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  • Author or Editor: Patricia A. Pryor x
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Objective—To determine the effectiveness of a readily available selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), fluoxetine hydrochloride, on reducing problem urine spraying in cats.

Design—Randomized placebo-controlled doubleblind clinical trial.

Animals—17 neutered cats > 1 year old with objectionable urine spraying behavior.

Procedure—Owners recorded urine-spraying events for 2 weeks (baseline). Cats that vertically marked a mean of ≥ 3 times per week were treated for 8 weeks with fluoxetine or fish-flavored liquid placebo. If urine spraying was not reduced by 70% by weeks 4 through 5, the dosage was increased by 50% for weeks 7 and 8. After discontinuation of treatment at the end of 8 weeks, owners recorded daily urine marks for another 4 weeks.

Results—The mean (± SE) weekly rate of spraying episodes in treated cats was 8.6 (± 2.0) at baseline, decreased significantly by week 2 (1.7 ± 0.6), and continued to decrease by weeks 7 and 8 (0.4 ± 0.2). The mean weekly spraying rate of cats receiving placebo was 7.8 (± 1.5) at baseline, decreased only slightly during week 1 (5.5 ± 1.8), and did not decline further. When treatment was discontinued after 8 weeks, the spraying rate of cats that had received treatment varied. The main adverse reaction to the drug was a reduction in food intake, which was observed in 4 of 9 treated cats.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Administration of fluoxetine hydrochloride for treatment of urine spraying in cats can be expected to considerably reduce the rate of urine marking. The frequency of spraying before treatment is predictive of the spraying rate when the drug is discontinued. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2001;219:1557–1561)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


Objective—To evaluate effects of environmental management alone on marking frequency in cats with urine marking and to obtain demographic data on cats with urine marking and data on owner-perceived factors that contributed to urine marking behavior.

Design—Single-intervention study.

Animals—40 neutered male and 7 spayed female cats.

Procedure—During a 2-week baseline phase, owners maintained a daily record of the number of urine marks. This phase was followed by a 2-week environmental management phase during which owners cleaned recently deposited urine marks daily, scooped waste from the litter box daily, and changed the litter and cleaned the litter box weekly while continuing to record urine marks.

Results—Male cats and cats from multicat households were significantly overrepresented, compared with the general pet cat population in California. The most commonly mentioned causative factors for urine marking were agonistic interactions with other cats outside or inside the home. Environmental management procedures resulted in an overall reduction in urine marking frequency. Among cats that marked ≥ 6 times during the baseline phase, females were significantly more likely to respond to treatment (≥ 50% reduction in marking frequency) than were males.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest that male cats and cats from multicat households are more likely to exhibit urine marking behavior than females and cats from single-cat households. Results also suggest that attention to environmental and litter box hygiene can reduce marking frequency in cats, regardless of sex or household status of the cats, and may come close to resolving the marking problem in some cats. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2001;219:1709–1713)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


Objective—To determine whether findings of urinalyses could be used to reliably distinguish gonadectomized cats with urine-marking behavior from those with no problem urination.

Design—Case control study.

Animals—58 gonadectomized cats (47 males and 11 females) with urine-marking behavior (ie, marking of vertical surfaces) and 39 (26 males and 13 females) without problem urination or urinary tract-associated conditions.

Procedure—Urine was collected by cystocentesis from all cats. Findings of urinalyses of cats with urinemarking behavior were analyzed statistically for sexrelated differences and differences between cats that marked vertical surfaces only and those that marked both vertical and horizontal surfaces; findings of urinalyses of control cats were compared between sexes. Subsequently, results of urinalyses of cats with urine-marking behavior were compared with those of control cats.

Results—With regard to variables measured via urinalysis, there were no differences between male and female cats within either group. Among cats with urine-marking behavior, there were no differences between those that only marked vertically and those that marked vertically and horizontally. Analyses of data from all cats with urine-marking behavior and control cats revealed no differences that could be associated with urine marking.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—These data suggest that urine-marking behavior by gonadectomized cats is an aspect of normal behavior. Clinicians are advised to focus on behavioral history of house-soiling cats to differentiate between urine-marking behavior and inappropriate urination; for the latter, urinalysis is appropriate to rule out lower urinary tract disorders. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2003;223:457–461)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association