Expert QA

Pet problem

Dear Wendyl, As a professional animal behaviourist, the advice you gave recently to the owner of the cat who is urinating inside to simply shut it outside would be extremely counter-productive and stressful for the cat, not to mention very unlikely to solve the problem.

Toileting problems are one of our only ways of reading physical or emotional distress in cats, so anyone dealing with this problem should first see a vet to rule out any physical problem such as urinary blockage or kidney infection, and then provide an indoor litter tray and a safe indoor place with bedding, food and water.

Spend lots of time interacting and playing with your cat and never punish a cat for toileting inappropriately – animals do not have the ability to relate human anger to their deeds and, in most cases, this kind of reaction will only cause an increase in the unwanted behaviour due to an increase in anxiety. If the problem persists, get some professional help.

Lynne o’oalley, Natural Animal Solutions, Thanks Lynne. It’s always good to get other opinions to help out with readers’ queries and I had replies from a few other letter writers who share your opinion. I did actually lock our cat Lucy outside for a week after she started toileting inside and it sorted her out but, in retrospect, perhaps it was a little cruel.

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