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Animals In Print
The On-Line Newsletter

From 19 October 2002 Issue

What Jill Knows


I have a friend who just had a baby and now her male cat is peeing all over
the house.  She claims he is not sick...although I am not sure whether or not
she has taken him to the vet.  I know this is a common problem when a new
baby is brought home.  Is there some advice I can give her?

Unfortunately they will probably "get rid" of the cat if the problem is not
solved soon.

-'What Jill Knows' column reader

Dear Reader:

I am so sorry to hear of your friend's problems with her feline companion
animal. There are a number of possibilities regarding the cause of a male cat
suddenly peeing in the house after a new (human) baby is introduced to the
household. One reason for this behavior could be a urinary tract infection.
Bringing the cat to a vet for an exam would determine if this is the cause. It is very important that they do this immediately. If the cat DOES have a urinary medical problem it is likely to get worse and is probable that the cat's urinary tract could become blocked, causing immense suffering and imminent death. Antibiotics can clear up a urinary tract infection (UTI).

Another possible cause for the cat's behavior could be stress and/or neglect.
Often when a new baby is brought into the household, the family's companion animals are sadly neglected, sometimes even completely ignored. New (and busy) parents often don't realize their first "furry baby," needs love and reassurance from them. When ignored and stressed out by a new, crying infant, felines will act out their stress and insecurities. This 'acting out' can
manifest in unusual vocalization, chewing and/or shredding objects not
normally chewed/shredded, urinating and/or defecating in unusual places, etc.
I know of one cat who without good reason, this cat was definitely sending a
message to her humans. Fortunately, the humans listened and took steps to
make the cat feel more loved, more secure and reassured him constantly until
the behavioral issue was resolved.

I strongly suggest your friend immediately bring their companion feline to a
vet to rule out urinary infection. If the vet gives a clean bill of health,
the next step would be to make certain the cat is neutered. Unaltered male
cats will spray in and outdoors. Neutering a male cat can help resolve this

I would also make certain the cat is receiving adequate attention, food,
clean water and that his litterbox is kept immaculately clean, using a litter
that he is familiar with and likes. Cats rarely pee in inappropriate places
without, what they perceive as, good reason!

I hope this sheds some light on your friends' cat's behavioral issue! If your
friend decides to adopt-out the cat, please request they take him to a
reputable no-kill shelter or adopt-out to someone they thoroughly check out
(through veterinary references, personal references, a personal visit to the
adopter's home, and have them sign an adoption agreement and request an
adoption fee of at least $50./ $75.  You can have them write a check to your
favorite animal shelter or animal organization if you like.  The fee is a
symbolic gesture of the adopters recognition that the companion animal will
require their financial commitment for the entirety of the animals' life, and
that the animal is not 'worthless'.) 

NEVER, EVER give a companion animal away for free ... it makes it appear as if the animal not valuable and/or important.  "Free" animals are appealing
to; "impulse adopters"; animal 'hoarders' (those with a mental condition
causing them to collect animals, as one would collect stamps or teacups
....only unlike teacups, the animals are sentient beings requiring routine
feeding, care, socialization, love --none of which they receive from animal
collectors); and "bunchers" who obtain free animals and then sell them to
laboratories where they are cruelly experimented upon; backyard
breeders-for-profit; and those who fight and abuse animals.

Love and paw pats, 
Jillouise Breslauer
Companion Animal-Behavior Consultant
e-mail: [email protected]
What Jill Knows, Copyright 2002

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