As cat researchers, one of the most common complaints we hear is: “My cat is a jerk! Every time I do something he doesn’t like, he pees on my bed or the carpet.”
Often this complaint is based on an assumption that the cat is seeking revenge or trying to send a message, The Godfather-style.
Unfortunately, a rhetoric has developed that cats are manipulative, vindictive, indifferent or even psychotic. This rhetoric means that when cats do something we don’t like, it’s easy to get the idea that they’re doing it on purpose to hurt or annoy us.
But cats don’t act like humans do and their motives are not the same. They are not trying to annoy or punish us. So let’s forget the human rhetoric and examine five reasons why your cat may be peeing on your carpet, bed or clothes.
1. It could be a medical issue
First, ask yourself: are they sick?
Many diseases or injuries—including urinary tract infections, cystitis, diabetes and chronic pain—can cause a cat to have unusual urination habits.
Feline idiopathic cystitis occurs in approximately 2-4% of cats worldwide. The exact causes are unknown, although having an anxious or stressed cat increases the risk.
It is often difficult to tell when a cat is sick. They are very good at hiding pain.
One sign is that cats experiencing discomfort want to pee somewhere they feel comfortable, usually a place they associate with safety—like your bed, your clothes or the rug.
One reason they feel comfortable there is because it smells like you, a person they associate with positive feelings.
So when your cat urinates in a strange place, your first instinct is to wonder if it’s time to contact your veterinarian.
2. It can be short-term stress
Has anything changed in your home recently? Are you renovating? Is there a loud noise? Has the new cat moved in next door? Did your friend bring their dog to visit?
Situations like this can lead to your cat becoming stressed and urinating in unexpected places.
Write down the days your cat peed in an unusual place and see if there is a pattern.
If it’s related to something in particular—like a friend visiting their dog—try adjusting the set-up at home to make your cat more comfortable.
For example, keep the dog outside or keep your cat in your room with their food, water and a litter tray.
Think about how to make your cat more comfortable (or remove the stressor itself).
3. It can be chronic stress
Unlike a short-term stressor, chronic stress is an ongoing issue that cannot be prevented or removed.
This could be a continuous stress from living in a multi-cat household or with a dog, or it could be from a condition such as anxiety.
While chronic stress can be tricky to manage, it’s important to recognize it and get help.
Continued stress can lead to serious health issues such as cystitis, which can cause urinary obstruction and can be life-threatening. If your cat visits the litter tray and has a hard time without consequence, this is an emergency. They need to see a vet as soon as possible.
Keep a short daily log and try to identify areas that may be causing your cat constant stress.
Adjust the environment to limit these stressors and if necessary, seek the advice of a veterinary behaviorist about treating your cat’s potential anxiety.
And if you’re too stressed, your cat can be stressed. Sometimes you both need to take a deep breath!
4. Be the trash
Your cat’s “accidents” may be as simple as them not liking the substrate, tray or position of the litter they are given.
Cats want to feel comfortable and safe when they are petting. So they don’t want to use it if:
the substrate you use will hurt their feet or be too deep and cause them to slide
the tray is too small or covered or
garbage is placed in a place that is easily disturbed.
Every cat is an individual; what works for one may not work for another. That said, here are some general rules for providing a pleasant litter experience for your cat:
provide one litter tray per cat and one extra for the household
The litter should be deep enough to cover the bottom of the tray well but not so much that the weight of the cat will topple it over.
go to unscented litter (cats are very sensitive to smells)
place the tray in a place with privacy and away from any potential stressors such as children, dogs or loud noises
if possible, place trays around the house in appropriate places so your cat always has easy access when needed
scoop often and keep the tray clean.
5. It could be because your cat is a jerk
It’s just a joke. This is not the reason at all.
Provided by The Conversation
This article is reprinted from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.
Citation: Why is my cat peeing on the carpet? Are they trying to tell me something? (2023, July 13) retrieved 13 July 2023 from https://phys.org/news/2023-07-cat-pee-rug.html
This document is subject to copyright. Except for any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without written permission. Content is provided for informational purposes only.