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Cat urine is one of the strongest and most difficult odors to remove, which makes it all the more frustrating when your feline consistently urinates on your furniture. There are a few reasons why a cat might be urinating on furniture. As frustrating as it is to remove the smell, it's equally important to try to figure out why your cat is doing it in the first place. It could be that they are scared, sick, or don't like the litter.
Urinating more than once?
Cats are typically very clean, meticulous animals who don't like to urinate or defecate where they eat or sleep. If this behavior changes and they are urinating in a place where they shouldn't, then something most likely caused a change in their behavior. First, discern if it is a one-off accident caused by a sudden scare. Something like being charged unexpectedly by a dog or being cornered by a reckless toddler could cause an already-anxious cat to soil where they wouldn't normally go.
A medical condition can also cause a cat to lose control of its bladder. Old age, fear, or a urinary tract or kidney infection can cause a cat to not want to — or in the case of old age, not be able to — leave their spot to reach their litter box. Another cause could be that the litter box is unclean or smelly, or perhaps too "busy" if it is shared by multiple cats in the household.
Cat spraying vs. urinating
There is a difference between a cat who sprays and a cat who is urinating. Urine helps deposit a cat's smell, which helps mark its territory. The Cornell Feline Health Center explains that urine spraying happens when an animal sprays small amounts, typically on vertical surfaces, like the backs of chairs or walls. A spraying cat will stand, lift its tail and quiver, whereas a cat who is urinating will squat. Un-neutered males are the most likely culprits of this behavior, and neutering helps.
Stop litter box aversion
Cornell suggests that a cat who is suddenly peeing where they didn't use to go could have developed a preference for a certain type of surface. If the cat likes going on the hard coffee table, try putting a piece of tile in the box covered with just a little litter. Another option is that the cat has decided they like a new location better. Try moving the litter box to a different corner, a more quiet area of the house (try this especially if there are other household pets, a new person in the household, or some other change to the typical routine).
If there is another animal in the house, the cat may not feel safe enough to "go" if the other animals are approaching while they are in the box. In this case, an enclosed cat litter box such as the So Phresh Jumbo Enclosed Litter Box provides privacy, contains litter, and helps trap odors.
Alternatively, if you're already using an enclosed box, try using one that gives them a wide-angle view and position the box so that the cat has more than one way to get out — in other words, not wedged in a corner. Even if your cat's not a senior, the KittyGoHere Senior Cat Litter Box, which has low sides, can help them feel that they can easily escape if needed.
Try a new litter system
Your cat may dislike the litter you use, especially if you've recently and suddenly changed brands. Many cats dislike smells, so they may be averse to litter that is strongly scented with perfumes. Try an unscented clumping cat litter such as Dr. Elsey's Precious Cat Ultra Clumping Cat Litter that is unscented and dust free.
Larger cats need bigger boxes, so it's possible that your cat feels cramped in a small box. It's also possible that the litter box you have has been used so long it no longer smells good enough to use. A cat does like a clean area in which to go. If the litter box is old, the plastic could become pitted, which traps in smells. The iPrimio Ultimate Stainless Steel Cat XL Litter Box solves both the size and smell problem. It never absorbs odor and is a large capacity size.
Try a urine spray
If a cat gets the notion that a chair is the place to go, the urine smell can be a reminder to keep going back there. Try a spray such as Nature's Miracle Stain & Odor Remover for Cats. It's enzyme-based formula breaks down the proteins in urine so it doesn't smell and doesn't stain.
It can be tough to determine why a cat is urinating on furniture instead of in their litter box. The best strategy is one of ruling out a medical condition followed by testing different litters and litter boxes, and the location of the litter box to see if that helps improve the situation.