This is a cry we often here from our clients. There is nothing as objectionable as cat urine or faeces where it’s not meant to be! It’s not nice for you or your cat. But don’t despair! There is always a reason for kitty’s inappropriate behaviour and there is always a solution.
One common misconception is that cats soil in inappropriate places for revenge. It is tempting to conclude, “He defecated on the living room carpet to punish me for leaving him for the weekend.” But cats don’t think like this and do not in fact find their urine or faeces as distasteful as we do. Your cat is behaving this way for a reason, but it’s not because you went away and had a fabulous time without him. So why do cats urinate or defecate on your bed or carpet?
Medical problems are one possibility. Your cat may just not be able to hold on long enough to get to the tray or they may be experiencing pain when toileting and have learnt to avoid the ‘litter box of doom’ because it hurts to use it! They may be unable to climb in or out if they are old or stiff, making using the tray just all too hard.
Your cat might be very particular about where she toilets and may find the litter box unpleasant. Harsh cleaning smells, ammonia from old urine, inadequate space to squat, litter with an unpleasant texture or odour may all be reasons to not want to use the litter box. They may find the location of the litter box unpleasant. If the litter box is in a high-traffic, noisy, dark, or dank area or your cat has been ambushed by another cat, dog, or human when she’s in the box, or as she exits, she may avoid the box altogether.
Urine Spraying is a normal territory marking behaviour and advertises sexual availability. Cats usually spray on vertical surfaces, like the backs of chairs, or walls. Cats that spray are usually unneutered males but females and neutered males can also spray. Spraying can be in response to a perceived threat to their territory, such as when a new cat enters the home, or when outside cats are nearby. New furniture and carpet smells can prompt spraying as well.
My cat is not using the litter box reliably. What should I do?
First, address the problem promptly. The longer the behaviour persists, the more likely it is to become habit. If you have more than one cat, you may need to separate them until you can identify the responsible party. We can suggest some simple tricks to work out who is urinating and defecating where.
Once you have identified the house-soiling cat, a full veterinary examination is needed to establish the cause of the problem. The problem can then be addressed appropriately – either medically or via re training with or without the assistance of behaviour modifying medicines. In all cases there is strong evidence for the use of pheromones see previous blog. Feliway® spray and diffuser have been shown to reduce anxiety and to help cats to establish a regular, socially acceptable pattern of urination and defecation. And that makes everyone feel better about everything!
If you think your cat has problems similar to what is described in this blog, please make an apponitment to talk to one of the vets.
Information extracted from material published by CEVA Animal Health Pty Ltd.