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Cats are perfect pets. They are cute, fluffy, entertaining and make great companions. However, no matter how much you love your cat, finding that they’ve used the floor as a toilet is really no fun at all. This can be a common behaviour noticed by many cat owners so you are not alone. In this blog, our team will look at the reasons why your cat may have weed on the floor and give you some steps you can take to prevent them from doing so in the future.
Why does my cat pee on the floor?
In general, cats are very clean and particular animals who tend to stick to using their litter tray or garden for their toilet needs. Unfortunately, even the cleanest and most controlled cats can occasionally have unfortunate accidents! However, if this behaviour persists it is important to try and establish what might be causing your cat to wee on the floor. Some common behavioural reasons for cats peeing on the floor are outlined below.
Problems with the litter tray
It’s fair to say that cats can be pretty fussy about their litter tray and working out which kind of litter your cat prefers may be a (smelly) process of trial and error. Your cat may be peeing on the floor because they have an issue with the type of litter tray you have bought, the type of litter used and/or where the litter tray is located.
To add to this, your litter tray could either be too clean or too dirty for your kitty companion – a heavily soiled litter tray is a no go for obvious reasons, whilst some cats don’t like scented litter, deodorants or disinfectants with strong smells. The location of your litter tray is important too – like humans, cats like to have privacy when urinating, so if your cat feels exposed in their litter tray they won’t want to use it. Also, placing the litter tray too close to their food bowl may put them off using it.
Your cat may be spraying rather than urinating. Both male and female cats, neutered and unneutered, spray as a way of marking territory and communicating. Usually, cats will only spray outside, however they may occasionally feel the need to spray inside if they feel threatened or like they need to reclaim their territory. Some reasons that your cat may be spraying inside include new cats being introduced, a new human member of the household, redecoration or a change of routine.
Unfortunately, as your cat gets into old age their brain function can start to decline, which can cause them to become confused about where they should wee and subsequently cause them to relieve themselves on the floor. Also, reduced mobility may come into play. As your cat gets older they may find it difficult or painful to move around, meaning that they choose to wee in a convenient place for them rather than making the journey to the litter tray or outside.
Frustration, stress and anxiety are common causes of inappropriate urinating in cats and can be a way for cats to show they are not feeling too happy about something. You should try and work out what could be causing your cat to feel stressed so that you can remove or at least reduce, the stressor.
Some common things that may be causing your cat to feel stressed include: –
- A change of routine
- Moving house
- A new person or pet in the household
- Competition for resources
- Other cats in the neighbourhood who your cat may feel threatened by
Your cat may also become stressed when you are away for a prolonged period. This can be particularly true if a stranger is looking after them in your absence and make them feel particularly vulnerable.
Fear of the outdoors
Your cat could be peeing on the floor because they are too scared to go outside. There are a number of reasons why your previously confident cat may have become nervous of the great outdoors, including a neighbourhood dog, the other local cats, nearby traffic or even noisy children nearby. Cats feel very vulnerable when going to the toilet and so they will only do this in a place they feel safe and secure, and unfortunately this sometimes might be your living room floor.
If your cat feels unwelcome in their garden or litter tray, they may look for other places to urinate. This is particularly likely if you have more than one cat sharing one litter tray.
How can I stop my cat from peeing on the floor?
There are several steps you can take to try and combat the behavioural causes of your cat peeing on the floor. Some are outlined below:
Establish a good routine
Cats like to have solid routines, and a lack of this can cause them to become stressed and urinate inappropriately. Ways in which you can ensure a solid routine include feeding at the same set times everyday and having dedicated ‘outdoors’ times.
Make sure the litter tray is to your cat’s liking
This can be difficult and may involve a long trial and error process! You should experiment with different litter tray types, different litters and different positions of the litter tray. You could also try purchasing multiple litter trays to place around the house to give your cat options. If you have more than one cat, it is particularly important that you get more than one litter tray to avoid conflict over resources which may lead to one (or both!) of them peeing on the floor. You should also make sure litter trays are kept clean, but avoid using cleaning products that smell too strong.
Break the cycle
Unfortunately, if your cat has urinated in a particular spot once, they are likely to continue to return to this spot to wee as their scent attracts them back to that area. You can try and prevent this from happening by thoroughly cleaning the area to remove your cats scent and by keeping them away from the area where possible.
Make your environment feel safe for your cat
Your cat may be peeing on the floor because they do not feel comfortable going in your garden. This could be because other neighbourhood cats are around. Although it is not possible to stop other cats coming into your garden, you could try letting your cat out of the door yourself rather than letting them use the cat flap, as this will hopefully make any visiting cats leave the garden.
It could also be possible that there is no suitable place for your cat to go to the toilet in your garden and they may not feel confident to venture to another garden. For example, if you have covered all of your soil with stones or gravel, your cat will not be able to go to the toilet here. You could try designating a small area of soil in your garden for your cat to use for their toilet needs.
Take precautions when decorating or moving house
Your cat has a very sensitive sense of smell, and even the most subtle of new scents could cause them to urinate inappropriately. Replacing furniture also means you have removed the item that was marked with your cat’s scent and replaced it with strange smells. When you do decorate or get new furniture, you should try and keep your cat out of the affected room until the new scents have mixed with the existing scents in the house. You could also try wiping a soft cloth over your cat’s face and then wiping it on the new furniture/room so that their scent is already there.
Does peeing on the floor mean that my cat is ill?
If your cat is frequently peeing on the floor, we recommend bringing them to the surgery to rule out any medical issues before trying to address behavioural issues. Some medical conditions that could be causing your cat to wee on the floor include:
- Diseases of the urinary tract –These include bladder stones, cystitis, bacterial infections and other inflammatory diseases that cause pain for your cat. They also cause your cat to have an increased urgency to urinate, which may cause them to wee on the floor
- Kidney and liver diseases – These both cause the cat to drink more water that leads to increased urination, which may cause your cat to wee on the floor because their litter tray has become soiled
- Diabetes – If your cat is very thirsty and seems to frequently not make it to the litter tray in time, he may be suffering from diabetes. Diabetes can be fatal in cats so it’s important that you bring your cat to the surgery for an examination.