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Our cat, Wookie, is now 12 years old. About a month ago she had a fight, don't know details and she was a little hurt so we took her to the vet for the first time since she was spayed. She recovered fine from that. She is generally very healthy.

Over the last few days she has started peeing on a blanket in the house and on a chair she sits on. What can we do to prevent this?

We live in a house with a large garden and she has a catflap so easy for her to go outside. Recently, some fox cubs have appeared and sometimes play about on the lawn. But don't see them that much. I wonder if that has agitated her.

Any advice on how to get her doing toilet outside would be much appreciated.

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  • Welcome to pets.SE! What exactly did the vet check? The fight effects only, or for general health? Anything like blood, x-ray, ultrasound? I would assume, that the first check up after such long time should be really detailed, especially at this age to see if there are old-age-typical illnesses. Jun 3, 2023 at 19:33

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Cats breaking litter box protocol when they haven't done so before may also be a signal that they are sick. A vet visit might be a good idea.

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If your cat has started peeing in inappropriate places, usually I would think it is either territorial or she doesn't like the state of the litterbox (but your last sentence leaves me with the impression she doesn't have one). Territorial marking is usually done in areas near to the other cats, like if the cats were outside and she was inside, she would pee near to the door. But other than peeing on her chair, it doesn't sound much like territorial marking. However with the fox cubs outside (and therefore probably parents) and especially if the fight occurred outside, this might leave her feeling afraid to go outside and might've caused her start peeing in her safe space: inside.

But before you try to fix this problem behaviorally, I would consider taking her to the vet again. Spayed cats are at an increase risk of urinary blockages which can cause them to pee in inappropriate places and with the stress of the fight and being hurt, it could've triggered it. Plus if it was a blockage, it would most likely hurt to pee (watch her when she's peeing and see if there's ANY sign of physical pain or discomfort such as vocalizing or straining to pee) which she could associate with the location she had previously gone to the bathroom in and so decided to avoid it (this could occur whether she goes in a litterbox or outside).

Now once she's cleared by the vet and you know nothing is wrong with her physically, there are some things you can do for her to get her to stop peeing inappropriately. If she is now scared of the outside, I'd definitely start providing her litterboxes inside to go in. The usual recommendation is 1 litterbox for each cat plus 1 extra (though since this might not work, I'd start with 1 if you really don't like litterboxes). Most cats will automatically use a litterbox but if she's still giving you trouble or don't know what it's for, you can move the litterboxes near to where she usually pees. And you can also start punishing peeing in inappropriate places but at the same time reward peeing in the litterbox. I have experience with this punishment/reward things but not with litterboxes but with a feeding problem I had with cats and in my experience this can be as simple as just scaring her away from where you don't want her to pee (something you probably already do) and then just NOT scaring her when she pees in the litterbox. But you might also try praising her or giving her extra cuddles or treats after she uses litterbox for first couple of times. Also make sure to clean these litterboxes often so that she doesn't continue the peeing just because the litterbox is too dirty (and not as clean as going to the outside would be). She could also be peeing because she's anxious and insecure (another form of territorial marking) which would definitely explain peeing on a chair she likes to sit on. The litterbox set up works and you just need to put in those places she likes to visit (such as that chair) but also looking into buying Feliway and placing it in rooms she likes to be in might help (Feliway is a calming diffuser for cats that supposedly releases pheromones we can't smell but they can to help keep them calm and relaxed).

And then as a last resort of if you're dead set on going outside, you can find a way to get rid of the foxes as that could be scaring her. And then also because she could be scared of that previous fight and getting hurt outside, you could start be taking her out outside, rewarding her with treats and keeping her calm and relaxed. I'd try this often but especially do a couple outside trips that are long enough to where she has to go to the bathroom and hopefully your presence will keep her relaxed to feel safe enough to pee outside (I'd make some of these longer trips a couple times just to get her feeling used to peeing outside again). And I think this goes without saying, but if you can find what attacked her and if it was another cat, that cat specifically), you should find a way to keep them off your yard as their presence and smell could be what's scaring her.

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