Pets' corner: A urinating kitten

Your questions answered by Chamois Rose-Wood
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The Independent Online

I have a six-month-old neutered kitten, who started urinating on my bed after I left him with a friend to go on holiday. What can I do? Angelina Robertson, Bath

The first thing we have to work out is whether your cat is spraying or urinating. Yes, there is a difference between scent-marking and urinating to relieve a full bladder. If you catch your kitten red-pawed, so to speak, you should be able to determine which type he is displaying. If he is squatting and deposits a volume of urine on a flat surface, such as duvets, sofas or carpets, he is relieving himself. If it is scent marking (which your cat is not displaying), he will be standing up and will spray a small volume of urine backwards on to a vertical surface such as a wall, leaving an obvious scent mark. I believe your problem is related to the fact that you went on holiday. Occasionally, when cats are left with strangers while their owners are away, they can display marking behaviour by urinating or defecating (it is more common for males to mark, but females can also exhibit this behaviour). This is because they feel vulnerable and they will normally mark an area that has a strong scent of the owners, such as duvets. Obviously the best way to avoid this is to keep your bedroom door closed and to improve his feeling of security. Also, you can limit the amount of space your kitten has to patrol. Things will get back to normal in a few weeks, when he feels less vulnerable.

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