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C2003-49

Dear Christopher Cat

We just adopted Tara, a four-year-old cat, from a friend. Since she’s moved in with us, she has started urinating everywhere – on the sofa, the bed, the floor – everywhere. She also uses her litter box.

The veterinarian checked her and said she doesn’t have a bladder infection.

I know she didn’t do this at my friend’s house because I visited there often. How can we make her stop?

Christopher Responds

It’s good that you ruled out medical problems such as urinary tract infection, often a cause of inappropriate urination.

That leaves environmental changes and stress as the next most likely causes.

If you are using a different brand of litter or a different style of litter box (covered versus uncovered), provide the kind Tara used before. Be sure you have at least one box on each floor of the house, and one more box than the number of cats in the family.

Until Tara is using the litter box exclusively, confine her to one room with two litter boxes. Make the litter boxes as inviting as possible by cleaning them twice daily and putting them in a protected area of the room.

It’s said that while dogs don’t like to change the people in their lives, cats don’t like new environments, so be sure to give Tara plenty of attention to help her get over the anxiety of moving to a new house.

If you’re still having trouble training her to use the litter box in her own room, talk with your veterinarian about anti-anxiety medication to help her make the transition to her new home.

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