Dear Most Esteemed and Knowledgeable Kitties:
I recently adopted a cat from the humane society. She’s very loving and a great addition to our family. At first everything seemed normal, she seemed to adjust well, and hasn’t even scratched anything. There’s just one problem. She wants to pee in our bathroom sinks. I also think I caught her wanting to pee on my husband’s discarded towel, but when I saw her start to squat I quickly grabbed her and brought her to her litter box. Every time I catch her in the sink I try to grab her and bring her to her box. I’m not sure if this is a behavior problem, and if so how to break it, or a different problem altogether. I’m worried we won’t be able to keep her if she continues to have potty issues, but I would hate to get rid of such a wonderful kitty. Any help would be appreciated!
Thomas: Well, Adri, the first thing we think of when we hear about inappropriate urination, especially when the kitty is peeing in the sink is urinary tract problems–either crystals or infection.
Bella: You see, when a kitty has a urinary tract infection, it burns to pee. The cool draft coming from the sink drain generally helps it hurt less.
Tara: It’s unusual for young cats to have UTIs, but it can happen. It did happen to me, and I’m only 5 years old.
Thomas: Of course, you didn’t say how old your kitty is. It is more common for senior cats to get UTIs because their urine tends to be more dilute (watery) and it doesn’t kill bacteria as well.
Bella: So the first thing we’d recommend is a trip to the vet. Explain what’s been going on and ask them to give her a urine test to see if there are any bacteria or crystals. If there are, your vet can give you medication to help with that.
Tara: Now, if your kitty gets a clean bill of health, the inappropriate urination is more likely to be behavioral, and there are a few things to think of.
Thomas: First of all, she may not like the litter you’re using. We’d recommend that if you want to use a specific litter, you start with using the litter she was used to using in the shelter and then gradually switch to the litter you want to use.
Bella: Even though she’s pooping in the litter box, she may not like the box’s location for peeing. Try putting the litter box in the bathroom if it’s not already there.
Tara: If your litter box is covered, remove the cover and see if that helps.
Thomas: The reason we recommend this is that the “pee squat” is different from the “poop squat.” In the pee squat, we sit up straight with our butts almost in the litter so it doesn’t splash on us.
Bella: If the litter box cover makes it so the space is too short for her to sit up like she wants to, she might not feel comfortable peeing in there.
Tara: Another thing you can do is get some Feliway plug-ins and place one in the bathroom near the sink.
Thomas: Feliway is a calming pheromone that helps to resolve inappropriate urination problems.
Bella: And it makes sense for you and your husband to make sure you don’t have any dirty towels or clothes on the floor, so that’ll help you avoid incidents like you described
Tara: And, of course, we’d recommend calling the shelter where you adopted your cat and tell them what’s going on. They may have some other tips for you because they’ll want to help you keep your cat in her home.
Thomas: They’ll also be able to tell you what kind of litter they use, which will help you with the kitty litter transition.
Bella: These steps should help you resolve your cat’s inappropriate urination problem.
Tara: What about you other readers. Do you have any tips for Adri on how to address her cat’s peeing issue?
Thomas: Please share your thoughts in the comments!