Off-target cat urine could be payback
Question: Our cat has recently taken to urinating outside his litter box. Why would this happen?
Answer: Urinating in inappropriate places is a leading reason why families give up their pet cats.
The first thing to do is to identify whether it's a medical or behavioral issue. If it's medical, your veterinarian can diagnose and treat the problem.
If a health condition has been ruled out, it's important to consider your behavior as much as your cat's. A variety of things can make the litter box unattractive to your kitty -- changing its location, using a covered box or using litter with fragrance or air fresheners, for example.
Sometimes a new individual or pet inside the home or a strange cat outside the house can spur the change.
Cats crave order and changes can cause unrest. It might be letting you know of its displeasure by urinating in inappropriate places.
Q: How can we get it to stop?
A: Ensuring the litter box is clean and in a quiet location is helpful. If you have a multicat household, it's best to have one litter box per cat, plus one extra.
Make inappropriate areas unattractive. First, use an enzyme-based cleaner such as Nature's Miracle or Anti-Icky Poo to remove all traces of urine. Because cats are highly motivated to soil an area that smells like urine or feces, it's important to thoroughly clean the soiled area.
Cover the area with foil, a plastic carpet runner or a food bowl, which will make it a less desirable place to eliminate.
If you catch your cat in the act, do something to interrupt it, such as making a startling noise, but be careful not to scare her. Immediately take her to the litter box. If it wanders over to the litter box, wait and praise her after it eliminates in the box.
The Hawaiian Humane Society welcomes questions by e-mail, email@example.com
. Indicate "Pet Ohana" in the subject line. Or, write "Pet Ohana," Hawaiian Humane Society, 2700 Waialae Ave., Honolulu 96826.