What to do if the cat has begun to pee anywhere, ignoring the litter box?
If your cat has stopped peeing in the litter box and now urinates in the unappropriate places of the apartment, it is important to determine the reason for this change in behavior.
Moreover, she/he is accustomed to the litter box and faithfully went there “yesterday”, and then suddenly changed her habits, becoming to poop in the wrong place. Now the cat has stopped peeing and pooping in the litter box and is peeing everywhere.
Wearing a rag all over the apartment, wiping floors, or constantly rerinse laundry and hide clothes in cabinets – the prospect, frankly, is not very bright. Yes, and scolding the pet also makes no sense – then it will be a deliberate mischief consciously, out of spite of the owner. Therefore, to resolve the issue, you must first understand its causes. And there can be many of them. Let’s talk about the most common ones.
See also: Litterbox Training for Kitten
Various diseases of the genitourinary system and the gastrointestinal tract may well be the cause of the fact that the cat began to pee wherever. Many breeds have a genetic predisposition to urolithiasis, especially if you feed your pet cheap dry food. Determining that urination is causing the cat pain is easy enough. She becomes fussy, nervous, hesitates to go to the litter box for a long time, meows pitifully. Once in the litter box, she does not urinate at full force, squatting on her hind legs and pressed against the walls of the box. Or, on the contrary, tries to do everything standing up in an unnatural pose. The latter variant is characteristic of exacerbations of cystitis.
Over time, the animal forms an association that the litter box is a pain. And, therefore, you need to look for another place. The choice falls on something soft, cozy and safe – such as bed, sofa blankets, pillows, carpets, etc. Urinary incontinence can also be associated with disorders of bladder sphincter function, as well as constipation and cysts in the anal area, which serve as pain triggers.
In addition to the above causes, problems with urination can be associated with such factors:
- Liver and kidney disease;
- Dysfunctions of the digestive system;
- Infectious diseases;
- Inflammatory processes of internal organs;
- Allergic reactions to certain foods;
- disorders of a neurological nature;
- progressive rheumatoid arthritis, etc.
What to do?
In any case, when there are suspicions of any abnormalities in health, it is necessary to go to the veterinarian and make the appropriate diagnosis. As a rule, blood, urine and stool tests are taken, and an ultrasound of the abdomen is performed to make a diagnosis and prescribe a treatment regimen.
Do you know How to Train a Outdoor Cat to Use a Litter Box?
Marking the territory
At six to eight months of age cats become sexually mature and their reproductive instinct displays distinctive signs, such as loud meows and guttural cries, changes in behavior (excessive affectionate or aggressive) and marking of territory. Urine is used by animals as a way to attract a mate and let them know that they are okay with mating.
Soiling of furniture, curtains, clothes, slippers and other household items indicates that the sexual hunt has begun. By emitting ferromones, females signal males that they are ready to breed, and males scare other cats away, letting them know that they are forbidden to enter other people’s territory. The marking process proceeds as follows: the animal approaches a vertical surface (wall, door, furniture) with its back to it, raises its tail and with jerking movements leaves stinky traces on the surface.
What to do?
Here no teaching measures will help to talk the male cat into stopping him from peeing into the litter box, peeing all over the place. There are three possible courses of action in this situation:
- To realize the natural instinct and mate the animals. It makes sense when there is a possibility to place the kittens in good hands or sell them if the parents are pedigree. One should consider that frequent mating undermines the health of cats, and cats only temporarily stop marking the apartment.
- Castration/sterilization. A surgical solution to the problem is a fairly common method of contraception. Surgery involves removal of the sex glands and, as a result, the sexual activity of the animal is suppressed or completely stopped. It is performed under general anesthesia in a veterinary clinic. After surgical intervention, you will no longer need to try to teach the cat to pee in the wrong place – they lose interest in the opposite sex, become obedient, affectionate and do not tag in the house.
- Taking hormones. There are many pros and cons in favor of this method, so the decision to use oral contraceptives is made by the cat owner individually. Sterilization surgery may be contraindicated due to the advanced age of the animal, the presence of a variety of injuries and health problems.
Important: it should be taken into account that hormones can cause the development of mastitis and malignant tumors. As an alternative, veterinarians suggest bio-sterilization, which is a one-time injection of hormones into the cat’s body. The procedure lasts for 9-12 months, and then it is repeated again.
