of the main reasons cats get surrendered to shelters is house soiling due
to failure to use the litter box. First letís discuss some preventative
steps, and secondly remedies.
minimize the chance of litter box problems developing consider these
the box clean. Scoop regularly, change litter often and clean the box
itself with mild detergent or weak bleach solution. Do not use strong
smelling or potentially toxic cleaners without rinsing thoroughly. A good
rule of thumb is scoop daily, change litter every 1 Ė 2 weeks, or as
needed, and clean the box at the same time you change the litter. Covered
boxes require even more vigilance because the fumes can stagnate under the
hood, and your cat may find another place to relieve herself, more
pleasant for her, less pleasant for you.
- Do not change litter abruptly. If you want to change brands. Put down two
boxes, new and old. Gradually decrease the amount of old litter in the
box. Remove completely when you are sure your cat has accepted the new
litter, if he ever does!
sure the box is easily accessible. Take your catís age and condition
into consideration. An older can may need boxes on each level because he
just canít make it from the second floor to the basement as fast as he
used to. An ill cat also may need boxes on all levels. An arthritic cat
may need a more shallow pan if she has difficulty getting in and out of a
high sided or covered box. Small kittens need a smaller, shallower box to
be able to climb in and out.
your cat has surgery on her paws, and you know what we are taking about,
she may avoid the box because scratching in the litter hurts her. We do
not advocate declawing, but if you do so, then take steps to make sure
your cat is as comfortable as possible and use shredded newspaper or soft
flushable litters until her paws heal.
and neuter early. Spaying and neutering before the age of 6 months
decreases the likelihood that a cat will engage in marking behavior, which
you may view as a failure to use the litter box.
is a difference between urinating or defecating outside the box and
marking. Marking tends to be small amounts of urine on a wall or on the
floor near a wall, and generally in the same one of two places over and
over again. This is sometimes used as a defense mechanism by the cat when
he or she feels insecure in the environment. It is more common in males
but definitely occurs in females as well.
outside the box may also occur in the same spot again and again, but it
occurs because the cat is drawn back to that spot by the odor. There are
many reasons cats urinate or defecate outside the box. If the cat
associates the box with something unpleasant, he will start to avoid it.
Pain is a big reason. The first thing to do when a cat begins to go
outside the box is take it to the vet for a check up. A urinary tract
infection or a kidney stone may be the cause. In a multi-cat household,
one cat may be harassed at the box and therefore choose to go elsewhere.
you can discover the cause, than the remedy can be fairly simple. However,
most of the time the cause remains a mystery, known only to the feline
mind. First, consider everything mentioned above under prevention.
Secondly, consider one, all or some of the following options:
clean the spots that have been soiled with an enzyme cleaner.
your cat if necessary, while retraining him to use the box. There are
detailed instructions for this in feline behavior books.
food and or water bowls at the spot previously soiled.
the spot with plastic or foil to make it unattractive for your cat to walk
multiple boxes in multiple locations in multi-cat households. One box per
cat is best, but usually you can get by two for one. However, as mentioned
above you may need more than one, even for one cat.
you think your cat is marking or spraying because he sees another cat
outside. Try to block his view with blinds or drapes.
cats will urinate or defacate on tile or in the bathtub. These cats may
prefer no litter in the box. Try using newspaper on the bottom of the box,
or tilt the box using a pad
or thin piece of wood. Put some litter in the low end. Your cat will use
the end without litter and the urine will run down into the litter to be
anti-anxiety medication options with your vet. Any behavior altering
medication must be combined with a behavior modification program.