A Case-Controlled Comparison of Behavioural Arousal Levels in Urine Spraying and Latrining Cats
Psicovet Canine and Feline Behaviour and Welfare Center, Rua Inhambu 1080, São Paulo 04520-013, Brazil
Department of Medical Clinics, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science, University of São Paulo, São Paulo 05508-270, Brazil
Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Veterinary Medicine, Veterinärplatz 1, 1210 Vienna, Austria
Department Experimental Psychology, Psychology Institute, University of São Paulo, São Paulo 05508-030, Brazil
School of Life Sciences, College of Sciences, University of Lincoln, Lincoln LN6 7DL, UK
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 5 December 2019 / Revised: 26 December 2019 / Accepted: 6 January 2020 / Published: 10 January 2020
Urination outside the litterbox (also known as periuria) is a very frequent problem seen by veterinary behaviourists and is a common reason for the relinquishment of cats. Veterinary behaviour textbooks describe two forms of periuria (spraying and latrining), including characteristics of both, and speculations, such as spraying is more closely associated with stress. With the aim of evaluating the arousal underpinning emotional stress in cats showing periuria, we studied recorded behaviours as well as faecal cortisol metabolite (FCM) levels of 11 “sprayer” and 12 “latriner” cats along with their controls (i.e., cats that did not show periuria) from the same multi-cat homes of three to nine cats. The results indicated that households in which a cat exhibits urine spraying are generally more aroused than households with latrining cats, but “sprayers” are not more aroused than their housemates. In practical terms, such results suggest that behaviour management to control periuria in these households should be focused on all cats not just the “sprayers”.