When it comes to kitties, sometimes they don’t think like us. As Ellen Gloor, DVM at KC Cat Clinic told my mom, “Cats in the wild can pee anywhere they want to, so sometimes they think that going all over the house is a good thing.”
My mom’s cat, Caymus and Murphy, recently decided that they wanted to redecorate my mom’s house. They starting peeing and pooping all over the house. The destruction and the stress it caused my mom wasn’t a happy thing. In fact, this is something I am asked about a lot through the site, so I wanted to write a post about it.
STEP 1 – A Thorough Medical Examination
Of course, the most important thing to do when you have a cat that is peeing somewhere other than a litter box is to call your vet and get your kitty checked out. In other words, step #1 is a thorough medical evaluation. More often than not, peeing outside the litter box is a sign of stress, a medical aliment, like UTI or something more. However, when they are pooping and peeing outside the litter box, more often than not, they are upset about something.
…and sometimes you don’t know what that could be. So you have to think about the things you have changed since they started the inappropriate elimination behavior.
STEP 2 – Changing Things Up A Bit
Diffusers and Spirit Essences
Ingrid at The Conscious Cat told me, “Feliway can help. Unless you know why they’re doing it, I don’t know that a new litter box is going to be the solution. If the peeing is because of territorial issues, Safe Space for Cats from Spirit Essences can help. Use code CONSCIOUSCAT at checkout for a 5% discount.” My mom originally put the Feliway where the litter boxes were, but was told my an associate at Petsmart, that you’re supposed to put the diffusers where they’ve been going to the bathroom (where you don’t want them going the bathroom).
Right now you can print a $10 off coupon for the Comfort Zone with Feliway Plug-In and Refills on Coupons.com and it’s $10 off at Petsmart right now (not sure when it ends – call your local Petsmart for details).
Cat Litter and Boxes
Most cats dislike going in hooded litterboxes (think of you in a Johnny-on-the-Spot) or areas where there is a hood like structure (my mom had two litter boxes under the stairs) – and one of the litter boxes was so close to the angle of the stairs that Caymus and Murphy couldn’t arch their backs to pee or poop, so they didn’t like using one of the two litter boxes.
Also, according to most vets, you are two have 1 litter box per floor, per cat. Now growing up, Rags, had one litter box in the basement of a 3-story house – so it can work with one, but if you are having elimination issues, adding a few litter boxes never hurts.
Sometimes the cats don’t like the litter they are using. Dr. Elsey developed a cat litter called, Cat Attract, that will attract the cat’s to go to the bathroom in that litter. It, too, is sold at Petsmart and Petco. He also makes a Cat Attract Litter Additive and the Precious Cat Ultra Litter Attractant that you can sprinkle on their current litter. Cat Attract Cat Litter has worked for other Floppycats.com’s readers in the past. You can print a $1 off coupon through their website.
Sometimes this can be the first step because the cats can help tell you the problem – even if it is medical, so the docs can find it faster. This was the last step in the process for my mom, as she’s not a complete believer in them, but of course, her crazy daughter (me) is. Holly Jacobs, an animal communicator in Kansas City, came by my parents’ house last Wednesday to talk to Caymus and Murphy. Holly explained to us that you can’t just tell a cat to stop going to the bathroom where they are – they need a reason why it’s not a good decision. So first Holly had to find the motivation that Murphy needed and the motivation that Caymus needed.
Murphy told Holly that he and Caymus were upset that my mom had taken them off of dry food (which was highly encouraged by me – they are 7 years old and Murphy has kidney stones and Caymus WAS overweight, so the dry food wasn’t helping either one of them). My mom had thought that might be the reason. Murphy explained that before he and Caymus could have their wet food in the morning when mom gave it to them and then they could snack the rest of the day when they were hungry. Now, they have to wait for my mom to feed them. She gives them wet food 4x a day at scheduled times. Murphy said that he and Caymus had talked about it and they decided they would pee and poop all over the house, so that mom got the clue they were upset.
So, Holly also found out that Murphy thinks of himself as my mom’s stress reliever and he is here on this Earth for my mom. Holly told Murphy that his and Caymus’ behavior was not helping my mom’s stress. She also explained to Murphy that the wet food was better for his kidneys and he did tell her that his kidneys have not hurt him for the past few months!
My mom has always had a litter box in the basement (with a cat door to the basement) so that she doesn’t have to worry about her two German Shepherd dogs eating anything from the litter box! Another issue Murphy was having was that he didn’t like going to the basement at nighttime because there was a spirit down there. He told Holly that it was a man that was busy working and he just didn’t like him because he wasn’t properly introduced to him.
My mom has now added two litter boxes in a bathroom on the second floor, so he has a place to go at night.
Caymus, on the other hand, has been very affected by the doors being shut around the house. My mom usually has all the rooms of her home open for exploration by the cats, but with the recent cat pee and poop redecorating effort, she closed all the doors to all the rooms. Caymus mentioned he really didn’t like it. Holly told him that the doors were shut because of his actions – and it was one of the most powerful animal communication moments I have had – Caymus looked right into Holly’s eyes so intensely as to say, “ARE YOU SERIOUS?!” and his response was that he had peed in his litter box that morning – so he wanted a door opened!
STEP 3 – Other Possibilities
Since Holly has had a lot of experience talking to numerous cats, she said there could be other reasons too:
- Light – when Murphy originally said he didn’t like going to the basement at night, Holly wondered about his eye sight. She said that sometimes as cat’s age they cannot see as well in the pitch dark, so to add nightlights – like LED night lights, so they can see on their way to the bathroom.
- Other cats – depending on your situation and the number of cats you have, there could be other problems. One of the questions to Caymus and Murphy was whether or not they liked going to the bathroom in the same litter box – they said that wasn’t a problem. But Holly said some cats can be bullies and not let another cat get to the litter box, or some cats don’t like that one cat in the household doesn’t cover up his elimination in the litter box – causing the other cats to step in it.
- Litter box isn’t kept clean – your litter box should be scooped twice a day and at least once a day, if you cannot do twice! The cleaner the litter box, the more interested they will be in using it – think about it – would you want to step on your feces to go the bathroom?
- Territorial Marking – this is a natural behavior for both female and male cats. This is also referred to as “spraying” and it’s usually a small amount of urine and sometimes appears on walls, furniture, floors or the owner’s clothes/bedding. The Cat Attract litter comes with a booklet that explains this and more.
You can reach Hollly via phone 816-686-0858 or via e-mail (she might be slower to respond to e-mail) hollyjpets [at] yahoo.com. Holly can do sessions over the phone, as long as you send a photo of your kitty to her via e-mail. Be sure to get the details from Holly as to what she needs.
What did I miss? Have you discovered a reason why your kitty was eliminating outside of the box?