Curbing Litterbox Problems

Medical problems or changes in your household may cause changes in your cat's litterbox behavior.

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Housesoiling is a common behavior that can be extremely frustrating for pet owners. Many things can lead to this situation introducing new pets or people (especially babies), changes in daily routine, inadequate litterbox hygiene and changes in litter type or box location. Breeding status or season, urinary tract infections and other medical problems particularly those that cause bladder irritation or excessive urine production can also contribute.

Some cats will change behaviors based on subtle changes in routine, degree of owner interaction or the owner's emotional state. Cats are sensitive creatures and may respond to things in the household that people would never notice. But medical problems may be the cause, so new elimination problems should be pursued initially with a veterinary checkup and urinalysis. In certain situations, your doctor may also recommend a blood panel and fecal exam. These are essential steps when drugs may be used to treat the problem at hand, as drugs may exacerbate or mask an underlying disease. Altering, especially male cats, may be vital in curbing spraying or inappropriate urination.

Cleaning carpets is an important step in controlling inappropriate elimination behavior, but replacing carpet early on generally is not recommended. Fix the problem first if possible, then purchase new carpet and padding, with thorough under-the-carpet decontamination.

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Curbing Litterbox Problems

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CatChannel Editor    Irvine, CA

5/28/2013 7:31:58 AM

B -- Try getting more litterboxes before getting rid of your cats. The rule is to have one box per cat plus an extra, but in your situation even getting one more would be an improvement.

Bring your cats to the vet to see if there are medical problems, too. Some discomfort caused by medical issues could make cats avoid jumping and squatting in the litterbox.

Please try these tactics before giving up your cats.

B    Akron, OH

5/27/2013 8:31:43 PM

I have three cats who have lived with each other for over three years. Even when their litterbox is clean, one of them (I have no idea which one) will poop outside of the litterbox on a rug runner I have in front of their litterbox. I have no idea what is causing this, which one is doing it. I spray the run with Nature's Miracle and it still happens. I'm at the breaking point with this, and am seriously contemplating finding homes for all of them because i just can't take it anymore - I can't have my home destroyed with the smell. Help!

Janet    Bethlehem, PA

2/1/2013 6:59:48 PM

good article, thank you

CatChannel Editor    Irvine, CA

12/19/2012 9:32:40 AM

Jenny -- See if any of these situations might actually be causing litterbox avoidance: LINK

If you think that changes in the house are causing the problem, consider sequestering your cat away from the chaos until your house is settled in a sanctuary room. Good luck!

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