Why do cats pee in the wrong place? Why do cats who have been perfectly happy before suddenly start peeing on beds or furniture?

There isn't an easy answer to these questions, since there are many reasons why a cat will start doing this. It's important to realise two things though: cats are not humans, and not all cats behave the same way: Orientaly and Foreign breeds (Siamese, Tonkinese, Burmese, Oriental etc.) the 'intelligent' breeds, have different needs from domestic non-pedigree and less intelligent breeds, so you need to think about them differently. Tonkinese in particular are very attached to people, sometimes too attached, and many behavioural problems arise from difficulties in socialisation.

Dealing with this is very difficult: it has to be tackled immediately, as otherwise the behaviour can become ingrained and habitual, so that even when the cause is reMoved, the behaviour continues. In cases like this the only cureis rehoming, but for most of us that is not an option, and we will do anything we can to try and solve the problem without having to take such a drastic step.

There are some obvious causes of inappropriate peeing to look out for:

Litter trays
The tray is not changed often enough
The litter itself is the problem - it has been changed from the usual litter, or the consistency or something else about it upsets the cat and their routines
Too few trays - Most cats prefer not to pee in the same place as they poo - and some cats won't go in a place where another cat has just been. So if two cats have only one litter tray, this could be a problem. It could also be a problem if one cat decides that it's fun to jump on the other cat when s/he is using the litter tray - this can lead to all sorts of problems because the litter tray is no longer a safe place. A lidded tray may help this, or you may need to watch your cats to make sure that one is not bullying the other when they are trying to be private!

Urination is a territorial activity as well as one that simply released the sense of fullness in the bladder. Cats walking around a garden will often stop and spray urine on plants or garden furniture to tell other cats that this is their territory. In a similar way, a cat may smell the urine of another cat in their territory, and find it frightening, particularly if they have met the other cat and it was aggressive. See the stress page for information about identifying and dealing with stress.

Moving house, moving furniture around, a new baby, a new pet, or even something like an older child leaving home can upset a cat from a breed which is as attached to humans as the Oriental and Foreign breeds are. Security is important for all of us, and having that disturbed can be very upsetting. Almost the only way that a cat can tell us that it is upset - or 'pissed off' - is to urinate somewhere that you will notice. Look for changes in the environment that might have caused this behaviour: it may even be something outside your house, such as a new cat in the neighbourhood. If that new cat is

Many breeders describe a cat peeing on them - sometimes right in their faces! Although this sounds completely revolting, it can actually be an expression of love - or more often of possession: the cat is marking the owner as theirs, and in multi-cat households (which breeding houses often are) a queen may wish to mark out her territory when she is in season.