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C2002-05

Dear Christopher Cat

My cat Priscilla has been urinating outside the litter box, and I can't get the smell out of the carpet.  I'm desperate!  My husband wants to get rid of her.

Christopher Responds

The second step is to clean the smell out of the carpet so neither you nor Prissy can smell it.  Start with an enzymatic cleaner designed to remove urine, and thoroughly saturate the carpet and pad with the cleaner. 

If you're in doubt about where she's soiled, shine a "black light" onto the carpet.  Urine spots will glow like a fluorescent beacon.

The first step, however, is to find out why she's urinating outside the box and treat the cause.  The most common reason for inappropriate urination is an underlying medical problem.

A bladder infection causes painful urination, and she'll stay away from the litter box because she associates it with pain.  A related problem is interstitial cystitis, a painful inflammation of the bladder wall.  Or it's possible she has bladder stones, another painful condition.

If a male cat has one of these conditions, he is in danger of "blocking."  His urethra is longer and narrower than a female's, so urine flow may be obstructed.  If he can't urinate, he could die.  If blockage is suspected, he must see the veterinarian immediately.

If Priscilla's veterinarian rules out a medical problem, she may have a behavioral problem.  Behavioral causes are generally less common than medical causes, but they can be treated with behavior modification and medication.As ruler of my home, I would never banish my people or any of my other "subjects" for a medical problem.  Take Priscilla to the vet so your husband has no reason to threaten such action.

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