What To Do When Your Cat Pees Or Poops On Carpet Or Furniture
Frustrated because you've tried to stop your cat from peeing or pooping outside of the litter box, but nothing seems to be working?
Feel like your cat is misbehaving out of spite, or to get back at you?
Solving your cat's inappropriate litter box problem can be a bit tricky, but when you have the right knowledge, stopping the behavior is simple - and instead of feeling angry at your cat all the time, you'll finally get back to having fun with them again.
Not only that, but you'll have peace of mind knowing if the problem ever starts again, you know the solution and will be able to quickly stop it.
The good news is that, although it may feel like it, your cat is not behaving out of spite to "get back at you".
Cats are just very sensitive creatures, even more so when it comes to where they choose to eliminate. In the wild, cats buried their waste to conceal their scent from predators.
3 Step Process To Make Your Cat Use Their Litterbox
1) The first and most important step toward solving the behavior is to identify what started it, because then you can take the right steps toward resolving it. This can sometimes be tricky, but all it requires is a little thought. It takes a little bit of detective work, and you have to know what to look for.
For example, has a dog or child been unexpectedly startling your cat while he/she is using the box? This can cause them to stop using it. Have they recently been declawed? Are you using a new type of litter? Did you recently move the litter box to a different location?
Think about when this behavior began, and really ask yourself... what has changed since this problem began?
Before doing anything else, take your cat to the vet and make sure it is not a UTI - Urinary Tract Infection. This is the #1 cause of litter box avoidance problems.
2) The second step is creating an environment where your cat has very few appealing options for pottying anywhere other than the litter box. This means restricting access to the areas where the cat is currently peeing/pooping inappropriately.
3) Third is finding a permanent solution to whatever situation caused the behavior to start. In other words, if it started because the cat is feeling stressed, a number of things will need to happen to alleviate the cats stress and make her feel safe pottying in the litter box.
Cats are very sensitive creatures and *any* change at all in their routine or environment has the potential to cause a litter box problem like this.
Over the years I've seen dozens of different situations that caused cats not to use the box - from toddlers startling them while they're peeing, to having a painful bowel movement in the box (thus associating the pain with the litter box and thinking the box causes pain), to moving to a new house, other cats intimidating them, stress/anxiety, having surgery, etc.
Pooping outside the box often happens when a cat has had painful bowel movements. The cat associates the pain with the litter box and becomes afraid to use the litter box to poop in.
Most commonly, the cause of the problem can be traced back to one of the following:
(One exception to this, is when a cat poops just outside of the litter box. This is typically because the box is too small. So the cat actually stands inside the litter box, but their bottom hangs outside. Getting an extra large box (like a rubbermaid underbed storage container) solves this problem.)
The goal is to make the litter box the most appealing option to your cat, while making other areas unappealing and/or restricting access to any area your cat has been inappropriately peeing.
This means keeping all clothes off the floor, keeping closet doors shut, bedroom doors shut, keeping the cat off the counters, furniture, etc. and giving your cat very few - if any - options for pottying anywhere other than the litter box.
At some point, something has happened caused your cat to decide the litter box is not the most appealing/safest place to potty.
It could be a traumatic experience, stress from having some part of its environment suddenly change, another pet or small toddler that bothers or intimidates your cat, etc.
Identifying the reason *why* the behavior *started* is the most important step toward solving it. Think very hard and carefully about anything at all that may have changed at the time, or near the time this behavior started.
Once you've clearly identified that, you will be able to take the proper steps to solve the problem much faster.
1) Restrict access to anywhere your cat has been peeing/pooping inappropriately. Restrict access to anywhere they might potty inappropriately.
My suggestion is make things as simple as possible - create an environment where the litter box truly is the most appealing option.
(For example, if your cat has been peeing on soft surfaces such as blankets, pillows, rugs, etc. Make sure this new environment has none of those soft surfaces around for them to choose over the litter box.)
2) Thoroughly clean any areas where the cat has peed or pooped with a strong, effective cleaner and odor remover. (It's also a good idea to get a black light so you can find every single area where there is cat urine.)
3) Identify the reason why the behavior started.
4) Take the proper steps to solve the problem.
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