The behavioral factor
One of the reasons that the cat began to walk by the litter box is an aversion to the litter box. Since animals are by nature very clean and fastidious about personal hygiene, the slightest breach in the organization of the toilet can lead to fatal consequences.
The cat will develop a reflex type of behavior, and the occasional “lapses” will develop into a habit of going wherever. What she might not like?
- The kind of filler. For unexplained reasons, cats react normally to some fillings, while others are completely ignored, regardless of the brand and price of the product. Alternatively, the pellets may stick to their paws, have an unpleasant odor, cause allergies, etc.
- The size and shape of the tray. For example, too tight, uncomfortable or with insufficiently high/low sides. Some cats prefer to sit in rounded boxes, refusing to pee in standard rectangular trays.
- Unstable litter box. If the container wobbles and stands unstably on the floor, it makes the animal anxious and tries to finish its business quickly and jump out of the tray. Subsequently, the self-preservation instinct kicks in, and the purr looks for another place to go to the toilet.
- Location of the litter box. The appearance of a washing machine, broom, new furniture and other irritating objects in the bathroom causes discomfort, and in some cases fear to enter the room. The pet begins to get nervous and choose a more secluded area to “squat.”
- Dirty litter box. Often cats refuse to go to an unwashed (or insufficiently washed, in their opinion) litter box.
What to do?
In such cases, you must have patience and try to create the most favorable conditions for the cat to go to the toilet. Here are some effective recommendations:
- Place a few litter trays with different fillings and one completely empty. And they should differ in size, shape and height of the sides. Watch which one the cat chooses and when he goes to it regularly remove all the other containers unnoticed. Often cats prefer fine granular filler with good crumbliness – they can dig in it before urinating.
- Use two litter trays at the same time: in one the cat will pee and in the other poop.
- Buy a closed litter box or make one yourself from a cardboard box with a slot for entry.
- Thoroughly clean the litter box after each trip to the toilet. Wash cat litter box with cold running water, not hot or warm water, to remove odors.
- Provide 24-hour access to the toilet. The door to the bathroom should always be open or half-open so that the pet can get to the litter box without hindrance.
There are many other factors that cause pets stress and, as a result, a desire to defecate in inappropriate places. Among the most likely causes of a cat or cat peeing wherever it goes are the following:
- A response to disrespectful behavior on the part of the owners. For example, if the cat is forced into the litter box, roughly taken by the scruff of the neck, poking his nose in the “wrong” made puddle, shouting, or leaving the house alone for a long time.
- There are new people in the family (a small child, relatives, friends) who distract most of the attention. The pet has no choice but to start sneaking around and thus switch the attention span of the household to itself.
- Moving to another place of residence. Cats take quite a long time to adapt to new living conditions, so they have to be accustomed to the toilet all over again.
- Renovation in the apartment/house. The animal is in constant nervous distress and reacts to what is happening in a peculiar way, that is, urinating in the wrong place.
- Substitution of associations. Certain household objects may remind the cat of the toilet (flower pots, shoe boxes, furniture boxes, etc.) and provoke “illegal” actions.
How to train a cat to go to the litter box again
If a cat has started peeing wherever, veterinarians recommend:
- Wash the soiled areas thoroughly with disinfectants. Animals have an excellent sense of smell, so the remaining odor will attract them to poo over and over again.
- Spread strong-smelling spices (pepper, cloves, cardamom) or orange peels on “problem” areas. The pungent aroma should stop the cat from urinating in the same spot.
- Put double-sided tape on the floor/furniture/table and other household items that are of the cat’s “interest”. He will be uncomfortable and afraid to step on the sticky surface, which means that he will lose the urge to mark his territory.
- Put a bowl of food where the cat goes to the bathroom. Animals have this way of thinking that they always pee and eat in different places.
- Use special sprays that are sold in pet stores. They discourage cats from defecating outside the litter box.
- Wipe the cat’s face with a cloth and then wipe the area where the cat poops habitually. When you come to the place of its “misdeeds” the cat will hear its own smell and won’t want to urinate there.
- Leave a spare litter box during a long absence. If the main litter box gets so dirty that the cat will ignore it, he can switch to a clean box.
And the most important thing to remember is that there should be no abuse and no rough treatment. Physical force can cause quite the opposite effect, and the animal will simply take revenge. More affection, attention and patience, and it is likely that the cat will quickly accept the established rules and will try not to violate them.