Cats Health Cards N°20. Urinary cleanliness related to the environment of the cat



The cat is a so-called territorial species. He places an enormous importance on his environment, which he divides into various zones: a playground, an isolation area (where the animal must be able to remain calm, avoid contact), an area dedicated to its Meal or an elimination area where he will be able to meet his needs.

Any modification, any element that the cat will consider as disruptive in "its space" will enormously to thwart it and to be able to trigger the appearance of filth.

Dirtiness associated with a problem with litter,

In some cases, the proposed litter is not suitable for the cat and he refuses to do so.

He may not appreciate:

- The litter box (some cats dislike, for example, litter boxes closed, with little aeration, in which the odor of ammonia is much stronger)

- The substrate there (avoid fragrant substrates not appreciated by certain animals)

- The location of the litter: cats do not like to do their needs in a place too close to their place of rest and the place of their meals.

In the same way, they often dread the places too noisy or passing (one will avoid for example the proximity of a washing machine ...)

Lastly, the litter must be permanently accessible (do not choose a part whose doors are closed part of the day)

- Lack of cleanliness: some animals remain clean only if their bedding is changed very frequently.

⇒ Dirtiness problems can then be solved by changing the substrate or the litter box, rigorous hygiene or a reorganization of the space by placing the bin in a quiet place, little going, away from the basket and the bowl (In very restricted areas, spaces in height can be arranged to separate these different elements)

Cleanliness associated with litter aversion

Sometimes a perfectly clean cat until then suddenly seems no longer wanting to do in its litter box.

A very specific cause, an event that could have disrupted the cat should be sought.

Various traumas can occur while the cat urinates and urges him to avoid the litter at all costs for fear of seeing this event happen again:

- Violent noise (door slamming, explosion ...)

- Aggression by another animal (dog, other cat of the house ...)

- Very noisy children came to disrupt him while he was doing his needs

- Pain (a cat with cystitis can associate the litter box with the pain felt while urinating and no longer want to return)

- Punishment (it is sometimes tempting when the cat has his needs out of the litter to forcibly take him to the ferry to show him "where he must do." In reality the cat just understands that when punished, It is placed in its litter, hence its desire not to go ...)

⇒ To try to eliminate this recent dislike for litter, small changes will be made:

- A new tray as well as a new localization will make it possible to make disappear this phobia of the litter.

- The litter will again be placed in a very quiet place, hidden and inaccessible to young children if they are the cause of the problem.

- The punishments will be stopped (they only increase the anguish of the cat and its uncleanness)

Dirtiness associated with environmental change

As we mentioned earlier, the cat is very attached to its habits, its territory and any modification of "its space" can disrupt it.

He can then seek to reassure himself by reapplying his marks in various places of the dwelling, notably by urinary marking

(See article "What is the difference between elimination and urine marking?")

A "deterritorialisation anxiety" can arise from any disruption of the organization of the territory of the cat:

- After renovation work,

- After a simple rearrangement of the space with changing of the place of the furniture (some cats sometimes show unclean due to the displacement of a single piece of furniture!)

- Following a move

Other signs are then often associated with uncleanliness:

The cat makes big marks on the walls or furniture and its facial marking is changed (it does not rub on the furniture of the house as it did until then or, on the contrary, spends its time to Rub anywhere)

These changes in behavior reveal the "ill-being" of the cat

⇒ This type of dirt can be prevented by the use of calming pheromones applied in the new house a few days before a move:

Facial pheromones are chemicals emitted by the cat to locate and communicate with its congeners.

He deposits these substances by rubbing his cheeks on the various objects of his environment. The surfaces thus "marked" become familiar and soothing for the animal.

These pheromones have been artificially propagated and can be used as a spray or diffuser to help reduce the anxiety of the cat in the face of any stressful situation for him (ask your veterinarian for advice)

These same pheromones can be used to treat a urinary marking appeared after work.

Food supplements with soothing properties can also be proposed (L-Theanine or Trypsin Hydrolysate of αS1-Casein). They are easy to administer (powder or desirable tablets), have no side effects and do not cause sedation.

Dirtiness linked to the arrival of a new inhabitant

The arrival of a newcomer may, just as much as a relocation or reorganization of space, constitute an element disturbing the "little habits" of the cat and cause to him a great anxiety and the appearance of unclean ...

The new inhabitant can also be a human (for example a friend who has come to move in the house ...), that another animal (dog, cat)

Thus, a master who has just adopted a second cat to prevent his first animal from becoming bored may be very surprised to see his cat begin to urinate anywhere.

