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Vomiting and inappropriate urination – Any advice?

Our question this week was:

Murphy the cat soils our rug and clothing! I took in a female cat around 2000 from a family that had told me she was basically being abused by their youngest pre teen boy. I was their house sitter and decided to take the cat into my own home as my childhood cat had passed. When I took the cat in, I found that she vomited often and hid in closets and under the bed most of the time. While I was house-sitting, I did see Murphy hiding under beds most of the time and only coming out at night. However, when she did come out at night, she was overly loving towards me…..fur flying and purring loudly. Also, another behavior that I saw right away was Murphy soiling my clothing if it was left on the floor and my bed clothing. I assumed these behaviors were from being abused so I just kept cleaning them up and loving Murphy as much as possible. Fast forward to 7 years later, she now lives in a different house and as for about 3 years. She now soils the carpet directly in front of our door to go outside. Without fail, she always urinates there, but also urinates in the litter box as well. Very occasionally, she will decide to vomit directly on a piece of clothing that is on the floor or urinate on it. She is a wonderful cat. Very loved, very healthy. She goes to the vet on a regular basis (usually 1 per 2 years). I have spoken to our vet about the vomiting and the shyness. We have her on premium cat food, which is Science Diet hair ball control. We keep her litter box clean. (When she moved w/ me to the new house, a.k.a. my fiancé’s home, now husband, there was another cat.) So, she shares a littler box now w/ another kitty, but she’s been around this cat now for 3 years. Is there anything I can do to help my cat stop soiling our rug outside our front door? I’m tired of washing the floor down there and going to the laundry mat to wash the soiled rug. It also reeks to high heaven down there most of the time! I have used the spray kitty training tuff….it doesn’t work!

Any tips for the soiling of vomiting. I’d say the vomiting is about 2 times per week and when she vomits it’s a huge amount, probably the entire contents of her stomach.

Thank you



Hi – thanks for your email Holly. You have questions about 2 problems –the vomiting and the inappropriate urination.

It sounds like Murphy is healthy from what you describe. Some cats will vomit on occasion. If they are eating well, no diarrhea, maintaining their body weight, playful and the vomiting is relatively infrequently, generally it is not of concern. However, if a cat is vomiting and lethargic or inactive, loosing weight or it is more frequent, and then I do worry.

As far as the inappropriate urination – you have been dealing with this off and on for years. There is no one easy solution. Inappropriate urination is a common behavioral problem that is often caused a complex array of reasons – some of which we will never ever know (most of which we will never know). For example, some cats will urinate inappropriate because the litter box is dirty, you change litters, to show dominance, because they are afraid to use the box, because they like the texture of the surface they are urinating on better than the box, because the litter box location is unattractive to them, because they can smell urine in that spot and associate it with urinating, etc. There are many many reasons.

What would I do? I’d make sure you have at least one litterbox per cat plus one. Make sure the boxes are big such as clear storage containers. I’d clean the areas where she has urinated with a good quality odor eliminator such as Zero Odor, Urine-off, Nature’s Miracle, SeaYu Petrotech Odor Eliminator, Anti Icky Poo (AIP), Odorban, Odornil, and Nilodor.

If there is ANY concern about there being an underlying medical problem – I’d see your vet and allow them to do a urinalysis.

An article that might be helpful to you is Inappropriate Elimination in Cats, The Top 8 Reasons Why Your Kitty Won’t Use the Litter Box.

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra