If your boy cat is sterilised, he is unlikely to urinate to mark his territory. However, it’s not unheard of and what’s more, there can be a variety of other reasons for a neutered male cat to urinate in an unusual place or way.
Know this: he’s not doing it to upset you. In fact, chances are HE’S the one who is upset, either psychologically or physiologically. That is, unless it’s behaviour he’s already learnt, or a serious medical condition.
Before we begin, it’s important to know the difference between a cat relieving the bladder, which is regular and healthy, and one using urine to communicate e.g. spraying.
“Spraying is when a cat backs up to a vertical surface with their tail erect and squirts urine,” explains the Humane Society. It can be immediately preceded by an upright, slightly quivering tail and may leave a potent scent. Don’t confuse this with ordinary urinating, which is when a cat squats on a horizontal surface to pass urine.
Here are a few possible reasons your male kitty is urinating out of place or out of the ordinary, despite being sterilised.
If a male cat has already got into the habit of marking his territory with his own scent before he’s neutered, he could continue the behaviour. Remember, it’s always best to work WITH him to address an issue; rather than punishing him for being himself! It may confuse him and even compound the issue (see “stress” below). Your vet can advise the ideal time to neuter your cat to avoid this but not create other issues from premature sterilisation.
Signs of stress. If you’ve recently changed the food, Hills Pet advises that your male cat could respond psychologically by urinating in an unusual way. If you’ve recently moved, added a new pet to the family or lost a pet or human family member this can also contribute. If the source of the stress is removed, kitty may return to ordinary urinating, but it’s advisable to always check that it isn’t a medical issue. Sustained stress can lead to illness.
Unexpected urination from a neutered male cat could be a sign of serious and sore health conditions including:
Pain. A sick kitty might not make it to the litter box. If a cat is injured, or recovering from surgery without adequate pain management, this could also affect his ordinary urination.
Incontinence. Senior cats and obese or overweight cats are especially prone.
UTI (Urinary Tract Infection) or bladder infection, cystitis, bladder inflammation. If kitty avoids the litter box, it could be pointing to this. Note, a UTI can lead to Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD), which can be lethal if a urethral plug forms, common in male cats, which prevents the cat from urinating altogether. Watch out for kitty licking his abdomen or penile area. It may not be about ordinary self-grooming; he may be trying to alleviate pain. Your vet can advise and we can help cover the costs (click here to find out how you can Name Your Price™).
Kidney infection. This is a serious condition affecting a vital organ and can be preceded by a UTI. Watch out for unusually frequent attempts to urinate over a period, little urine being passed, blood in the urine though this symptom is more common in females than in males (pink, orange, red –a pure white litter tray helps you identify this easily).
Diabetes. Diabetes is another serious disease and requires proper management and potential changes to diet to treat. Watch out for a very thirsty kitty who drinks more frequently than normal and maybe gets to the litter box a little too late (spraying in unusual places).
Here are a few steps you can take to address odd behaviour:
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