Thursday 12 August 2021

Reasons female cats pee on things

The reasons why a female cat might pee on things are the same reasons that a male cat might be on things. The question is one of Google's predictive questions meaning that they ask questions for you in the belief that they know what you want to ask.

Stress is a factor in inappropriate peeing. Image: MikeB.

I'm going to interpret the word "pee" very widely to include urinating and spraying. Clearly, female cats are just as likely to eliminate inappropriately as male cats. Therefore, if they don't pee in the litter box it may be because the substrate i.e. the litter material, is not a good match for that cat. Domestic cats do have a preference or they can object to a certain litter material. Declawed cats pee outside the litter tray 6 times more often than non-declawed cats. Tender feet and stress are the cause?! Or the litter tray might be in the wrong position. 

Or in a multi-cat household she may be bullied and therefore is forced to urinate outside the litterbox because she is forced off it i.e. there are not enough litter trays. Or the bullying may cause her to feel stressed and anxious.

On the subject of anxiety and stress, it can lead to what is called feline idiopathic cystitis (FIC) which is cystitis caused by no known cause except the cause is going to be stress and anxiety. If you combined that mental state with a permanent diet of dry cat food there is a possibility that the cat will develop urinary tract problems and a bacterial infection which leads to cystitis. The major cause of FIC is conflict with another cat in the home.

Male cats are more prone to cystitis because of their anatomy, however.

Female cats do spray urine just like males but less so. They are territorial like male cats. They have their own home range. But they don't defend it so aggressively compared to males. That is probably why people ask whether female cats do spray urine. Urine spraying is like a calling card as it tells are the cats that this is the resident cat's home range.

The matter of a home range is relevant to multi-cat households as well because the home ranges are much compressed which is one reason why without careful management the cats can become stressed or a timid cat can become stressed and spray.

The bottom line in answering the question as to the reasons why a female cat might pee inappropriately or spray is because of cystitis, stress and anxiety and/or defending a home range. Of these 3, the most common will be stress as it can lead to cystitis and spraying. Separation anxiety is a factor here too.

Feral cats have lower incidence of cystitis compared to domestic cats. This is probably because they are less emotionally stressed but they are probably more physically stressed.

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