reason rather than behavioral which is daunting to try to deal with.

Customer:

If something else occurs to me to ask you about, for how long does the opportunity for free advice last? Also, is there a way of saving this advice and getting in touch without going through all the details again?

Dr. Joey :

You can alway reply to this question in the future to have a followup. Once we exit our chat the screen will change to one that is easier to print, and you may always return to the transcript of our chat. You go to your questions under your profile and then you can read this.

Dr. Joey :

I must step away from the computer at this time. AGain, you may submit a followup in the future. Kindly submit a rating as you exit.

Customer:

Thank you.

Dr. Joey, Board Certified
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 4723
Experience: 15 yrs in practice, specialist canine/feline medicine
Dr. Joey and 2 other Cat Specialists are ready to help you

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 & George
< Previous | Next >
  • 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 & George
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C.
  • 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!!!! Alex
  • 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. GP
  • I couldn't be more satisfied! This is the site I will always come to when I need a second opinion. Justin
  • 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. Esther
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C.
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Dr. Joey

    Dr. Joey

    Board Certified

    Satisfied Customers:

    576
    15 yrs in practice, specialist canine/feline medicine
< Previous | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.co.uk/uploads/ZF/zforward/2012-6-6_202211_headshot1.64x64.jpg Dr. Joey's Avatar

    Dr. Joey

    Board Certified

    Satisfied Customers:

    576
    15 yrs in practice, specialist canine/feline medicine
  • http://ww2.justanswer.co.uk/uploads/VE/vetdeb/Debbie Headshot 500.64x64.jpg Dr. Deb's Avatar

    Dr. Deb

    Cat Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    186
    I have been a practicing veterinarian for over 30 years.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.co.uk/uploads/NE/nekovet/2013-8-20_23339_nekovet.64x64.jpg Dr. B.'s Avatar

    Dr. B.

    Cat Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    1362
    I am a small animal veterinarian with a special interest in cats and am happy to discuss any questions you have.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.co.uk/uploads/doggfone1/2009-07-16_133633_vet_pic.jpg Dr. Scott's Avatar

    Dr. Scott

    Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    3955
    15 years of small animal, equine and pocket pet experience in medicine and surgery.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.co.uk/uploads/VE/vetforyou/2012-6-20_33122_PearlPhoto.64x64.jpg Dr. Andy's Avatar

    Dr. Andy

    Medical Director

    Satisfied Customers:

    3073
    UC Davis graduate, Interests: Dermatology, Internal Medicine, Pain Management
  • http://ww2.justanswer.co.uk/uploads/AN/andrewDVM/2012-4-27_12585_iStock000011751407XSmall.64x64.jpg Dr. Drew's Avatar

    Dr. Drew

    Cat Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    2359
    Small Animal Medicine and Surgery
  • http://ww2.justanswer.co.uk/uploads/fshlee/2009-7-15_23110_drlee.jpg Dr. Lee's Avatar

    Dr. Lee

    Cat Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    1219
    8 years of experience in veterinary medicine and surgery
 
 
 

Related Cat Questions