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House Soiling in Cats

on December 2, 2011
Posted in Behavior Management

House soiling or feline inappropriate elimination is the most common behavioural problem reported by cat owners. Problem behaviours can be urine or stool deposited outside the box or marking/spraying behaviours.
When a client askes me about a cat box problem the first thing I recommend is that a medical problem be ruled out. This means a trip to the veterinarian and if it is a urinary problem, a urine sample needs to be examined.

Bladder, and kidney disease are common in cats. Cats frequently get bladder stones, crystals and infections and many times the only way a cat can draw attention to this problem is to eliminate outside the box. Unfortunately, sometimes if the cat has a medical problem that goes on for a while, even after the infection is gone the cat continues to eliminate out of the box by force of habit. It is important, then if you think your cat is having litter box issues to have it checked out right away.

General treatment principles for any elimination problem that is not medical involve modifying the cat’s environment and the cat to re-establish a regular litter box routine. The kitty may need to be confined when he or she can not be supervised. The litter box location, substrate and the box itself need to be more appealing to the cat. It is very important to have a clean litter box, to have enough litter boxes and to have several different types of litter available to conduct a trial and determine what the cat prefers. It is also important to make the inappropriate area unappealing. This can be done by using upside down carpet runners, by making the area a feeding area or by placing motion triggered air canisters in the area. Conventional treatments also include drugs that modify the cat’s behavour. More holistic treatments involve the use of feline pheromones, behaviour modification techniques and herbs. If you think your cat is having an issue be sure to see your veterinarian. There are a lot of options to treat this common problem.

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Our Expert

Dr. Janice Huntingford
Janice Huntingford, DVM, has been in veterinary practice for over 30 years and has founded two veterinary clinics since receiving her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph. She has studied extensively in both conventional and holistic modalities. Ask Dr. Jan

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