Animal Behavior Associates - Helping Kitty
Home | Behavior Products | Problem Advice | Audio Training Tips & Newsletter

Take the Quiz - Is Your Kitty Behaviorally Healthy?
Have a Dog? Get Help Here!
Tell a Friend
Bookmark this site
Become an Affiliate
Read our Blog
View Cart

Litterbox and Urine Marking/Spraying Problems

If your cat is soiling the house, it could be caused by one of several problems. It could be the result of a medical problem. Your first step should be to consult with your veterinarian to treat or rule out any medical condition. It is also possible that he doesn’t like using his litterbox, or that he is spraying. It’s rare for a cat to stop using the litterbox altogether.

Your cat may have developed preferences, other than her litterbox, for where and on what she likes to relieve herself. Litterbox problems are generally resolvable. Start by purchasing our booklet Cats Come Clean which is full of information about creating a cat friendly litterbox. These tips will solve many problems. Litterbox problems can be a symptom of other behavior problems, such as your cats not getting along together or fear-related problems.

Spraying is a marking behavior in which a cat backs up to a wall, furniture or other vertical surface, raises her tail, and deposits a small amount of urine. Both males and females can spray. If your male cat isn’t neutered, it is unlikely you will be able to control his spraying behavior. Have him neutered now - there are no behavioral reasons not to.

Cats urine-mark in response to anything they feel is a threat to their territory, including visitors, odors, or other cats. Cats may also spray when they are anxious or fearful. Depositing their own familiar odor seems to have a calming effect on cats. For some great ideas get our new programs Helping Kitties Co-Exist and Helping Kitty Be Good, both available as DVDs or audio CDs.

Urine-marking problems may require both behavior modification and short-term medication prescribed by your veterinarian.

Rest assured your cat is not doing this because he is mad at you, is trying to tell you something, or is trying to get back at you. Do not punish your cat, and especially do not show her the “mess” and then put her in the box. This will not solve the problem, will significantly damage your relationship with your cat, and can cause her to dislike the litterbox even more.


To understand what cats need to eliminate in the right places, see our booklet Cats Come Clean. Inside you’ll find 50 tips about how to construct and place a litterbox your cat will like and use! You’ll also gain an understanding of cat bathroom habits and the best ways to prevent elimination problems.

If you think your problem may be caused by conflicts between your cats, get our DVD Helping Kitties Co-Exist. Here you’ll learn what causes conflicts that can lead to elimination problems, how to get your cats to live peaceably together and how to improve their quality of life.

To learn how to prevent elimination and destructive scratching problems with your cat, get our DVD Helping Kitty Be Good. Here you’ll learn what cats want and need to be healthy and happy in your home.

Animal Behavior Associates - Helping Kitty
4994 S. Independence Way
Littleton, CO 80123

Phone: 303-932-9095
Fax: 303-932-2298