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Cat about to go behind the sofa for a weeEven the most confident cats can have toileting problems from time to time.  Whether a cat is spraying indoors to mark his territory, has an underlying medical condition or has simply missed his litter tray, its important not to chastise your cat for this behaviour.

The smell of cat urine is pungent and can radiate throughout a home, and, if not cleaned up properly, can become stronger over time.

Cat urine can also leave stains on fabric or carpet, so it’s important that its tackled quickly and effectively.  If your cat even detects the smallest scent of urine in the home, he may be more inclined to toilet in that spot again, and so the problem continues.

If your cat is toileting inappropriately in the home, its important to try and work out why. Does he have an underlying medical problem, such as a urinary infection? Is he stressed about something inside or outside the home? Does he have enough toileting facilities available? The general rule is one litter tray per cat plus one extra, placed in quiet, private spots away from cat flaps, windows and doors. If your cat usually prefers to toilet outside, provide him with a suitable outdoor latrine – these are litter tray-sized holes, dug to a depth of about 30cm and filled with a soft playground sand. Situate these in quiet, secluded locations, such as in planted borders. 

To prevent your cat from toileting in the same spot twice in the home, a thorough clean is essential.  The locations that have been urinated on need to be cleaned, so there ae no scent messages left to indicate that this is an appropriate latrine area.  This requires disposable cloth and several sessions of cleaning the area using either a proprietary ammonia-free pet cleaner or a 10 per cent biological detergent solution.  Rinse areas well and allow them to dry completely between cleaning sessions.

The problem is often that carpets and wooden floors are either impossible to clean this way or they are so soaked they retain the odours.  Short term try covering the cleaned and dried area with plastic sheeting taped down at the edges to prevent accidents.  Then take your cat’s scent, collected from around his face with a cloth, and wipe it in the area, or spray with Feliway.  You could also try putting some bowls of dry cat food in the area.  Or, if this is a spot your cat seems to prefer toileting in, consider placing a litter tray here – this can then gradually be moved to a more convenient place.

As there is a possibility this is scent marking behaviour, ensure your cat has plenty of refuges (some high up and some dark) to get away from people as well as other pets, plus different feeding area and an environment where their reassuring scents are not removed by cleaning.   

A Cats Purr

"Cats make one of the most satisfying sounds in the world: they purr ...

A purring cat is a form of high praise, like a gold star on a test paper. It is reinforcement of something we would all like to believe about ourselves - that we are nice."

Roger A Caras