RSPCA Great Southern Inspector: Unlocking cat behaviour and keeping your feline happy
Is your cat peeing on the carpet? They might be trying to tell you something.
This month we’re tackling one of the most common complaints from owners of this ancient and popular pet.
Unfortunately, a school of thought has developed that cats are vengeful creatures who can be manipulative, selfish, and even downright psychotic.
So, when an accident happens on your favourite rug, it can be easy to reach for the idea that your feline friend did it on purpose. Were they seeking revenge or just trying to annoy you? Hint — it’s neither.
So, before you write your cat off as a bit of a jerk, ask yourself:
Are they sick?
If your cat pees somewhere unusual, it might be a good idea to contact your vet.
Diseases of the urinary tract, including bladder stones or bacterial infections, can cause pain and an increased urgency to urinate.
Meanwhile, kidney and liver problems can lead to cats drinking more and urinating frequently.
If your cat is straining, but unable to urinate, they could have a urinary blockage.
This is a medical emergency and can quickly turn fatal, so seek vet care straight away.
Are they stressed?
Has your household routine had a shake-up recently?
Short-term stress could trigger your cat to pee in an unexpected place.
Keep a log of the days when your cat urinates somewhere strange and see if a pattern emerges.
If it correlates with something in particular — such as a friend visiting with their dog — try to adapt the house set-up to make your cat more comfortable.
If your cat seems stressed or anxious over the long term, seek advice from your vet about treatment options.
Are they unhappy with their litter?
Cats can be fussy creatures when it comes to the type of litter in their tray, or where it’s located.
Our feline friends prefer to urinate in private, away from children, dogs, or loud noises, and separate from their food and water.
One cat needs two litter trays to choose from, and the tray should be at least 1.5 times the length of your cat from nose to tail so they have room to dig, turn around and squat.
You can experiment with different cat litter brands and types until you find one your cat is happy with.
If your cat digs a lot in their tray, this is generally a sign that they like it.
If your cat is acting strangely, it’s always a good idea to chat with your vet for advice or arrange a check-up.
Top tips for a happy cat
- Giving your cat lots of enrichment can help curb unwanted behaviour such as inappropriate toileting or aggression. Try creating an indoor garden for your cat to play in and snack on using feline-friendly plants like cat grass and catnip.
- Cats love to reign over their loyal subjects from up high, so try out some floating shelves or a cat tower to give your fur friend a bird’s eye view.
- Make mealtimes last longer with food puzzles or puzzle toys. These come in many forms and require your cat to manipulate the toy in some way to release food as they interact with it. Search for DIY options to get started.
- Initiate a play schedule or, just spend time with your cat on a daily basis. A good lap nap or a playful interactive toy are great ways to bond with your cat.
Georgina Brown is the Great Southern Inspector at RSPCA WA.
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