LITTER BOX PROBLEMS

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Litter box problems are the number one behavioral problem of cats. Many cats are euthanized every year because of this behavior. Some label it "inappropriate". Others say the cat is "bad". I often hear the phrase "the cat does it on purpose to get even." Another common statement is "she did it out of spite" or "he was mad at my boyfriend so he urinated on his things."



This section will address that way of thinking and present some very important concepts that you need to be aware of. In addition,

- at the bottom of the page, there are questions and answers from other readers that will give you even more information. In addition to reading them, you can also comment on any of them.

- You will also find a form below that invites you to submit your own story about cat litter problems you may have had and any methods you used that were successful.

- If you are feeling very distressed because you are going through a litter box "crisis" right now with your cat, and you have not found your solutions after reading the information here, I have written an eBook to help you. It is a very complete guide to retraining your cat to use the litter box. It is available at the end of this page also.

Now, back to some of our common misconceptions and faulty language. While I agree that the cat's behavior at those times is "inappropriate" from a human standpoint, I don't know that the cat would agree. I strongly believe that cats are not "bad", they do not do things "to get even" or "out of spite", and they do not get "mad" at us as we mean it.

We have taken cats out of their natural environment outdoors and brought them in to live with us and while there are obviously mutual benefits for people and cats, they have had to make some major adjustments to their innate behavior.

The most serious of these is the requirement for them to urinate and defecate in small boxes with very little "dirt" in them. We've taken away their room to position in the manner in which they desire. We've taken away their ability to dig and dig to their heart's content so they cover their eliminations as much as they wish.

Along the way, we've created different shapes of boxes, added little steps up into them, put a "ceiling" on their space, given them hundreds of different substances to dig in, and horror of horrors, put plastic liners in the bottom of the pans to further annoy, frighten, and inconvenience them.

We've taken away their privacy by placing these boxes out in the open, in noisy places, in basements where washers and dryers and furnaces and hot water heaters go on and off with a roar. We often have one litter box and it's in the basement even though the house has 2 floors plus basement and attic; in other words, we've asked them to learn to "hold it".



"This white stuff is much better than the grey things they put in that horrible box! " photo by Zanastardust


We sometimes require that the arthritic or overweight cats climb flights of stairs to get to their elimination location, regardless of how much it hurts.

I could go on and on, but I imagine you get my point by now. And we wonder why they have litter box problems?

However, the greatest injustice of all occurs when we find that our beloved cat is urinating or defecating outside the box and we jump to the immediate conclusion that "it's feline behavior problems".

Feline urinary problems with a medical basis, not a behavioral one, are very common in both male and female cats. They are very prone to urinary tract infections, inflammation, blockages, and stones. To not address the possibility that one of those conditions might be causing the undesirable litter box problems is doing a disservice to both your cat and you.

Therefore, if your cat is eliminating outside the box, regardless of what else may be going on, you must see a vet right away so a urinalysis can be performed in addition to an exam. Only after you find out your cat is fine medically should you seek help with addressing litter box problems as a behavioral issue.

Cat toilet training is an innate behavior and if that behavior suddenly changes, there can be a variety of reasons. Insuring that the behavior does not have a underlying medical cause by taking your cat to the vet is essential.

This section of the web site assumes you have already done that. The questions and answers in this section will focus on behavioral litter box problems. Other sections will cover urinary tract infections, stones, obstruction, inflammation, constipation and diarrhea.

Return From LITTER BOX PROBLEMS to HOME
Visit CAT ELIMINATION PROBLEMS
Visit CAT URINARY HEALTH


FROM RUGS TO HUGS -
Retraining Your Cat
To Think
INSIDE The Box

The Definitive Guide To Curing Inappropriate Urination


                by
      Dr. Shelby Neely


We are not currently selling "From Rugs to Hugs" due to the upcoming release of the 2nd edition which will be an updated, expanded version of the original. We are hoping to begin publication in October. If you would like to be notified the second it's released, just add your name to our newsletter sign-up form at the bottom of this page. Thank you!



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Litter Box Problems

What Other Readers Have Shared About Litter Box Problems

Click below to see the contributions from fellow cat lovers...

Cat urinating on the floor with no underlying medical issues 
I found my cat 4 years ago as a stray. He's a domestic long hair, and came neutered. His exact age is unknown however, the veterinarian said he's now around …

Cat Urinary Problem 
Wiley, our 3 year old male cat, is a very shy cat and typically only bonds with my wife and I. Recently, we had our carpets cleaned (about 2 days ago). …

Cat is Pooping on My Bed 
Hi, my name is Kaity and I am trying to make a very tough decision about my cat. I will try to give you as many details as I possibly can, but I hope I …

Cat Defecation Problem 
Please help! I have an 18 year old spayed female cat, Nico. About two years ago, my cat started defecating all over the house. She will urinate in the …

My cat all-of-a-sudden is going to the bathroom in the house. 
My cat, all-of-a-sudden, is going to the bathroom in the house. We live in a two-family home with my mother and her cat living upstairs. Her cat, on occasion, …

Please help! Cat urination behavior 
My cat has lived outside for the last 5 years because she peed on the couch 3 too many times. I knew it was because I went on vacation and she was mad …

Bowel Problem 
My 1 year old orange domestic long hair tabby is squatting to 'go'. He stays in that position producing nothing and looks unhappy about it. Other than …

Cat Litter Box Trouble 
Question: I have an 8yr MN DSH who has been defecating outside the litter box for some time now. He will urinate in the box just fine. The brand of litter …

