All About Marie

Animal Files columnist of the Orange County Register from 1992-2016; Emmy Award winning producer of Educational Television Programming; Host of "The Pet Place Radio Show" heard world-wide at; click the player below to listen. Producer/Director/Editor/Co-host of "The Pet Place TV Show" during the 19 years it ran on KDOC TV in Los Angeles and Orange Counties; Wife, Mother of five kids, Grandmother of two baby boys and one baby girl, and pet parent of two cats, one dog, many fish, and a cockatoo.

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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Upset Cat Spraying Furniture

Dear Marie:
Help! My wonderful indoor cat has started urinating all over the furniture! It probably has something to do with the fact that we recently took into our home another cat, a stray that had been hanging around our house for several weeks. The new cat has made herself at home and definitely has taken charge of the household, including over our other cat. I can understand this feline battle of wills, but I (and my furniture) can’t take much more. Will this settle down in time? How long? Is there anything I can do? Thanks for your help.

Dear Jan:
This is a question that comes up pretty regularly in my email messages and is understandably a very difficult problem to contend with. The smell of feline urine soaked into rugs and furniture is unpleasant and difficult to eliminate. Often, cat owners give up on their pets out of frustration. This leads to abandonment or
relinquishment of animals in parks or shelters. I am hopeful that you will be able to hang in there and be patient with your troubled kitty.

As with any behavioral problem, you must first make sure that its causes are not physical. A check up and consultation with your veterinarian are highly recommended. If there are no health problems at the root of this behavior, then you are probably correct in your assumption that the presence of your new kitty has led
your first cat to act out.

You will need to thoroughly clean affected furniture and carpeting to rid them of the urine smell. This is no easy task and will require several cleanings. Cats, by nature, will urinate in locations where they have previously urinated. Therefore it is imperative that the odor be removed.

If you have not already done so, have your cats spayed or neutered. This will allow for more harmonious living arrangements. However, even with this taken care of, expect hissing and fighting anywhere from a few weeks to several months. Your cats must work out between themselves what their rank in the family will be.

After they have sorted everything out, they will behave much better. Do not interfere with them unless they are truly hurting each other...then spray them both with a water bottle. The more you try to break up fights, however, the longer it will take for them to resolve their differences.

When you are not home, place your offending kitty in a bathroom or laundry room, preferably without carpet. (You want to eliminate any possibility of urination on furniture while you are out.) Give him food, water, a litter box and a nice sleeping pillow or blanket. Make sure the room can remain cool and comfortable with the door closed. When you return home, let him out immediately and spend some quality time with him. Do not lavish affection on the new cat. Your original kitty will become jealous. You must watch your pet closely when you are home. If he begins sniffing around furniture or carpet, tell him, “No!” If you catch him actually urinating, have your spray bottle ready to use (on mist setting). With diligence, time, and patience, this behavior problem will clear up.

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