|Dear Friend of Pets Unlimited, |
Would your cat rather use the houseplants as a toilet than his litterbox? Do you have a new kitten who misses the box frequently? Does your cat think the best place to "go" is on that pile of clean laundry?
The largest percentage of litterbox blues seen by behavior consultants involves inappropriate urination. It is a very common problem that can often be fixed by making a few lifestyle and environmental changes to help your cat eliminate in the appropriate place - the litterbox! However, before making any of those changes on your own, you'll want to schedule a check-up with your veterinarian to rule out any underlying medical issues that may be contributing to your cat's problem.
Once you know your cat is medically healthy, address the litterbox itself: Is it clean enough? Most owners don't keep the box as fresh as our fastidious cats prefer, so that is the first change to make. Also, consider location. Is the box easy to access for your cat, or do they have to make a big effort? This is especially important for kittens and senior cats, or those with limited mobility.
Another contributing factor in litterbox avoidance can involve stress. If there has been a disruption to your cat's routine, such as a new pet, new family member, or change in environment, your cat may be stressed and choose to eliminate in an area where they feel safe. Small changes can be stressful to cats as they do not understand what is happening and cannot control it.
While a common problem, inappropriate urination is also highly solvable. Though you may feel overwhelmed, making some simple changes or consulting with a behavior consultant can have your cat (and you!) happier and healthier soon.
Shelley Smith, CTC, CPDT-KA