Litter Box Problems 
Our cat Lulu is six months old and has been using the litter box up until last week. We were on vacation and she decided to use my closet and bathtub …

Defecation Problems: Cat Defecation Problem 
My 11 year old female cat has started to defecate on the rugs all over the house. BM's are loose and she leaves it where we can see it. She had been …

Defecation Problems: Litter Box Problems 
Litter Box Problems are common with cats and especially older cats. The following question illustrates how behavior can change as a cat ages. QUESTION: …

Defecating Problem with Cat 
QUESTION: I have a 14-15 year old cat. She is very house-trained and always knows when to use the kitty litter box. Today I woke up to find feces …

Cat peeing outside the litter box 
I have struggled over the past with my cat peeing outside the litter box. I now permanently put a pee-pad out which takes care of MOST of the problem …

Cat gets in litter box, but poops outside it 
My 19 year old cat uses her litter box regularly. However, she has the bad habit of jumping in it, and poops with her butt hanging over the edge. So, …

Making a Cat an Outdoor Cat 
I have a cat who is 11 years old. I have 3 cats but this is just about Sly. I've never let my cats outside. I grew up with cats and my dad never let them …

Cat Bowel Movement Problems 
QUESTION: Hi there, I've been noticing over the last few months a mucus and smell coming from my cats bottom! We moved house 3 weeks ago and now …

NEED URGENT HELP WITH MY CAT 
QUESTION: I have four sibling cats, raised indoors with me since they were six days old. One of them, an altered male cat, urinates inappropriately …

My older male cat is upset about our new female kitten 
My male neutered cat has used his litter box since the day he walked into my yard about 8-9 years ago. I recently took in a stray 10-week-old female calico …

Question to Answer my Husband about Cats.... 
QUESTION: My husband seems to think you can catch a UTI from a cat..I keep telling him you can't, but he won't believe me and he is the type that …

Sweet smell in cat litter box 
I have noticed a sickly sweet smell coming out of the litter box today. I have 3 cats, one of which is overweight, but otherwise all are healthy and eat …

Time to See the Vet! 
QUESTION: My 10 yr old male cat has not eaten or had anything to drink in the last 3 days. ( That I am aware of.) The last 2 days he has been …

Senior Cat not using litter box to urinate 
I have a male domestic short hair cat that is 17 years old. He has been neutered since 9 months old. Up until 3 months ago, he was very good about urinating …

How to get rid of smelly cat poop odors? 
Hi Dr. Neely, This might not sound like a big problem, but here it is anyway. I have had cats for 35 years and never experienced something like this. …

My 6 Cats: Male and female cats urinating outside box 
My female and male cats pee on countertops, on carpets, and on top of tables, etc. How do I stop this from happening? There are several pages on …

Cats Dying 
QUESTION: I have lost 4 cats due to some unknown reason. My house is clean and they have fresh water and food everyday. Is or could there be something …

Male cat spraying and peeing 
I have a 10-year-old male cat that has a small urinary tract and has been on special food, UR Purina, for about 7 years. He is healthy but has a habit …

Cat sleeping in litter box 
Hi, I wrote to you a few weeks ago about my 15 year old outdoor cat peeing inside the house. I moved her in for the winter because it is just too cold …

Cat urinating on clothes 
My 7 year old cat, Kiki, for years has urinated on any piece of fabric that is left on the floor, from clothes, socks, and even our Christmas tree skirts. …

My Poopsie Kitty is now a Poopie on the Rug Kitty 
My cat Sushi is now 7 years old. She had always used the litter box with no problem. Around 2 years ago she started to poop outside the litter box. She …

Cat Litter Box Problems: Going outside the Box 
I just want to give you a small background just in case it is relevent. We have three cats that came together much as the Brady bunch did! I had 2 …

Worried Mama About Cat 
I have a heavy Calico cat that is approximately 7-8 years old. She weighs about 19 pounds. I have recently noticed she is passing a lot of blood through …

CAT LITTER BOX HAS BECOME MY SONS BED 
My daughter's cat keeps urinating on my sons bed. He has ruined the mattress. I tried different cleaning products to stop him from doing this but it keeps …

Cat Making a Mess with Litter ! 
My DSH cat, Oliver, is a 3 yr old rescue that we adopted as a kitten. He is fixed and has always used his litterbox. He can be a bit messy with the litter …

Cat box problems 
ANSWER Separate the two cats until you can get a stool sample from each one and you know definitely who produced what. Put them in separate rooms …

Defecation Problem: New Home Cat Defecation Problem 
QUESTION My wife and I moved into a new home, which had a dog and a smoker. The house was cleaned very well before we moved in; but I was wondering …

Cat Behaviors 
QUESTION: My sister and I have two 2 cats in the house, an 11 year old female (Bean) and an 8 year old male (Mac). Both cats are litter box trained, …

Defecation AND Urination Problems: litter box problem HELP! 
QUESTION We have two cats, a himalayan female who is about 12 years old. The other is an orange tabby around the same age. We constantly have one …

Toilet Training 
Edgar, my 7 month old black fluffy bum, "as you will see in the pic" just refuses to go to the toilet outside,and often will not use his tray either. …

Cat Behavior Change  
My 8 yr. old calico, Sandy, has been doing her bm right outside the litter box on and off for about a month now. I am puzzled by her behavior because …

Two New Friends For Sadie 
QUESTION: I'll be staying with a friend soon for a few months. She owns two female cats. My cat, Sadie, is also female. This we are not concerned …

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