Reasons why cats urinate or defecate outside the litter box:
1. Bladder infections/stones
3. Kidney disease
5. Stressors: –anything that upsets the cat
(New home, new person in the house, furniture change, new baby, new curtains, moving the furniture, moving, change in owners job schedule, new pet, breeding season and more outside feral tomcats urinating close to the house.)
6. Litter box is too small, covered, sides are too tall,
7. Litter box is in high traffic area or next to some new piece of furniture
8. Not enough litter boxes—Need one for each cat plus one more—this is a MUST!
9. Litter box is not cleaned to the cats standard
10. Change of litter brand, type, scent or texture
11. Clumping litter is sticking to the hair on paws and forming a “litter rock”.
12. Overgrown toenails
13. Chronic constipation or colitis
14. Only the cat knows for sure!
Special Note: Inappropriate Elimination that has gone on for more than 1 month is all but impossible to correct but you should try to correct it regardless. Use all of the recommended techniques at the same time and do so as soon as possible.
WHAT TO DO: Again, to be successful treatment for inappropriate elimination needs to be prompt and intensely applied.
A. Identify and Treat any Medical Problem if present.
- Blood test, urinalysis, and xrays for bladder infection, possible stones, constipation, and arthritis
- Treat disease if present with appropriate medications and therapy
- Relieve Pain in arthritic cats: Xrays of the spine, pelvis, entire front and back lets, and shoulders to identify the points of arthritic pain.
May need to start long term pain control with the use of —
a. Prednisone—5-10mg once a day or once every other day
b. Tramadol–12.5mg once or twice a day
c. Dasaquin for cats–once day
d. Adequan injections–give 4mg/kg IM twice a week for 4 weeks then as needed
e. Severe spinal arthritis will respond to long term (30 days) of antibiotic therapy. To determine correct antibiotic requires a urine culture.
***Note: Pill Pockets can be used to give the oral tablets or capsules.
Arthritic cats need shallow litter boxes with low sides and no doors to be able to easily access the litterbox without becoming painful.
4. Chronic constipation can be controlled with the use of laxatives such as Purge drops, Lactulose syrup, Stool softeners, or feeding a high fiber diet such as Purina’s OM or adding canned pumpkin to the food.
B. Anti-Anxiety medications:
1. FELIWAY: This is the very 1st thing to do especially in homes with more than 1 cat. Has been proven effective for controlling urine spraying, urination outside of the box, calming multi cat households, ending or lessening fighting, reducing anxiety, and even to deter scratching on the furniture. May purchase over the counter from local pet stores, or the internet. Available as a spray and plug in diffuser. Recommend using the spray at the very least.
2. BUSPAR. This medication acts by blocking the effect of serotonin, a brain chemical. It is typically given orally twice a day for a two week period. If it seems to work, the course is continued for a total of eight weeks. After this period, it may be discontinued. Dose is 5-7.5mg bid for 8 weeks. Available in a 5mg or 10mg tablet with a prescription at a local pharmacy.
C. Litter Box & Urine Management:
1. Change litter to a non-clumping type to prevent wet litter from forming “litter rocks” that may adhere to the hair on pads and between toes. Shave feet if necessary.
2. Find all urine spots that the cat is using and close off access to that area if at all possible.
3. Clean all urine spots and use some type of odor elimnator such as “Kennel Odor Elminator (KOE)”. Check PetSmart or order online. Cleaning and elimination of odor must occur down thru the carpet and include the pad as well.
4. Prevent the cat’s access to the areas where he/she eliminates. Try putting the cat’s food where he/she eliminates. Try putting catnip were he/she sprays but only if they like catnip. Try putting a litter box in the new areas where the cat wants to eliminate. After a week, gradually inch it closer to a more appropriate location. Note: The box may need to stay in the same vicinity as the original cat preferred site. Gradually allow only supervised play. The length of these seclusions depends on the desire of the cat to eliminate in specific areas.
5. Placing a litter additive, CatAttract Litter Additive, will draw your cat to the litter box. This sprinkle on product is available online at www.thecatconnection.com/page/TCC/PROD/LTR-STAIN/LTR-7551