10 year old fixed male cat urinating on counters

by Kevin
(Plattsburgh, NY)

Normal 10-11 year old male cat has decided to begin urinating on the counter in our kitchen.

The litter box is cleaned daily. We have the litter box at about counter height in another room so the dog can't harass the cats while inside.

We have one other male 9 year old cat in the house and they have been together for 9 years. We have a 1.5 year old schnoodle in the home as well. She's been here for over a year.

Vet has poked, prodded and X-ray'd the cat a few times and he has no health concerns. Always (almost) urinates at about 5am.

I've taken nanny cam videos. It doesn't matter if the counter is clear or cluttered. He has excellent aim.

My Thoughts:

I'm sorry to hear that your cat is in distress, Kevin.

I would always suspect a medical issue first, but if your vet has done a thorough exam, run a urinalysis, etc. then either it's an as yet undetected medical issue, or it's behavioral.

Some ideas...

1) Did anything change right before this started (think back as far as 6 months). Were there any changes in household routines, family members and pets, or anybody's stress levels go up?

Any changes in cat litter or litter box type or location? Changes in diet?

2) Are you sure it's just the counters? You might want to get a black light and check the house just to be sure.

3) Are there any animals outside that might be stressing your cat out?

4) Make sure you clean the counters with a vinegar and water solution, or an enzyme or CO2 based cleaner, such as Fizzion.

5) To keep him off the counters, you can place pieces of cardboard with double sided tape on them on top of the counters. Cats usually hate the sticky feeling.

6) Can you block access to the counters (usually tricky)? You can also try any one of the deterrents on the market, such as the motion activated spray devices.

Or, you could try something that cats usually dislike, such as lemons.

7) Try Feliway and Rescue Remedy to reduce stress, and add Cat Attract to the litter.

8) Confinement retraining can do two things. First, it can potentially fix the problem and second, tell you whether or not there may be a medical cause. If you confine your cat to a room with all the amenities and the problem remains, it may be medical.

9) I've mentioned this many times, but sometimes, for whatever reason, a cat will decide that a recently used litter box is not good enough.

What happens if you wake up at 3:00 AM and clean the box?

10) A purist would say that with 2 cats, you need 3 boxes, and anything less than that is taking your chances.

Relationships can change just as preferences can. Are you sure your cats aren't scrapping over the box?

Are there easy entry and exit routes where the box is now?

I hope that helps. Confinement is probably the best solution in extreme cases or cases where the cause can't be determined.

Questions? Thoughts? Updates? Please let us know.
-Kurt

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Jan 18, 2016
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7 yr old neutered male cat urinating and defacating on my counters.....
by: Kim

Thank you so much for the information and for Kevin's question! It's amazing because behavioral is right on point. I will take all your advice and I cannot thank you enough!

Jan 21, 2013
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What you must do
by: Anonymous

There are too many animals in this home. Cats are not keen on being together either and why are you putting a tray on a counter?

The cats will not feel safe going up there. Let the cats have their own rooms with their own tray in each, along with food and water, and the dog must have its own space too. Don't mix any of them together!

Cats will not wee or poo in the house like that unless they are stressed by other pets.

Editor's note: I believe the idea was to place the litter box in a spot where the dog can't pester the cats, so it's up high.

I agree that cats need space (both vertical space and ideally, enough square footage per cat) and they need private/quiet time, hiding places and so on.
-Kurt

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