Cats will usually figure out how to use a litter box without receiving training from their people. This is due to their natural instinct to bury debris in sand or earth and hide their odor as a protective behavior. But when a cat goes potty outside the litter box – or even avoids taking any pressure off wherever it is – it poses a health and safety risk to the rest of the household. Why does this happen and how can we do it prevent? We asked veterinarians about their weigh and here is what they have to say.
Related: I Think My Cat Is Constipated – What Can I Do To Help It?
Cat outside the litter box
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If accidents are not the norm for your cat, get the veterinarian to rule out an illness. Urinary tract infections (UTIs), interstitial cystitis in cats, kidney stones or blockages, and diabetes are just a few of the possible conditions as they affect the way the body processes and dispose of waste. Take your cat to the vet for an exam and, if possible, bring a stool or urine sample for analysis. Then your vet can diagnose them and discuss treatment options with you.
Reasons for behavior
When cats urinate in strategic places, it usually indicates an underlying fear – and the location of the markers can provide other clues as to what is causing the stress. For example, if he’s “urinating in your hallway (presumably near the front door) and on window curtains, that tells me his problems are related to something or someone outside the house,” says Dr. Nicholas H. Dodman, BVMS, DACVB, DACVAA, a veterinary behaviorist. “The fact that he only does this in your absence suggests a case of separation anxiety.” If so, teach him to be more independent. “For example, don’t let him sleep in your room at night,” he continues. “Before you go, provide a number of things to keep him busy, such as ‘food puzzles’ (hollow toys filled with treats) and climbing frames that allow for an outside view. A compatible cat pal can help too to contain lonely feelings. “
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Litter box type, location, or design
Sometimes the problem is the litter box itself. Cats may avoid a litter box that is dirty, cleaned with harsh detergent, has a liner or litter that they don’t like, or is in an awkward location – all easy to fix. Katie Watts, senior cat behavior consultant at the ASPCA’s Adoption Center, suggests adding more than one box to your home and providing a kitten-friendly space to encourage them to stay indoors and choose the obvious, easy-to-dispose of location. Gradually limit the cat’s access to nature as it gets used to the crate. As a last resort, if it isn’t, restrict the cat in the room. To make the transition easier, you can even lay out more than one litter type at a time to identify the cat’s preference. In a household with multiple cats, there should be enough litter boxes for each of them.
This is how you prevent accidents
On cleaning up, “If you don’t completely remove the smell of an accident, your pet can go back there to clean it up,” says Katherine Miller, director of applied science and research at ASPCA. If a cat is in an accident, use an enzymatic cleaning spray that breaks down waste proteins and removes odors like Nature’s Miracle Stain & Odor Remover ($ 10.15, amazon.com) rather than a product that contains ammonia. Cat urine contains ammonia. If a cat smells this type of cleaner, the cat may mistake it for its own odor and relieve itself there. And if scrubbing doesn’t prevent repetitive accidents, introduce a deterrent that makes standing the area uncomfortable, e.g. B. double-sided tape or film. Or make the area for dinner or your pet’s bed. “Pets don’t like to potty where they eat and sleep,” Miller adds.