13 things you never knew about cat owners and cat pee
Over 300 cat owners recently took part in a survey run by Hill’s Pet Nutrition to uncover the real truth about the toileting habits of cats. The results will astound you…
- 1.Cat urine outside the litter tray – a frequent issue
A whopping 60% of cat owners said that they had experienced their cat urinating in the house outside the litter tray but almost 45% said they thought that urinary problems were not common.
The take home message is… you’re not alone! Hill’s points out that urinary problems are the most common reason for cat owners visiting the vet (Source: Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. claims data for 2014) though the survey suggests that could just be the tip of the iceberg…
- 2.Cat owners are pretty relaxed about cat urine outside of the litter tray
“One of our cats has always been very good and never peed in the house, our other one has had sporadic periods in the past of peeing somewhere he shouldn't. Both he and us have compromised by finding a spot for his pee-tray that appears to have been mutually acceptable.”
Cat owners are pretty tolerant of the odd ‘accident’. The survey identified that almost 40% of people that had noticed a problem didn’t take any action as it either went away, or repeat incidents happened only occasionally.
- 3.Not having a clue what do about cat urinary health issues
While 77% of cat owners said they made special efforts to keep their cat’s kidneys and bladder healthy, only 67% said they actually knew what they had to do to keep their cat’s kidney and bladder healthy. Oops!
Just for the record, Hill’s says simple things like always providing plenty of fresh drinking water, adopting good litter tray habits, reducing stress, encouraging activity and feeding a cat food suitable for urinary health, will all help keep a cat’s urinary system in tip-top shape.
- 4.Double the cat, double the trouble
People who own more than one cat are more likely to experience them urinating in the house.
“I have 6 cats, some of which urinate in all sorts of places in the home. I never see them doing it! Some of my furniture and wood flooring is ruined, also upholstery and cushions. I would love to stop this, but would never get rid of the cats.”
- 5.A stressed cat can have an impact
….and 88% agreed that ‘stress and emotions can cause urinary or toileting problems in cats’. True. Taking steps to reduce stress can really help.
“Our Siamese cat hates moving house. Every time we have moved she has urinated in an inappropriate place usually on our bed!”
“My cat tends to wee in places that other animals who have visited have been, otherwise she uses her tray and she is an indoor cat. She does it most when my sister’s little dog visits.”
- 6.You believe your cat’s motives are pure
Only 12% agreed that laziness could be the reason why their cat didn’t use the litter tray. But all those couch potatoes need to look out because Hill’s says that an indoor lifestyle, inactivity and overeating have all been shown to increase the likelihood of cats developing urinary problems.
- 7.How to get rid of that cat urine smell?
Two in every three people said that once cats were urinating outside their tray, they went back to the same place every time. Cat urine is really hard to clean up well to get rid of the distinctive smell and cats can detect the odour even when we think it’s gone. Hill’s recommend using proprietary products that specifically aim to destroy those odours or biological washing powder followed by surgical spirit. Be sure to test first as colours and varnishes can be affected.
- 8.Cat pee where it shouldn’t be, isn’t just a guy thing.
Only male cats spray, right?
Nope. Even though 33% of cat owners said only male cats spray, the majority (55%) said it wasn’t just a ‘guy’ issue.
“I once had a female cat who would always spray in the house. Despite lots of advice I could never cure her of it.”
- 9.Are urinary problems boomerang issues?
While 13% thought that proper treatment by a vet would solve urinary problems so they didn’t come back, 33% weren’t sure if that would be the case and the rest plainly disagreed. Some cats are predisposed and will suffer recurrent problems says Hill’s and recommend cat owners take a ‘CSI’ type approach using black UV lamps to show up urine stains. If a problem has been undetected for some time there may be older hidden urine stains that are perpetuating the problem.
- 10.Everyone gets upset over cat pee accidents
Cat owners clearly love their cats and put up with the odd accident but when asked to rate how upset they were by their cat’s toileting issues on a 1 to 10 scale (with 10 being most upset), 60% rated themselves at 7 or over. Over 25% rated their distress as a 10. Cat bladder problems include FLUTD and other complex conditions and should be properly investigated by a vet.
- 11.Not every cat owner consults their vet about their cat’s urinary issue
The most common response to a urinary problem was to chalk it down to experience and in most cases it seems to be a very intermittent or one-off issue. But 33% of cat owners said they consulted a vet about their cat’s urinary problem while 20% tried changing the litter or working harder on litter training.
“My cat tends to spray if I leave carrier bags on the floor. Also he had a habit of spraying at a particular pair of curtains, constantly. He was 4 years old when I got him so not sure what toilet training he had had.”
- 12.Urinary cat food can be a form of protection
Although 63% of cat owners thought that some cat foods could cause urinary problems, only 3% changed their cat’s food in an attempt to solve the issue.
“My cat had a blockage caused by crystals in his bladder. He showed unusual behaviour like jumping on to kitchen surfaces persistently and trying to wee but missing the litter tray. He has had two operations to remove blockages and is on a prescription diet now.”
- 13.FLUTD seen as a common issue for cat owners
Although 34% of cat owners think that toileting problems are common in cats, even more, 50% in fact, think that urinary tract infections (UTIs) are common. According to Hill’s the truth is that while urinary problems generally are very common, urinary tract infections are much less so. The most common cause of urinary tract problems is a condition called FIC which is closely linked to stress.
“My cat Missy used to suffer from cystitis when she was regularly attacked by an unneutered tom cat and so went vets regularly but when we moved she didn't get them anymore so I put it down to stress,”
The Hill’s Cat Urinary online survey was completed by 327 cat owners in July 2015.
Urinary disease can lead to blockages which need immediate veterinary care. If a cat is showing signs of urinary disease, such as straining to urinate, blood in the urine, or urinating outside the litter box, the pet parent should call their veterinary surgeon immediately.