House soiling is when your cat starts urinating out of the litter box either in one certain spot or all around your house. One should however differentiate between inappropriate urination and spraying.
When spraying, your cat seeks a vertical surface, backs up toward that surface, lifts up the tail and jets a stream of urine on that vertical surface. In odd cases your cat may spray on horizontal surfaces, too, but this is much less common, and in case this happens you will still see your cat lifting the tail and jetting the urine out. This behaviour requires an entirely different discussion that I hope we will have soon.
In house soiling, which is our topic for today, your cat simply urinates out of the litter box and this behaviour persists until the cause is diagnosed and treated properly.
There are several possible scenarios for this behaviour and right here I will try to explain shortly and in simple words the most common reasons for this problem.
When I have a feline patient with such a problem, I always first try to find out from my client if there have been any changes in the litter box or the litter substance. Any of these changes can trigger this behaviour. Cats are very independent animals and prefer to eat and eliminate when they are on their own and/or in the spot(s) that they are used to and feel comfortable with. Any change to that simply confuses their preferences and they may start soiling.
If medical conditions are suspected, your cat needs to be tested for their blood and urine to rule out/in diabetes, kidney disease, urinary tract infection (otherwise healthy cats rarely develop urinary tract infections unless their kidneys are malfunctioning or they have bladder stones) etc.
To investigate bladder or urinary tract stones x-rays need to be taken.
If the above said medical conditions, that are very stressful to your cat, are ruled out completely, then your cat is most likely suffering from Feline Idiopathic Cystitis (FIC) which means your cat has developed INFLAMMATION of the inner wall of their bladder. This condition is stress induced and very painful in the bladder. The inflammation of the bladder inner wall makes the condition especially painful when there is enough urine in the bladder to get in touch with the eroded wall of the bladder. This is when your cat feels the urge to urinate no matter where they are hence the soiling. Many external factors i.e. changes in your cat’s living conditions including even change in the amount of time you allocate to play and interact with your cat can trigger the disease. The list of possible stressors is literally a long one, and some cats are much more sensitive to these stressors than others.
FIC can be treated successfully and requires a good understanding of the problem by you and your veterinary team.
Herewith, I urge all cat owners in Markham to contact us for an appointment immediately when you observe similar issues with your cat at home. Timely diagnosis and treatment is the ultimate key in successful results.
Dr. Dave Bonab