Why does her cat spray in litter box?

Cat Spraying No More

Why does her cat spray in litter box?


Q:


My 10-year-old cat, Tony, a neutered male, has a habit of spraying whenever he urinates in his litter box, rather than squatting like a normal cat. He has done this ever since he was a kitten. Is this normal behavior? Is there a way to retrain him to squat rather than urinate on the walls of his litter box?




A:

Often cats spray because of a medical problem or increased stress levels. However, if Tony has done this since he was a kitten, it might be normal for him. Medical problems for a 10-year-old cat that might cause this would include osteoarthritis or a urinary tract infection.

You should have him checked out by your regular veterinarian to rule out a medical problem. I would also consider evaluating whether something in the household could be making him spray. Indoor cats may become upset when new cats come into their yard. Make sure that Tony’s litter box is in an appealing area for him, i.e., not too cold or noisy, and that he is not being harassed by another cat or dog in the household when he goes there.

Also consider what type of litter box you are using. For cats that urinate horizontally, you could try using a large clear plastic storage container for a litter box. These are great, especially for larger cats, because they are big and have high sides. As with any cat having litter box issues, you want to make sure you are cleaning the boxes well and that you have enough.

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You should always have one litter box for every cat in the house, plus an extra one. You should be scooping the boxes out daily, cleaning them out completely and changing the litter at least once a month if you are using clumping litter (which most cats prefer).

Denise Johnsen

, DVM, practices general medicine with a special interest in feline medicine at

Adobe Animal Hospital

(

www.adobe-animal.com

) in Los Altos.

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