How do I know if my cat is in a high risk category for urinating outside the litter box?
A recent study published on Frontiers in Veterinary Science Animal Behavior & Welfare division (found here), indicates significant potential risk factors for cat urination outside the litter box are:
+ age (older);
+ multi-cat household (substantial increased risk);
+ free outside access and cat flaps in the house (higher frequency);
+ defecation outside the litter box (higher frequency);
- a heavy dependence by the cat on its owner (lower frequency) and
- a relaxed personality (lower risk).
"The transition from solitary living to living with others (rather than the number of others) appears to be one of the main risk factors for urinary house soiling by many cats."
This reinforces what we already know: a cat requires a great amount of space (territory) to call its own, and when we introduce other cats, either a new indoor companion or outdoor exposure, they are seen as a threat to resources and cats begin to mark (urinate) outside the litter box to mark their territory.
Another interesting point about this study is the correlation of cat temperament to lower risk factor: "cats who were described as being very heavily dependent on their owner/clingy as opposed to simply affectionate were less likely to exhibit latrine related behaviour in the home"