Q: I have two Persian cats, five and three-years-old, both female and sterilised. My five-year-old is more attached to me but she has a problem with her litter box. She has a tendency to pee outside it and will, at times, purposely urinate on my cross stitch tray, slippers, bags and clothes that are left unattended or on the floor. I have tried admonishing her and she will cease to do so for a while before her bad behaviour returns again. Is there any way to stop this completely

A: First, I suggest you have your cats checked for Urinary Tract Disease (UTD) or Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) by a vet. The latter is very common especially in Persians and Exotics. One of the signs of PKD is excessive urination, while cats with UTD find it hard to pee. These could be why she pees outside of the litter box.

Secondly, clean all the spots where she has urinated on. Use odour removing agents that can be found in pet shops. The aim is to remove all traces of her pee at the places she has marked as her territory to prevent her from marking it again. Cats generally do not respond to reprimands or punishment. Instead, you could try to encourage her to use the litter pan every time you notice she needs to eliminate. As a rule of thumb, one pan should be shared between no more than two cats. Place the litter pans in discreet locations as cats can be shy. They may be particular with the type of litter used so be sure to try different kinds to see which they prefer. Note that some felines will not want to share at all. You will need to experiment with providing individual litter pans and using different types of litter to find out the cause of her elimination issues.

If your kitty’s behaviour is the issue, it will take a lot of patience and time to correct it. Here’s what you can do to try to change it:

  1. Bring her to the litter pan to encourage her to pee; this should be done at least three times a day. Clear her litter pan at least once a day and clean it once a week.
  2. Confined her to a location where the litter pan is easy to access, when you are not home or when there is no one to supervise her.
  3. Remove any items on the floor that will encourage her to repeat the bad behaviour.

It might be a good idea to set up boundaries in your home where your cats are not allowed to access. These areas should be meant for humans only and your belongings should remain safe within.