Litterbox Issues

Medical Issues: The very first thing that needs to be ruled out when dealing with litterbox issues is a medical problem.  There are numerous illness and diseases that can cause frequent urination or diarrhea.  Others may make trips to the litterbox painful or impossible (constipation, arthritis, tumors etc).  So plan a visit to your vet and make sure that your feline is in tip top shape before moving on to the next steps.

What’s the Problem: Litterbox problems fall under two main categories.   So the first question we must ask is, What’s the problem?

Marking: This is  commonly called spraying and is when a cat sprays urine onto a vertical surface.  This is usually a territorial issue, but can also be brought on by stress.

Housesoiling: Simply put, the cat is going to the bathroom outside of the litterbox.   This behavior is most often an avoidance of something (litter, box, location etc.)

What Next:

Marking is most commonly a way for cats to mark their territory.  This is why we normally see marking behavior when there are new pets or objects introduced into the home.  Marking by doors or windows is normally seen if a stray cat has started hanging around.

The easiest step to prevent marking is having your cat spayed or neutered.   Altered cats do not have the same drive to protect their territory as intact cats.  If the issue appears to be from stray cats in the neighborhood, there are numerous products on the market to deter cats and other critters from taking refuge around your home

Housesoiling, when not caused by a medical issue is almost always litterbox related. The following is a quick run down of things to check.

· Clean litterbox daily

· Provide one litterbox for each cat in the house plus one extra

· Place the litterbox in a quiet area where there will be minimal foot traffic and disruptions.

· Offer different types of litter: clumping, non-clumping, recycled paper, etc.)

· Try scented vs. unscented litter

· Covered vs uncovered litterbox

Nothing is Working: If you continue to have issues after going through all of the above items.  It may be time to talk to your veterinarian about a behavior consult.  There are a few medications that may be helpful depending on your situation.