How to Change a Cat's Urinating Behaviors

by Sarah Dray, Demand Media
    His refusal to use the litter box can indicate a health problem.

    His refusal to use the litter box can indicate a health problem.

    Cats are notoriously clean. Their tidiness instinct even includes their litter box habits. If your cat begins to pee on the carpet or spray your favorite armchair, he's telling you something's wrong. Stress, medical issues, old age and other changes can affect your cat's urinating habits. Address them immediately.

    Step 1

    Check the litter box first; the solution may be that simple. Because cats are clean animals, they'll refuse to use the litter box if it's not kept clean. As a result, they'll look for a different place to urinate. Different cats have different levels of tolerance, with some cats "insisting" on clean litter almost every day. If you have more than one cat, one might be unhappy about having to share the litter box. If that's the case, simply get one for each cat, plus one.

    Step 2

    Talk to your vet. Urinary tract infections, cystitis, bladder stones and even diabetes can cause a cat to change his urinating habits. Treating the underlying problem will usually cause the urinating issue to resolve itself, so talk to your vet as soon as possible.

    Step 3

    Evaluate the conditions in your house. If you've recently introduced a new cat or if there's a female in heat nearby, your male cat might be spraying to mark territory. Getting your cat neutered should solve the problem. Some cats change their urinating behavior as a result of psychological stress. For example, when a new baby or another pet is introduced into the household. This will require some adjustment and time, so be patient.

    Step 4

    Clean any areas your cats have already urinated on. Cats will return to the same place if they can smell urine there. Vinegar is good for getting rid of urine smell, or you can buy a number of commercial products formulated to get rid of urine smells. Dispose of any soiled rugs or items you can't clean properly.

    Step 5

    Move the litter box somewhere else. Cats don't want to be in the spotlight when they're using the litter box. If yours is in a high-traffic area, your cat might be complaining about the exposure by urinating somewhere else. Try different positions for the litter box and see if any of them make a difference.

    Tip

    • If you've recently changed the litter you use, it could be that your cat doesn't like the texture or smell of your new one and it's avoiding the litter box as a result. Go back to the original one or try something else.

    About the Author

    Sarah Dray has been writing since 1996. She specializes in health, wellness and travel topics and has credits in various publications including "Woman's Day," "Marie Claire," "Adirondack Life" and "Self." She is also a seasoned independent traveler and a certified personal trainer and nutrition consultant. Dray is pursuing a criminal justice degree at Penn Foster College.

    Photo Credits

    • BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images