A meta-analysis of studies of treatments for feline urine spraying

PLoS One. 2011 Apr 15;6(4):e18448. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0018448.


Feline urine spraying inside the home is a common problem behaviour that owners seek advice for from veterinarians. Individual trials relating to a variety of interventions produce variable results, and to date, no consensus on the value of different treatments has emerged. This study therefore aimed to meta-analyse, current data from appropriate published clinical trials that evaluate treatments for feline urine spraying.Inclusion and exclusion criteria for study selection were predefined and methodological quality was assessed by two independent reviewers. Ten studies in nine publications that either evaluated pharmacotherapy or pheromonatherapy (the use of a synthetic analogue of the F3 facial fraction in the cat) were suitable for analysis. There was a significant (P<0.001) association between the use of any intervention and the number of cats that ceased or reduced urine spraying by at least 90%. Analysis by intervention type indicated that fluoxetine, clomipramine and pheromonatherapy may each assist in managing urine spraying beyond a placebo based intervention.This is the first time meta-analytical techniques have been used and reported to evaluate the efficacy of interventions used in veterinary behavioural medicine, and it has established confidence in the value of both conventional treatments (pharmacotherapy) and a more recently developed treatment modality (pheromonatherapy) as an adjunct to the management of this problem. It is suggested that future research into treatment efficacy for this problem uses the benchmark standard of randomised, controlled trials lasting for at least 8 weeks, with the outcome criteria of cessation of feline urine spraying or reduction by at least 90%.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / drug effects*
  • Cat Diseases / therapy
  • Cats / physiology*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic / veterinary
  • Clomipramine / pharmacology
  • Fluoxetine / pharmacology
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Pheromones / pharmacology
  • Placebos
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Urination / drug effects*
  • Urination / physiology*


  • Pheromones
  • Placebos
  • Fluoxetine
  • Clomipramine