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Cats Scratching Furniture and Peeing in the House: Two Big Problems With a Common Cause

May 31, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 152

If your cat is shredding your furniture and peeing all over the house, you may assume you've got your work cut out for you solving two separate problems. In reality, though, the problem could be simple to solve. These two major behavioral issues often have the same root cause and the same solutions.

Inappropriate scratching and urination are often signs of stress. If you've lived with cats for a while, you know how sensitive they are to stress. Big changes like moving to a new home, a new person in the house, and holiday hustle and bustle can all make cats anxious and influence their behavior for the worse.

What many cat lovers don't realize, though, is that even seemingly minor issues can upset a cat. A change in your daily schedule, a new piece of furniture or even a week of stormy weather can all do it. When cats become stressed, they try to take control of their environment any way they can. That often means scent-marking their territory to ward off any perceived threats, strange new couches and storms included.

When Scratching Indicates Stress

Although an important form of exercise, scratching is also a way cats mark their territory. Scratch marks serve as a readily visible sign that the spot is already claimed and would-be intruders should beware. What's more, scratching leaves behind scent oils from glands on the undersides of the cat's front paws. Other cats smell this odor and know to stay away unless they want trouble.

Not all scratching is a sign of stress, though. Scratching on horizontal surfaces like a carpeted floor is usually just the cat's way of stretching and exercising his paws and claws. It's a natural, healthy behavior and not typically a sign of stress. Vertical scratching is what you want to look out for. Scratching on the sides of furniture, door frames and walls is often a territory-marking behavior that indicates your cat feels stressed and threatened.

Is Your Kitty a Stressed-Out Puddle Machine?

Urine, cat urine in particular, is by far one of nature's most potent scent markers. A cat's marking behavior doesn't always involve tom-cat-style spraying, though. Cats realize sitting down to pee gets the job done just as well.

There are, however, some differences in the urination habits of stressed cats versus anxiety-free cats. A cat who's merely avoiding a litter box she dislikes is apt to wet in a secluded area like behind the sofa or in a corner of a spare room. A cat who's peeing to mark territory will often do so in a very visible area, such as near doors and frequently used pieces of furniture. She may also pee on any "threatening" item like a new piece of furniture or items belonging to someone new in the home.

Inappropriate urination due to separation anxiety also has a distinct pattern. In this case, a cat will seek out items belonging to the person she misses and pee on those items. The mixture of the person's scent and the cat's scent calms the cat and helps her feel closer to the absent person.

Simple Solutions for Exasperating Problems

If you think stress is the reason your cat's scratching the furniture and peeing in the house, your first step is to identify the source of the stress. If you can eliminate it, great. Even if you can't though, there are some easy ways to help your kitty calm down.

Create a secluded "cat getaway" area with a raised bed where your cat can escape from the noise and activity in the rest of the house. This could be as simple as a comfy bed and a food bowl on top of a book shelf in a spare.

Try a cat pheromone diffuser or spray. These products release natural chemicals that help cats feel more secure, so they have less desire to mark by scratching or peeing.

If you have multiple cats in your home, provide a litter box for each and watch closely to make sure there isn't any bullying or aggression going on.

Stress from boredom can also cause peeing problems. It's not that cats make a game of finding new and interesting places to pee for entertainment, but that the stress drives them to out-of-character behavior. To help your cat mellow out, hold at least two 15-minute play sessions a day with her.

Naturally, stress isn't the only thing that causes litter box trouble. An unappealing litter box, bad habits from kittenhood, and a number of other issues can also keep your cat from using the box. Medical problems are another possible cause. If your cat has suddenly stopped using the litter box, take her for a vet check-up to rule out any medical issues.

You can correct your cat's inappropriate urination behavior and eliminate cat urine odors and stains completely, but the solutions may not always be obvious. Instead of wasting time learning by trial and error, visit to discover proven-effective ways to retrain your cat and regain your home.

Source: EzineArticles
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