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Why is My Pet Urinating in the House?

Dear Dr. Barchas, My twelve-year-old cat Taffy has been urinating outside the litter box. He doesnt have a certain place that he does it--it just...

Dr. Eric Barchas  |  Jun 24th 2005

Dear Dr. Barchas,

My twelve-year-old cat Taffy has been urinating outside the litter box. He doesn’t have a certain place that he does it–it just seems to be anywhere. I don’t think he has anything medically wrong with him, and he hasn’t had any lifestyle changes. Why is he doing this, and how can I get him to stop?

Char, Formosa, ON, Canada

Dear Dr. Barchas,

My Boxer dog is one year old and has never done a wee in the house, but today he did one this morning on my bed when he woke up, then again on the settee when he woke up. Is this normal or should I get him checked out?

Emma, Essex, UK

As evidenced by the large number of questions I have received on the subject, inappropriate urination (also called housesoiling) is an extremely frustrating problem for pet owners. There are two basic causes of housesoiling: medical conditions and behavioral issues.

Medical conditions that may lead to inappropriate urination include urinary tract infections, kidney disease, diabetes, bladder stones or crystals, certain glandular diseases, incontinence, and irritation of the bladder linked to abnormal levels of acid in the urine.

In some instances, inappropriate urination can be the only symptom that an animal with one of these diseases will show. If a pet consistently soils the house a veterinary checkup is warranted. A variety of tests can help to determine if there is a medical condition causing the problem.

If no medical cause is found, the problem usually is treated as a behavioral issue. Stress, anxiety, dementia, submissive behavior, and a host of other behavioral conditions can lead to inappropriate urination. Your veterinarian may be able to recommend behavioral modification techniques to help address the matter.

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