Cats and litter box training – Part 5

How to Stop Feline House Soiling

House soiling is a fairly common problem, but cats often do this for a reason. The difficult part is figuring out what that reason is. Cats are very clean animals by nature, and often are no happier using the floor, a beloved couch, or even a bed for a toilet than you would be. They do not house soil out of spite. Usually there is a valid reason for their behavior. What follows is a quick guide to diagnosing and fixing the problem.

1. Observe where your cat is defecating. Often the place where your cat is leaving you presents is an important clue to what the problem is. If the leavings are near the litter box, the problem probably has something to do with the litter box. If they are near a window, the cat may be spotting a wild animal and defecating from fear. Sometimes it can be as simple as a new piece of furniture that the cat is not accustomed to. The location usually lets you know what the problem is.

2. Check for blood in your cat’s urine or feces. If defecation is painful for your cat, they may start to associate the pain with the litter box and look for other less painful places to conduct their business. The solution for this is to get your cat to the vet as soon as possible.

3. Is it territorial? Male cats have a habit of spraying around the house to mark their territory. Watch where your cat is spraying. There are products you can buy that have the pheromones, one of which is called “Feliway”. You spray this where your cat is spraying. If a place is already marked, your cat won’t be as interested in re-marking it.

So, what now?

If the house soiling is not due to a medical issue and not part of marking their territory, then we need to look at the clues. If the cat is defecating just outside the litter box, then chances are, there is something about the litter box that your cat just can’t stand. Try changing the litter. Some cats do not like the scented or odor-controlling litter. Hartz makes an excellent non-scented cat litter, and it’s usually cheaper than most. To make up for the extra smell, I’ve found it especially helpful to put a cardboard box over the litter box with a small entrance hole cut out. This also lets the cat have more privacy from other curious or aggressive cats in the house that may be harassing the cat in the litter box.

Also, if you haven’t tried it yet, make sure you clean the litter box more often. For one finicky cat, this should be done at least twice a week.

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