Causes of urine spraying in cats

Urine spraying in cats

Cats often soil, defecate or urinate in appropriate places. Cat spraying is a problem, but in general the root cause is usually a medical or a behavioural issue.

One in every ten cats eliminates inappropriately, however the pet should always be assessed by a vet to ensure the problem isn't caused by an underlying health problem or a behavioural problem.

The cat should undergo a thorough physical examination. The veterinary professional will conduct a full blood count, urinalysis and blood chemistry panel. The vet may recommend the cat has a radiograph; a type of examination involving special dyes to trace the urinary tract. If the tests detect an underlying medical condition, the ailment could be the reason why the cat soils in the house. The pet’s health issue can be monitored and treated accordingly.

After treatment, the cat may need to be retrained to use the litter box. Retraining the cat will teach the cat to urinate and defecate in the litter box. Refer to the article" Solve Litter Box Problems" for further information.


Inappropriate feline urination

The cat may decide not to use the litter box for a number of reasons. Here is a list of common medicals conditions that lead to inappropriate urination:

A bacterial infection of the bladder

Cats commonly suffer from bacterial cystitis or a bacterial bladder infection. It is relatively rare, but some cats experience a feline fungal infection. The infection causes an inflammation in the cat's bladder; hence the animal feels he or she continually needs to pass urine. The strong urge to urinate causes the cat to pass the urine before he reaches the litter box. Other health conditions including diabetes, bladder tumours, bladder stones or a displaced bladder contribute to feline bladder infection. Male cats tend to experience fewer bladder infections than female cats.

Urine spraying in Cats is distressing, but not uncommon. A feline with bacterial cystitis will often squat to pass a drop of urine. The animal may continue to strain to pee long after they have finished urinating. The pet may experience discomfort and cry out with pain. If the cat's urine contains blood it will appear pink or red. A cat with a bladder infection may hide, be lethargic or stop eating.

A urine test is carried out to diagnose an infection. The blood test will determine the amount of white blood cells, red blood cells and highlight bacteria. The cat's veterinarian may send the urine sample to the laboratory to be tested for specific bacteria. This helps the vet to treat the infection accordingly. If an infection is present the cat will be prescribed a course of antibiotics. The cat may have to take the antibiotics for a few weeks. If the infection recurs the vet may suggest the cat undergoes other tests, such as a dye study or a radiograph to find the root cause of the feline cystitis.

FLUTD or Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease

Feline lower urinary tract disease is common in cats. FLUTD symptoms are much the same as the symptoms of bacterial cystitis. The animal may urinate frequently, strain to pee or pass blood-streaked urine. However, this feline condition is not a bacterial infection. Urine Spraying in Cats is reasonably common, but more often than not the cause remains undetected. Certain factors may increase the risk of developing a feline urinary tract disease. Factors include:

  • Stress
  • Dry foods - dry cat food lowers urinary output
  • Multiple cats in the home

FLUTD tends to affect male cats more so than female cats. If the urinary tract is blocked the cat cannot urinate. If this happens the cat needs urgent veterinary care.

Diagnosing FLUTD

In the first instance, the vet will rule out cystitis. The symptoms of FLUTD may clear without treatment; however, the condition will almost certainly recur. FLUTD is treated in various ways, but environmental enrichment appears to lower the risk of recurrence by eighty percent.


Feline environmental enrichment

This simple healing process involves introducing changes to mentally stimulate the cat. Urine Spraying in Cats is annoying and owners find it distressing. Enrich the cat's environment to encourage him to use the litter box. Offer the cat more toys, spend time playing and petting the animal and ensure she can sit at the window and see outside. For further information refer to our article "Enriching Your Cats Life/ Cat Toys". The article suggests ways to make your cat's life fun.

It may be worth buying some new litter boxes to place in different rooms. Cat owners should ensure each cat has its own litter box and there should always be an extra box. Fill the litter boxes with unscented litter, scoop the poop daily and clean the litter box regularly with a bio-enzymatic urine stain and odour remover. Avoid cleaning products that contain ammonia or bleach.

Dietary changes and medical treatment may be needed to combat FLUTD symptoms. Canned cat food increases the animal's fluid intake. Ensure the cat has access to water at all times. Felines that fail to respond to environmental enrichment may need medication to relieve the pain and inflammation.


Urine spraying in cats and urinary incontinence

An incontinent cat may dribble urine or leave a patch or urine where she has been resting. Feline urinary incontinence can result from a tumour of the spinal cord or an injury. The vet may recommend tests and the treatment will depend on the underlying cause.


An increase in the amount of urine produced

Certain feline diseases can cause an increase in urine production. Urine Spraying in Cats is not uncommon, however, conditions that cause excess urine to be produced include:

  • Diabetes
  • Kidney failure
  • Increased thyroid hormone levels
  • Kidney infection
  • Liver disease


A cat that is producing too much urine tends to pass water without pain or straining. You may notice the animal is drinking a lot and losing weight. A cat with any of the above conditions may have a poor appetite and a dull coat of hair. Cats showing any of these symptoms should be taken to the veterinarian for a check-up.

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