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Please excuse my ignorance if I say something wrong.
When I was younger (ten or eleven) I had a siamese cat that we got as a kitten from a neighbor. My parents decided they didn't want a cat anymore, so they gave her away. I was really upset as I came home from school one day and she was gone...anyways as some sort of middle ground they started adopting full grown cats for my sister from an animal shelter. They'd adopt one cat and he'd urinate all over the rug for the two months or so he was there - we'd shampoo the rug when it happened (spot cleaning didn't remove the smell) and the litterbox was cleaned out regularly. They took him back and repeated this with two other cats, the same issue happened. So we stopped adopting cats. Keep in mind my Siamese cat never had these problems and would always use the litterbox (except for the rare occasion that she got sick).
Now that I live on my own in an apartment I'd like to adopt a cat from a shelter, but I am concerned about the urinating problem. I was young at the time, so it might have been an error that I didn't recognize at the time that will keep it from happening, but I would rather not adopt than risk ruining a rented apartment's carpet/floor. I think if it happens occasionally (the cat gets sick, or whatever) I won't get upset, but with our old cats it would happen several times a week.
So...how common is it for adopted cats to urinate outside the litterbox? How did you house train an adopted cat? Was it a territory problem or is it something to do with the way they were kept in the shelter? Is there a way to know before adopting whether or not this will be an issue?