In response to a reader question, we want to cover the common topic of cats that urinate outside of their litterboxes. Unfortunately, I can’t easily address the problem our reader is having, because there can be a number of reasons why a cat may begin to do this. It is important to find the cause, for the sake of the cat’s health and so that the problem can be solved.The first thing the cat owner should consider is the health of the cat. Today’s commercial foods have unfortunately caused a much higher incidence of FLUTD (Feline lower urinary trace disease) … you might be more familiar with the older term of FUS (Feline Urinary Syndrome). FLUTD causes the cat to have painful urination, which he may then associate with the litterbox. Because he is afraid that going to the litterbox will once again cause the pain during urination, he is likely to seek out other places to urinate. FLUTD also causes more frequent need to urinate, and the cat may be unable to reach the litterbox even if he wants to.The reason this needs to be considered first is that the health of the cat can be at stake, and if FLUTD is the cause, the condition can deteriorate while the owner tries to determine if other reasons are the cause of the problem. (If you KNOW why your cat is doing this, that may be another story.)If that is not the cause, then there are other things to consider. First, if you have recently had the cat declawed, he should be given something soft in his litterbox until the wounds heal. Many vets recommend shredded newspaper, but there are products available. You should NOT use clay litter, clumping litter, sand, or any other abrasive substance, as this will be very painful on paws that have just had surgery.Cats will often urinate to show their displeasure. If they are urinating on a particular person’s belongings, bed, carpet, etc., consider whether that person has done anything to upset the cat.
Cats can take a long time to forgive, and are masters at holding a grudge!If you have recently added a new cat to the family, that may be the cause as well. If the new cat is using “his” litterbox, your cat may feel insecure, jealous, or for some other reason unwilling to use the same litterbox. Often multi-cat households must have multiple litterboxes to keep everyone happy.Have you recently moved to a new home, moved the litterbox, changed the box or brand of litter, or made any other changes? Cats are creatures of habit, routine, and territory, and upsetting any of these can result in problems with urinating outside the litterbox. If things can be returned to normal, that may solve the problem. Otherwise, the cat may need extra attention and might benefit from being confined in a smaller area until he gets used to the new surroundings.Is the litterbox clean? I used to have a cat that would urinate in the litterbox, but if he used it to defecate, he refused to re-enter it until it had been cleaned. He would then give me a “warning” by going into the bathtub for the next visit, but if I somehow missed cleaning up before he needed the litterbox again, the next time he needed a toilet, he’d visit my bed! Some cats are VERY meticulous. In such cases, it might be wise to have several litterboxes to choose from so he can select one that meets his cleanliness standards.Cats may also have had some unfortunate experience around the litterbox. Did a broom fall and bang loudly on the litterbox cover while he was in there? Did a strange dog rush in and bark at him while he was using the litterbox? Anything that upsets him while he is in there can make him reluctant to return.And cats do mark their territories, by spraying urine. This is most common in intact adult males, but neutered males and even females will sometimes do this. If you see the cat urinating, you can tell whether this is what is happening. Instead of the normal semi-squat, a cat who is spraying will stand with his tail quivering in the air and spray behind him — usually onto a vertical surface. This is usually territorial, but can be brought on by having another cat around, stress, changes in surroundings, a new person being introduced, etc.All of these are just to give you some ideas of some of the most common reasons cats may begin to avoid their litterboxes. The online pet supplies will provide help to the individuals for the purchasing of the products. The meeting of the needs and requirements of the purchasers is possible. There are plenty of reasons available with the availability of the pet supplies. The meeting of the needs is possible.
Knowing the cause is the first step in solving the problem.There are some general guidelines to follow whatever the reason may be. The first step is to find a litter your cat likes. Many cats like the fine clumping brands, and don’t usually care for heavily perfume ones. The cheaper clay brands are, unfortunately, not popular with cats (nor do they do a good job of absorbing odor or offer easy clean-up). Make sure the litterbox is large enough, and the cat can comfortably and easily get in and out. Place the box in a quiet location so that the cat can be relatively undisturbed and have some privacy. Some cats like the covered boxes, while others do not. If you have multiple cats, make sure you have boxes for each cat (and an extra or two is a good idea too). Scoop the box frequently … at least once a day. Change the litter completely once a week or so, and wash the box as well, rinsing well too, if you don’t use a liner.You will want to thoroughly clean the place the cat used outside the litterbox, to cover the scent so the cat won’t be tempted to return. As our reader mentioned, ammonia-based cleaners (or those that contain any ammonia) can make the problem worse, because when the cat smells the ammonia, he will usually want to urinate over it to give it his own scent.If the urine is fresh, you may be able to take care of it simply by blotting it up, wetting the area, blotting again, and cleaning with vinegar or baking soda.First, blot the area with a clean white cloth, removing as much of the urine as possible. Follow with a warm-water rinse, and blot that up. Repeat if needed. You can then sprinkle baking soda over the area and rub it in (a toothbrush works well) and allow it to dry, and then vacuum it up. If you’d like to try vinegar instead, go through the same blot-and-rinse process, then add 1/2 cup of white vinegar to a quart of warm water and apply that to the area (test first on an inconspicuous spot). Place a white towel over the area and apply pressure (you may want to place something very heavy there and leave it for a few hours.). Blot it up again after a few hours.
Hopefully one of these methods will take care of fresh urine. However, if it has set for a while, soaked in, or stained the area, you will need a specialty product.Cleaners are available to remove the urine scent … check with a local pet shop or veterinarian for the best chance at locating one. Look for a product that uses enzymes and/or bacteria to “consume” the odor rather than a simple detergent-type product that you might find at mass outlets (like Wal-Mart). It is worth it to buy a product that will accomplish the job rather than have to keep cleaning the same mess and meanwhile having your cat more and more convinced that he should be urinating outside his litterbox. Several such products include Just for Cats (Nature’s Miracle), Urine Off, Urine Gone, Outright Pet Stain Eliminator, and Pet Oops Remover.