Management strategies for cats with inappropriate urination/defecation “issues”
Inappropriate elimination is often due to medical issues. Please have your cat examined by a veterinarian before assuming environment or behavior is the explanation or behavior is the explanation.
- Offer more litter boxes. Offer at least 1 (one) litter box per cat PLUS one extra box.
- Place litter boxes in different ares of the home. Often the cat will avoid the litter box if there has been a negative experience getting to the box or near the box. For example, if a housemate cat has ambushed the soiling cat, this would be enough to keep the soiling cat away from the area of the ambush.
- Replace closed litter boxes with open boxes. Cats don't like being enclosed with the odors of the waste. Cats who are nervous about their housemates don't like the reduced field of vision that closed litter boxes provide.
- Offer a variety of types of litter in the boxes. Many cats prefer the clumping litter because of its small pebble size and containment of waste.
- Avoid scented litter. Humans like the perfumes in cat litters. Most cats do not like these scents.
- Offer different depths of cat litter. Some cats prefer deep litter, others prefer less. A change in depth of litter can make the cat less likely to use the box.
- Clean the boxes twice a day. Many cats will not use a box if there is any waste in it at all. Many cats prefer to urinate in one box and deficate in another.
- Offer boxes with no litter at all. If the cat is choosing a flat surface to eliminate, offer a litter box (or more than one) with just a flat section of newpaper in the bottom of the box. Slowly add litter to the box to encourage the cat to keep using the box. If the cat is choosing soft surfaces or carpet, get carpet remnants for the bottom of the box. Discard the carpet each time it is used. Slowly add litter to the box to encourage the cat to keep using the box.
- Use Feliway synthetic cat pheromone to decrease the urge to mark territory with urine.
- Clean soiled areas with non-amonia cleaners. 'Petastic" enzyme cleaner is very good. "Resolve" cleaner is good also.
- Reduce access to previously soiled areas. Aluminum foil, plastic sheeting (shower curtin liners work well), cardboard cartons as barriers. If possible close doors to rooms where soiling has occured. If soiling is near windows or doors, block access to the outdoor view to reduce stimulation of the cat.
- Avoid the mechanical self-cleaning litter boxes. Many cats are frightened by them and will not use them. If you have one, turn off the automatic cleaning function.