Litterbox Problem Solutions
What Every Cat Owner Should Know About the Solution of Litterbox
- Have your cat examined by a veterinarian for a physical problem
even if there are no obvious symptoms. (Some problems can only
be diagnosed through testing). Be sure to mention Kitty's urination
and defecation habits. If a cat's elimination is painful, it
may associate the litterbox with pain and choose to eliminate
elsewhere. When the cat is healthy again, a careful reintroduction
to the box will be necessary.
- Carefully check the 10 steps for preventing
litterbox problems mentioned previously. Perhaps the solution
is as easy as adding more litterboxes, cleaning more frequently,
or changing the brand of litter. Try to accommodate Kitty's
preferences for litterbox location (by placing litterboxes where
the "accidents" occurred) and litterbox substrate
whenever possible. Special consideration should be given to
declawed cats as paw sensitivity may be the cause for litterbox
avoidance and kitty may require a box or tray without litter.
- Never punish the cat for eliminating outside of its litterbox.
Housesoiling occurs when the litterbox, its contents, or its
location is offensive to the cat or when the cat is stressed
by the environment. Punishment only increases the cat's stress. HOUSESOILING IS NEVER DONE TO SPITE THE OWNER.
- If a health issue or aversion to the litterbox can be ruled
out, consider that the problem could be anxiety-related. Has
there been a change in the household? Any intrusion on the cat's
territory, whether human, animal, or even a new piece of furniture,
can cause a cat to feel threatened, insecure, and stressed.
This may result in his need to mark his territory. This is usually
accomplished by spraying urine on vertical surfaces, or less
frequently, by squatting and urinating or defecating on horizontal
surfaces. The more cats in the household, the more likely that
one or more of them will spray.
- Try to relieve or eliminate the source of the cat's anxiety.
(For example, pull the drapes so that Kitty cannot view the
antics of the tom cat next door.) If the environmental cause
that triggers the territorial behavior cannot be identified
or eliminated, consult with an experienced feline behavior counselor.
- Whatever the cause for the inappropriate elimination, a brief
confinement period may be necessary in order to clean the soiled
areas, place deterrents in these spots, and to purchase more
litterboxes or new litter. The confinement room should be comfortable
and equipped with two litterboxes, fresh food and water(not
near the litterboxes!) and a bed and toys. Visit Kitty regularly,
but don't let him out until the home environment has been cleaned
and the litterbox situation has been improved. (Please note
that extended periods of confinement may be detrimental to the
- In order to thoroughly clean the urine-soaked areas, an ultraviolet
light may be used to identify the problem spots and a strong
enzymatic cleaner should be used to saturate and neutralize
the affected areas. The Equalizer is highly effective
and is available at many veterinary clinics. (It can also be
ordered directly from Revival
Animal Health via their web site or by calling them at 1-800-786-4751
-- Item # 29-210)
- To repel kitty from previously soiled areas, cover them with
solid air fresheners (preferably a citrus scent) or a mini-motion
detector (available from Radio Shack--Cat.No.49-425). When the
carpet is dry, a vinyl carpet runner (spike side up!) can be
placed over the problem areas. Cats are very location-oriented
so deterrents should be left in place for at least six weeks
after kitty has been using the litterbox regularly to make sure
that old habits have been broken.
Solving housesoiling problems is possible--with patience, persistence,
and a systematic plan for retraining. If you would like help determining
the cause or treatment for an inappropriate elimination problem,
call Cats International at