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What Makes a Cat Urinate on Furniture?

| Updated September 26, 2017

Though cats are fastidious animals, there are instances where a cat will urinate on furniture or in some other inappropriate place. While this behavior is frustrating, it can be halted with knowledge and persistence. Learning more about why cats urinate on the furniture is the first step towards preventing this behavior.


Urinating on furniture is a behavior that is distinguished from a lack of house training. Even cats who are not house trained will seek areas where they can kick dirt or sand over their urine, which is known as covering. Urinating on furniture may take the form of a direct, purposeful stream or it may be an act of incontinence, which is involuntary.


There are many reasons why a cat might begin to urinate on the furniture. They may be marking territory by using their urine, or they might be suffering from a medical problem, such as feline lower urinary tract infection. This may also be a stress disorder. The cat may also be suffering from an aversion to the litter box.


A male cat who deliberately urinates on the furniture may be marking its territory. This behavior is also called spraying, and it is most common among male cats that have not be neutered. Neutering late in life may not stop this behavior because it can become a habit. Neutering young male cats before they begin to spray can prevent this behavior entirely.


Identifying the reason behind the cat marking the furniture begins with a trip to the veterinarian, who can rule out a medical cause. Inspect the cat's surroundings and see if any new changes are frustrating the cat or causing it stress. The cat's litter box should be scooped regularly, because cats will not want to use a dirty litter box and may be making their displeasure known through urinating on the furniture.


Urine stains on the furniture should be treated with an enzymatic cleaner to prevent the cat from smelling its own urine there and associating the scent with the act. If the urination is related to stress, keep the cat on a regular routine, offering food at the same time and at the same place every day. Feline lower urinary tract infections can be treated with antibiotics, while mental disorders can be treated with a range of different medications, including Clomipramine, Buspar, Valium and Fluoxetine.