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Do Cats Pee For Attention?

If your cat is peeing in random locations you may be wondering if this could be for a reason…

Do Cats Pee For Attention?

Cats do sometimes pee to get your attention, but not in the way that you think. While sometimes indoor urination feels like was directly done to spite you, it’s generally going to come to one of two messages. First, a cat that is feeling poorly, may urinate outside of its box as a way to say ‘I’m feeling ill’.

Health conditions such as painful urination due to the presence of struvite stones or a urinary tract infection are two examples that could cause this behavior. That’s why it’s important to get your cat to the vet to rule out any health issues when this behavior starts occurring ‘out of the blue’.

Secondly, cats will do this when they are being territorial or stressed by recent changes in the house. This could be the introduction of a new animal, rearrangement of or the addition of new furniture, or even a new schedule that’s taking you out of the house more often.

Spaying or neutering can help to reduce these behaviors, but you’ll need to determine what is stressing out your cat for the best chances of minimizing this behavior.

What could cause a cat to pee in your home?

Tabby cat lying on a brown blanket.

Tabby cat lying on a brown blanket.

Cats love order and whenever anything changes in the house, then there is a chance that your cat may react by spraying. New furniture, for instance, smells odd to them, as the rest of the house smells like your cat – even if you don’t notice it.

Cats have scent glands all over their bodies, and this is why you see them rubbing against things – including you – and while their spraying is foul to us, to your cat it’s a quick way to ‘mark’ something with their scents.

Changes in your schedule can also stress your cat, as can a new person or animal in the house. Finally, the most common reasons that cats suddenly start urinating outside of their box are an untidy litter box or an actual health issue, such as a urinary tract infection.

Try to determine what has changed in the house, consider a spare litter box if the current one is often untidy, and be sure to bring your cat in for a checkup to rule out any health issues this should help you to minimize or even eliminate this behavior.

Can you tell the difference between cat pee & spraying?

The easiest way to tell is going to be by volume unless you catch them in the act. When a cat urinates, it will empty its bladder in one go, but spraying your cat will send short, concentrated bursts of urine quickly before moving on to the next place that they want to ‘mark’.

How can you prevent your cat from peeing on your furniture?

The easiest way to do this is to get some Citrus spray. While this smells great to us, cats don’t seem to like the smell of it, and these non-toxic oils can be sprayed on several surfaces to create a ‘cat unfriendly’ zone.

This should help to deter your cat from spending too much time in one area and potentially spraying it.

Should I punish my cat for peeing around my home?

Image of a woman waving her finger 'no'.

Image of a woman waving her finger ‘no’.

No, you should not punish your cat for spraying in the house. Your cat won’t understand why you are doing this and it’s more likely to erode trust, rather than accomplish anything positive. Clean the area thoroughly with an enzymatic cleaner, as detergent will only cover the smell for a brief time and ammonia cleaners will encourage more spraying.

With enzymatic cleaner, the uric acid content in your cat’s urine will be broken down, so that the area can truly be cleaned and remnants of the uric acid will not tempt your cat to spray there again.

Will cats pee out of spite?

No, urination outside of the box is not a sign of spite but is rather meant to draw your attention to a health or stress issue. It can also occur if the litter box is untidy, however, so be sure to check this as well.

If you can’t regularly change the litter box easily, purchase a spare box and fill it, placing it under your sink. This way you can quickly swap out the old box and dump it in the trash to take outside and save a little time, or you could simply put out a spare and clean them both at the same time as needed.

If the litter box is immaculate, bring your kitty to the vet to rule out health issues, and if their health is fine then you will need to determine what is stressing out your cat. Typically this will just take sitting down for a few minutes and thinking about what has recently changed in the house.

Do cats pee when mad?

No, cats don’t tend to pee when they are mad, but they DO pee when they are stressed. A condition called Feline idiopathic cystitis may occur when a cat is overstressed, due to the introduction of a new person or animal to the household or other changes in the environment that have put them on edge.

Try to determine what has changed in the house recently – it could be new furniture, a change in the times that you are home, a new animal in the house… you get the idea! Try to determine what has changed in the house recently and spend a little extra time with your cat to help to reassure them.

Once they are used to the new changes in the household, then this behavior should be minimized or even eliminated.

Do cats revenge pee?

While it’s hard to believe that your cat peeing on your freshly cleaned and dried clothes is anything but a direct attack on you for something that you did, it’s not likely ‘revenge pee’.

Cats usually act right away if they are mad at you, and to accomplish revenge your cat would need to first have a ‘moral code’ of right and wrong and not only that, quite a lot of forethought to plan the best way to ‘get your goat’.

That’s quite a lot of anthropomorphizing when there’s a much more likely answer. Cats urinate outside of their box when it’s not clean when they are stressed, when they are being territorial, or when they are suffering from a health condition.

A quick vet checkup can rule out a health problem and spaying or neutering helps to reduce or eliminate territorial behaviors. This leaves you with checking the litterbox or trying the addition of a spare box in case the other is untidy sometimes and if that doesn’t help, then something is stressing your cat. It’s not revenge… something is wrong.

What would cause a cat to dislike its litter box?

Sometimes if a box is too deep or too shallow, then this can cause problems. Shallow boxes get dirty fairly quickly and can result in litter-grit going everywhere when your cat tries to ‘bury’ their recent potty session. With boxes that are too deep, it’s easy to overfill them, and your cat may find this untidy as well.

Finally, if the litter box is too small, then your cat may also simply go somewhere else to avoid discomfort when they potty, so this is another consideration. Try a different box as a spare and see what happens – you might be pleasantly surprised at the results.

What kind of stress could cause a cat to pee inappropriately?

There are several reasons why your cat might stop using the litter box. The simplest is an untidy litter box or new kitty litter that your cat might not like, but other factors can certainly cause this behavior. Stress, for instance, from people in the house arguing all of the time can cause this.

A new animal is another reason, as this can cause stress or even territorial behaviors. Finally, health issues are the most common reason when it’s not a matter of the box or litter. Cats can get conditions such as struvite stones or urinary tract infections and this can affect their bladder control, resulting in urination outside of the box.

Bring your kitty in for a checkup and if it’s not a health issue, then try to think about what has changed in the house recently. It could be your work or social schedule, new furniture, or especially a new person or animal.

Cats don’t like it when their environment changes, but once you identify the problem then it’s easier to strategize a way to help your cat to get used to an environmental change.

Lindsey Browlingdon