Why does my cat pee all over the house and what can I do about this?
Cleaning up urine
As cat urine has a strong smell, it will take no time before your whole house smells like a litterbox. So you want to clean everything well before people stop visiting you because your house smells of urine.
Clean the pee stains with cleaning soda and not with a cleaning product that has a strong (perfume) smell. The smell may (temporarily) mask the urine smell, but it will not make the smell go away permanently. Besides that, when the cat smells you have covered the spot with a stronger smell, it will urinate there again to again mask that smell with its own urine again. Cats do not like very strong smells (unless it comes from something they produced themselves). Use cleaning soda instead or something that has no (perfume) smell.
Behavioural problem or medical problem
When a cat pees or sprays in the house (outside of the litterbox) there is always a good reason for it. In order to find out what that reason is, you will have to study your cats behaviour more closely. You need to discover whether your cats peeing is a behavioural problem or a medical problem. In both cases there are symptoms to recognize and possibilities to solve the problem.
Medical symptoms and possible solutions
Peeing or spraying
The first thing is find out whether your cat is peeing or spraying. When a cat sprays it leaves only drops of urine, rather than a larger amount of urine. Spraying is more common with male cats rather than female cats, although females also spray.
When a cat sprays it may be a sign of showing territorial behaviour. With spraying they leave their scent behind in areas where they small other scents that are not theirs. This especially happens with cats that are not castrated/sterilized and are surrounded by other cats in the household. To prevent the spraying it is advised to have your cat castrated/sterilized by contacting the veterinarian. For male cats this is a small procedure, for female cats it is a slightly more complicated procedure so your cat may have to stay at the vet's office overnight.
Cats have very small bladders and are therefore quite sensitive to bladder infections. Especially female cats are sensitive to it. You can recognize a bladder infection by the following symptoms:
- Your cat leaves small amounts of urine in corners of the room.
- Your cat keeps going to the litterbox to pee, but only drops come out or no urine at al
A bladder infection can be caused by certain types of cat food. When you change the brand of cat food, your cat might develop a bladder infection. Whether this happens has nothing to do with the brand, it being cheap or expensive, but rather the change of one brand to another.
When you suspect that your cat might have a bladder infection, contact your veterinarian. The best is to try and get some urine to bring with you which makes it easier for the vet to check whether it is indeed a bladder infection.
Another reason for your cat peeing or spraying in the house can be because of stress problems or problems with cleanliness. Important is that you do not punish a cat for peeing or spraying as cats do not show this behaviour out of spite but because there is a good reason for it.
Cleanliness and territory
When you get a new cat, it being a kitten or adult cat you will have to train it in using the litterbox. Drag your cat a couple of times a day to the litterbox, as well as when you see it will start peeing/spraying somewhere else. If you have more than one cat, it can also happen that one of your cats or maybe even both of them will spray to mark off their territory as it were. When your cats show territorial behaviour, you could make use of special products that cause cats to relax more, which might solve the spraying problem.
The environment and condition of the litterbox is of much more importance than many think. If a cat is unhappy with its litterbox it will start doing its business elsewhere. Here a few tips on litterbox environment and use.
- There should be one litterbox available per per cat, and perhaps one extra even if possible. One litterbox for more than one cats is not enough.
- Place the litterbox in a quiet environment. Most cats don't like to use the litterbox if many people walk by or if it is too noisy. Litterboxes should also not be placed too close to the water and food. Who would like to do their business close to where they eat/drink.
- Clean the literbox minimally once per week, but perhaps twice per week is better. Scoop any poo out of the litterbox every other day. The cleaner the litterbox the better.
- Try out whether your cat is happier with a litterbox with a lid on it or perhaps not. Some cats prefer having a more closed off space, but others may like a more open litterbox.
It is possible that your cat might be stressed. The cat will start peeing everywhere because it feels unhappy. A number of reasons that can cause stress in cats:
- Getting another cat or animal in the house
- Moving to another environment or location
- A birth or death in the family (either of an animal or person)
- Too many animals or other cats in the house
- Having a bad relationship with another animal in the house
- Too little attention from the owner, cats also need a bit of loving on a daily basis
Medication or therapist?
If in doubt, always contact a veterinarian. You can find a solution together, and they might have a good tip or the medication needed to solve the problem.
There are therapists who specialize in animal behavior. They could help if your cats problem is behavioral.