You'll find below advice on dealing with


Confinement stress ~ House soiling ~ Urine spraying

Furniture scratching ~ Excessive grooming ~ Over or Under eating


If you feel you need more support with any of these topics, or have other behavioural concerns do contact Martina

Confinement Stress


There are various reasons why many cat owners prefer to keep their cats indoors.


Risks associated with the big outdoors include the dangers posed by traffic, disease or from simply getting lost or locked in somewhere.

However, cats are extremely territorial and the stress created by home confinement can be a major cause for behavioural problems in indoor cats. 


Caring owners must thus balance the relative risks of letting the cat outdoors in their particular location with the potential stress related to confinement.


A great stress reducer for the indoor cat is to provide plenty of climbing opportunities as well as toys that provide mental stimulation.

House soiling


Cats are often referred to as naturally clean animals. 



Reasons for an indoor/outdoor cat to  suddenly start house soiling include:

  • Dirty litter trays
  • Lack of confidence to go outside due, for instance to aggressive neighbour cats
  • Bad weather
  • In multi cat households one cat may be intimidating another from using the cat flap
  • Medical problems such as cystitis or reduced mobility

The problem may not be helped by poorly located litter trays. Trays should be placed in areas where the cat feels safe and away from food and water bowls.


Owners should ideally provide a few litter trays, located in different locations around the house. The choice of litter can also be critical for many cats. This can only be determined on a 'test and learn' basis.

Urine Spraying

Urine spraying mustn’t be confused with inappropriate urination.


Spraying is usually carried out against a vertical surface. It's a from of scent marking on a territorial basis.


Ordinarily there should be no need for a cat to spray urine indoors, provided it perceives it's home as it's secure 'core den'.


Indoor spraying is usually a sign of stress or insecurity in a cat.


Therefore, the owner should first pay attention to any changes in or around the home that may have caused elevated stress levels in the cat. A new neighbour cat,  a 'cat flap invader' or building work in the home are typical examples. If no immediate cause is identified and resolved then medical causes for the change in behaviour must be quickly investigated.


Lastly, seeking behavioural advice might be appropriate. 

Furniture Scratching

Scratching potentially performs two important functions for a cat

  • it maintains your cat’s claws and
  • is used as a marking behaviour

Some cats prefer scratching vertical surfaces and others prefer horizontal surfaces. 


If your cat scratches inappropriately in a number of different locations in the home, the first step is to rule out territorial marking as a motivation. Otherwise, scratching can be anxiety-related and a sign that your cat feels insecure. 


The first step to tackle a scratching problem is to identify the underlying cause. A treatment programme, potentially including changes to your cat’s environment can then be identified that will relieve the factors driving the scratching.


However, as ever prevention is better than cure and the provision of one or more robust tall scratching posts may be a straightforward solution to keeping furniture and carpets safe. 

Excessive Grooming

Over grooming occurs more commonly in cats that are kept indoors on it's own.


Signs of over grooming are typically seen on the lower back, abdomen and inner thighs. Due to the constant licking and grooming the cat can create near baldness in the affected area.




Over grooming can be caused by different factors such as:

  • Flea infestation in the environment
  • Fungal infection
  • Allergy
  • Seborrhoeic dermatitis
  • Localised pain
  • Stress caused by other cats or people
  • Boredom due to confinement
  • Being left for longer periods than she's used to
  • Any other changes in your cat’s life that worry her!

Over grooming usually stops once the trigger for the behaviour is removed.

Over eating


Obesity in cats is becoming an increasing problem.


Of course a common reason for a cat becoming obese is being presented with over-large portions of food by their owner. This can especially be true for indoor cats who are not burning off the same calories as an outdoor cat and may be suffering from higher levels of boredom.



The problem is exasperated by cat-food manufacturers producing highly palatable foods. These just  encourage cats to over-eat even more.


Solutions against obesity in cats include:

  • allow access to outdoors in order to increase activity levels
  • keep activity levels high by, for example, encouraging your cat to play more
  • using puzzle feeders that encourage your cat to actively 'forage' for it's food 
  • owners to weigh out the daily portions of food at the beginning of the day and 'stick to them!


In multicat households there is always this one cat that speed-eats the own portion and then moves swiftly to the other cats’ bowls - feed your cats in different rooms and stop your gorger from steeling the others’ food!

Under eating / weight loss


If your cat suddenly loses weight, consult your vet immediately as there might be a serious medical problem. 

If your cat is a fussy eater, try the following:

  •  change the location of the food bowl (e.g. away from all litter trays)
  • do not serve food straight from the refrigerator, cats don’t like cold food
  • food left out uncovered for too long can dry out or attract flies, and your cat will avoid it

 In multi-cat households there can often be one cat that 'speed-eats' their own portion and then moves swiftly on to eat the other cats’ bowls as well. If this happens feed your cats in different rooms and stop your 'gorger' from steeling the others’ food!