In reality, he is sometimes much more disturbed than delighted by the arrival of this newcomer who will force him to share and thus reorganize his entire territory.

This is called "cohabitation anxiety"

These disturbances of cohabitation can even occur in cats who had previously lived together without problems following a change (for example, at the puberty of one of the two cats, after a motherhood, on return from a fugue of one of the two animals…)

Generally, at the arrival of the new cat, the two animals "discover" in a relatively violent way: they scream, feul, seek to impress the other ...

These aggressions disappear if the animals manage to divide the territory.

When this distribution could not be carried out properly, the aggressions continue, becoming more violent and are caused by each intrusion of a cat in an "unassigned" territory.

One of the two animals said "active" continuously attacks the second cat called "passive".

In the most advanced stages of conflict, the active cat is obsessed by the second cat, watching for the slightest movement. The latter was then recluded under a bed or a piece of furniture, not daring to move.

The uncleanness can then concern the two cats:

The passive cat does not even dare go to the litter for fear of being attacked,

While the active cat, completely obsessed, develops great anxiety responsible for urine marking and elimination in inappropriate places.

⇒ To avoid uncleanness linked to an anxiety of cohabitation, it is necessary to:

- Do not intervene during the aggressions of the first days.

It is very tempting to try to assign each cat a specific space and to separate them to limit the "fights". Now the separation of the two animals will prevent them from correctly dividing the space and aggravating very aggressively the aggressions.

On the contrary, they should be allowed to do so, while leaving them as much room as possible (avoiding closing the doors)

- The use of so-called familiarization and appeasing pheromones can help calm the anxiety of cats associated with this new situation, as well as the administration of soothing food supplements

- It is also necessary to propose a litter to each cat (or a litter more than the number of cats) and to arrange these ferries in very varied places to help each animal to assume an elimination area.

- When the attacks have already taken on a much greater scale, only the introduction of a medicinal treatment can calm the anxieties of each animal and eliminate not only the uncleanness but also all the other signs of anxiety Two cats (attacks on the other animal, assaults on the owners, eating disorders, incessant licking ...)

Your veterinarian will consider with you the best possible treatment depending on the observed signs (molecules such as selegiline or clomipramine may be used in particular)

Unclean and depressed

When a strong anxiety, arising from a modification of the living environment of the cat, is not detected early enough, it can evolve towards a depressive state:

The cat becomes indifferent to everything around it, suffers from sleep disorders, develops anorexia or conversely a bulimia, it can begin to meow without reasons, spends all its time to groom itself ...

To these numerous symptoms can be added of the unclean: the cat begins to do its needs anywhere. In cases of severe chronic depression, he is so depressed, demotivated, that he no longer goes to the litter box and does where he is or even where he sleeps.

Once again, your veterinarian will have to set up a medicinal treatment.

The use of pheromones and dietary supplements can improve depressive disorders, as well as the introduction of game time of the cat with its owner (setting up of hunting games (mobiles, toys in the form of a mouse ...) and games (Punctured boxes, paper bags and all kinds of hiding places) to stimulate it to the maximum.

To avoid…

In the face of a problem of uncleanliness, whatever its origin, we must avoid:

- To clean the soils with bleach or an ammonia product:

The cat loves these odors and this will make him do the same thing again.

However, these cleaning products will be used to clean the litter in order to make it more attractive

- To leave any olfactory or visual mark in the contaminated place (these marks again urge the cat to urinate again at this place):

A cleaning of the urinary spots with soda water (Perrier type) and diluted white alcohol vinegar helps to eliminate urine odors.

- To keep attractive a new place chosen by the cat to make its urine.

If the cat is used to doing in a particular place, try to make this place very unpleasant:

Such as sheets of plasticised paper, aluminum or survival blankets, can be placed on quilts or carpets (the cat will then find them much less fluffy and will wet their legs if they urinate on them, 'Not at all!)

Water can be placed at the bottom of the bathtub or shower tray, to prevent the cat from going to urinate ...

- Punishments :

Any punishment of the cat must absolutely be banned because it only increases his stress and consequently his uncleanliness. A veritable vicious circle ensues with a very rapid degradation of the relations between the animal and its owners.


Dirtyness in the cat is very often associated with a disturbance of its environment and frequently caused by an anxious state.

Do not hesitate to bring back to your veterinarian any problem of uncleanliness that has recently occurred in your animal, specifying well the circumstances of the occurrence of these "accidents". Indeed, the longer the management of this type of disorder, the more difficult the events that could trigger the uncleanness to remember and the prognosis reserved.