What Are the Causes of Cats Urinating & Defecating on Furniture?

by Naomi Millburn, Demand Media
    House soiling is no fun for anyone.

    House soiling is no fun for anyone.

    Although cats are often thought of as being low-maintenance pets when it comes to potty issues, that isn't always true. In fact, just like dogs, felines are occasionally susceptible to bathroom woes. If your cat's house soiling is ruining the decor of your home, an investigation may be in order.

    Dissatisfaction With the Litter Box

    If your cat isn't pleased with his litter box situation for whatever reason, he may just decide to let you know it by relieving himself everywhere but inside the tray -- uh oh. Mull over all of the possible reasons why your fur ball may be dissatisfied with his litter box situation, from the texture of the actual litter to the specific locale within your home. Maybe you changed your pet's litter type and he prefers something with a less conspicuous scent. You might not clean the box out frequently enough. Cats sometimes possess elements of "clean freak" behavior. Perhaps he feels upset at having to use a box right next to the front door -- major invasion of privacy! Also remember that cats often resent having to share litter boxes with other household cats. Felines like having their own spaces.
    Your cat also may be displaying a brand new surface preference. If you notice him soiling your plush couch, perhaps it's because he likes the softer and smoother texture. His current litter may just feel a little too abrasive against his body. In this case, explore your options and consider using a more fine-grained litter.

    Urine Spraying

    When a cat is urinating on furniture, he may actually be spraying, a behavioral pattern that is common in both genders. Spraying has a lot of different potential causes. Maybe you just welcomed a newborn baby into the household and Kitty's marking his territory because he feels ignored, neglected and lonely. He also may be influenced by raging hormones, and is spraying the couch by the living room bay window as an attempt to send a "notice me" message to all of the nearby queen cats. In terms of stress, maybe your household has been experiencing a lot of friction and fighting recently and he's acting up due to the sheer anxiety of it all.

    Health Problems

    A cat's urinating and defecating on furniture may also be related to various health ailments, poor thing. In cases of urination, consider disorders including urinary tract infection, bacterial infection and diabetes. If your cat is on the geriatric side, he may just be incontinent. If defecation is the frustrating issue, consider inflammatory bowel disease or syndrome, colitis or even just a standard case of diarrhea. A veterinarian will be able to tell you if your cat's soiling is indeed a symptom of a health condition, so make that crucial appointment.

    Cognitive Issues

    If your pet is elderly, cognitive issues may be the culprit behind the problematic elimination. Geriatric cats often have poor vision, so consider the notion that your cutie just can't find his way back to his box in order to use it. Disorientation and confusion are also both common difficulties for senior kitties. If you combine confusion and bad vision, then litter box avoidance is no surprise. Try to make life easier for your cat by placing more litter boxes throughout your home. The more trays there are, the easier it will be for your cat to find one when necessary.

    About the Author

    Naomi Millburn has been a freelance writer since 2011. Her areas of writing expertise include arts and crafts, literature, linguistics, traveling, fashion and European and East Asian cultures. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in American literature from Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo.

    Photo Credits

    • Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images