Now the most often inappropriate elimination in our cats is their way to conveying a message to us. (since cat’s don’t do email). Cats naturally want to bury the urine (since they are naturally prey and this is a means of hiding their whereabouts) so the litterbox should be the natural choice. So, if he is showing an intermittent lapse in litterbox manners, then we need to consider what could be the trigger for this behavior. Typically, it can be an internal issue (ie bladder infection, stress cystitis, systemic health issues that are affecting urination or making him feel unwell, etc) or external issue that is upsetting them.
In this case, with the nature of his intermittent use of the box, this make litter box issues less likely. Furthermore, with him targeting the bed, I would be highly suspicious that your lad is using his urine as a means of “claiming territory”. And if you did have a dog over, it is quite possible that this is the trigger (unless there is one you haven’t noticed yet) and it has left him feeling out of control about what other animals have access to his house. (And it only takes the dog being there once and leaving its smell to set the cat off in a tizzy of territory marking. Just as we'd be upset if a burglar was in our house even once and is now gone.).
Now despite the dog being our likely trigger for his behavior, I would just note that it would be prudent to rule out health issues. The reason is because cats can be subtle when there is something internally wrong, so we would just want to make sure this is not the case and that we are not missing anything health-wise. To do so, you can consider collecting a urine sample from him This can often be obtained if the kitty is left overnight in a non-carpeted room with an empty litterbox. The sample can then be analyzed by your vet to determine if there is anything abnormal. They will be able to determine if there are bacteria and white blood cells present (signs of infection), and rule out other issues like crystals (a precursor to bladder stones), bilirubin ( a marker of liver troubles), or glucose (a marker of diabetes). As well, they can also check the specific gravity of the urine, which will just give them an idea if the kidneys are working as they should.
If that is all clear, then we can turn our attentions to the behavior side of inappropriate urination. Now it is good that our suspect trigger is gone (and we’d not want it to come back) but still we have a cat that is already wound up and carrying out this behavior (which can become habitual over time). Therefore, now that the dog is away, you will want to consider trying to allay your cat’s stress over the situation. To do so, there are some support measures that could aid us here. Often we will use Feliway (also known as Comfort Zone (LINK) in the pet stores), which is a synthetic cat pheromone that helps to relieve stress, promote relaxation, and remove the anxiety associated with the behavior. Otherwise, you could instead consider a nutritional supplement that can be mixed into food like Kalmaid (LINK) or Zylkene. Both of these are very good at soothing anxious cats that are marking. As well, there are treats like Composure (LINK) and even a Bach Flower Remedy (LINK) for cats (though not as well tolerated as the other agents and isn’t as feline specific as the other de-stress agents are). And as these are not drugs per say, they can be used in combination as need be.
Finally, I would just mention that we do want to make sure the odors from the urine are completely removed after he has marked the bed. To do so, we want to make sure we to use an enzymatic odor neutralizing cleaner (LINK1 LINK 2) on these areas because while normal cleaners will eliminate the smell to us, he may still be able to smell the scent and thus choose to go in those sites again. So, we need to make sure that the urine odor is gone even to his sensitive nose. And if you aren't sure of all the sites he has used, I do want to note that cat urine does glow under black light and therefore this can help reveal where he has been marking.
Overall, inappropriate urination in cats is often a message that something is amiss in their life. Therefore, we need to approach this in a step-by-step manner. So, do considering ruling out medical causes (to be safe) and then do take the above steps to allay the stress that will be inducing him to territorially mark your house. Hopefully as you do this and remove his odor from the house, you will find that he settles. Still if you try the above and are struggling, then you may also consider discussing drug therapy with your vet. Often this isn’t required for them, since addressing the above will often settle the behavior. But if he is free of health issues and particularly wound up over the dog’s visit such that we cannot manage his stress with the above, then there are drugs that your vet can dispense to decrease feline arousal and dampen his drive for territorial or anxious urine-marking. These can be short term and long term treatments depending on the cat and often will help you settle the behavior for them if nothing else will.
I hope this information is helpful.
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All the best,
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