Inappropriate urination is a problem with serious implications for both cats and their human families. Early reports about attempts to solve the problem by neurosurgery show how serious a problem associated with a normal behavior can be for the human-cat relationship. Such invasive interventions were recommended for use on problematic cats to avoid euthanasia. The use of long-acting progestins was perhaps a more realistic therapeutic approach for urine spraying, although they are associated with severe side effects. Later more effective psychotropic drugs with fewer complications such as diazepam and buspirone, and most recently fluoxetine and clomipramine, have further improved the treatment options for urine spraying.
Despite the scientific and pharmaceutical progress in the last decades, still nowadays inappropriate urination in general still constitutes a problem leading to feline relinquishment and is the most frequent behavioral problem seen by specialists. Even in a country such as Brazil where veterinary behavior medicine is in its infancy, feline inappropriate urination is the most frequent behavioral problem seen by veterinarians, with the problem not only recognized but also the help of veterinarians sought for assistance in managing it. Availability of different sorts of over-the-counter products, in particular, the synthetic pheromones, has possibly contributed to the recent decline in feline inappropriate elimination cases seen by behaviorists. However, for general veterinarians reports of these cases remain common. In spite of the available protocols for accurate diagnosis and clear-cut therapeutics.
the complete resolution appears rather hard to achieve. Among the reasons for this are the lack of full owner compliance and inappropriate treatment regimens. Difficult to implement therapeutics also play a role; however, as shown by Marder and Engel, if presented in a clear manner, behavior modification at least is considered feasible by most owners. However, when confinement and oral medication is required, commitment is likely to decrease.
Beyond the above-mentioned limitations, several anecdotal reports about refractory and atypical cases present the question “why is a success so hard to achieve?” Possible flaws in the treatment process concern either the differentiation of the diagnosis or the commonly implemented therapeutic regime. For instance, cleanliness routine and number of litterboxes were close to ideal in most households of “toilets”; the synthetic pheromone Feliway had been tried in at least one household of “sprayers”. But whether these treatments had been correctly implemented is certainly open to question. Whatever the answer, the persistence of incorrect interpretations and inappropriate actions on the owner´s behalf are likely to negatively affect any therapeutic regime. As seen in this research, for both spraying and inappropriate toileting cases, owners were mostly mistaken about the reasons why their cats did the behavior and took inappropriate actions: the vast majority of them used punishment.
Central to success is veterinary training and client education. General practitioners are not fully prepared for dealing with these cases, in spite of feeling confident to do so; furthermore, referral of cases to specialists does not always occur. Owners of soiling cats need clarification on why their cats manifest the behavior and the best approach to help them. As proposed by Landsberg, Hunthausen and Ackerman, clear explanations provided to the owners are a critical part of veterinary
behavioral counseling. Without dissemination of good research, valuable information will continue to be kept on the hands of specialists only, and owners will still end up abandoning their animals in the light of lack of knowledge about feline nature.