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Sophie-Vet, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 852
Experience:  Veterinary surgeon working in companion animal practice.
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Hope you can help, to give you a little background on the Cats. I

Customer Question

Hope you can help, to give you a little background on the Cats.
I have five cats, (3 female and 2 male) The eldest is about to turn 15 (Ebony) Then (Tyler) will be 12 later this year, then (Sophie) will be 10 Then Leo will be about 5 (He is the only one that I rehomed and have not had since being a kitten, and finally Stella who is 3.
The cats are all indoors and always have been, and we are in a large flat 6 floors up.
The cats have always got on well, with a little aggression between Ebony and Leo (where they have hissed and snarled, and then walked away from each other.)
Until two weeks ago, Leo had Ebony pinned and they were fighting with each other, Ebony wasn’t hurt but was very upset after this, and I took her to bed so I could keep an eye on her, that morning Leo done the same to her, as I had to leave for work I made the decision to separate Leo from the other cats, while I went to work. At this point the only cats that had any problems with each other were Ebony and Leo. I put Leo in the second bedroom with food, water, a litter tray and toys. Ebony was visibly relaxed, just as I was about to leave, Stella was crying outside of the room where Leo was, Stella started to hiss / growl a very low deep throaty noise and started to spray all this directed at Ebony – this has never happened before?
Luckily my mam is over on holiday at the moment so said she would come over to appease the cats. I got into work and rang the local pet store for advise and to see if they had a feliway diffuser in stock, we talked about the food the cats eat etc., and he also asked if anything had changed recently that would unsettle the cats – Nothing is different in that respect. Mam also picked a spray bottle up of the felliway. She got to mine, sprayed felliway all round, plugged the diffuser in, seen all the cats and went in to see Leo (who was feeling very sorry for himself after being in a room alone.
The felliway has definitely worked and there is a lot less “agro” with the cats – Ebony tends to hiss at Leo more than he does at her, he is mostly not bothered by her.
Stella had calmed down and is back to herself in she is curling up with XXXXX XXXXXke she always used to and they both clean each other. But now Stella has started to spray, we caught her over the weekend spraying one of the cat beds, then the computer chair, and most recently the spare bed, I have stripped everything down cleaned and scrubbed, also using a mix of white vinegar and water to neutralise the smell, and then covering in bicarb of soda till try and then hovering up.
I am very concerned as to why Stella has just started to do this? All the cats are fit and healthy, they have a diet of dried food (James well-beloved, Orijen) and I have just started them on the raw cat food (natures:menu)
And last night to add more to all of this Ebony has started to wee (not spray) on one of her cat beds?

I really am not sure what to try next?
Thank you in advance
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  Sophie-Vet replied 4 years ago.

Sophie-Vet :

Hi there, my name is Sophie and I am a registered veterinarian and I would like to help you.

Sophie-Vet :

Sorry to hear about your kitty problems. This is not uncommon in multicat households. Cats are really sensitive and there are so many triggers to stress behaviours. This certainly sounds like it is stress related given the response to the feliway, which is an excellent product.

Sophie-Vet :

Inappropriate urination is seen in cats that are stressed. Female cats don't actually spray at all so she is simply weeing every time she is urinating in the house. Cats who become stressed are very prone to urine infections so I would definitely recommend getting her checked over by your veterinarian. They will be able to take a urine sample from her bladder so that it can be checked for bacteria under the microscope. It can be really easy to contaminate samples caught from the floor with bacteria so they are not good for this test.

Sophie-Vet :

It is important to make sure that stressed cats don't need to compete for resources like litter trays. You want to have at least 4 litter trays in separate areas of your house if you have 3 cats. Keeping different food and water bowls scattered about also helps with this. It is good to leave lots of hiding spaces so the cats can escape each other and feel secure in the home.

Sophie-Vet :

Feliway can take about 2 weeks to 'kick in' fully and in the UK you are lucky that you can easily source a milk protein product called zylkene. You simply open the capsules and sprinkle in the food. This can help relieve stress at home too. It is certainly a good product to use alongside the feliway and it is pretty cheap. You could try using it for 10 days and see if it helps. You can probably get this from your vet when you take Ebony in to the vets for a urine test.

Sophie-Vet :

I hope this information will help you. I think you have made a really sensible start to tackling this issue and it has shown. If you need anything else please just reply. I am always happy to help. If it has been of use please rate/accept my answer so that the website recognizes my work : )

Sophie-Vet :

All the best with your kitties, Sophie : )

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hi Sophie,


Thank you for taking the time to answer this and to offer me some assistance.


Firstly the cat litter trays to cats is correct - so I dont think this is causing the problem. (5 cats)


Secondly Stella has definitely been spraying (its the posture she is standing upright, tail quivering in the air - and a straight shot out of her (trying to say this politely?)

Where as the weeing is more bum down in a squat position - and loads more liquid?


Food bowls and water dishes are scattered around the house, and treats are left out and about so they can "find" them. And there are plenty of hiding places for them - some so good I occasionally think I have lost one!!


I was in the pet store yesterday and have bout a cleaning product with enzymes in which I've been told will help to get rid of the odour that they can smell where they have been spraying / weeing.


I'm going to try and get some Zylkene at lunchtime today (failing that I can order it online and have it early next week.


Its ok to not rate you till after I've tried it - in case I have a few more questions? Is this ok?


I'm reluctant to take Ebony to the vets - as they normally have a huge fight when I get her back home - so I was thinking to try and not have this issue to get teh zylkene into them first (and then take her when they are a bit more "chilled"


I will update soon - and Thank you so much :)

Expert:  Sophie-Vet replied 4 years ago.
Hey good work with the trays, sounds like Stella is scent-marking. Both scent marking and inappropriate urination in the house can be caused by stress and this affects different cats in different ways. The zylkene is a good move. You can always come back and follow up (there is no charge) rating doesn't affect this either so don't worry. Hope all goes well, Sophie : )