Behavior problems, house soiling especially, can be one of the most frustrating topics to deal with in animal health. First and foremost, it is important to rule out all medical cause prior to addressing behavior issues. Complications and disease can be a direct cause of an animal “acting out”. Once this step is taken, steps to fix the behavior problem can begin. Just remember, consistency and patience is key when dealing with animal attitude!
For cats, house soiling is probably one of the most common behavior issues veterinary professionals encounter. Whether it be on a favorite shirt or the same spot on your chair, cats usually use this method as their sounding board. Other behavior problems can include self-mutilation, lashing out at the owner and destroying furniture. Fortunately, there are several things that can be done to remedy this problem.
Adding More Plastic Thrones
Step one is to add one or two more litter boxes. This especially holds true in a multiple cat household. Not all kitties like to share where they go to the bathroom, which sometimes results in house soiling. The general rule of thumb is one more litter box than the number of cats. So, if you have 3 cats, use 4 litter boxes.
You may even try changing the location of the new litter boxes. Careful consideration of the style of litter box should also come into play. If you are currently using an open litter box, try one with a lid on top for some added privacy.
Offering Multiple Litter Options
Next, try offer multiple types of litters at once. Many litters are loaded with perfumes to appease us humans, but many of these may irritate cats. After all, cats’ senses are said to be 14 times a humans.
Aside from perfume sensitivities, the feeling of the litter could be an issue for your cat. There are different materials aside from the typical clay and sand litters. Pine pellets are one example of this.
Calming Herbs and Drugs
Calming herbs and pheromone collars/sprays are another wonderful way to remedy house soiling. Herbs come in all different forms, from chew treats to powders to tea pills. Finding one that your cat will willingly eat and sticking to it is the biggest challenge.
Pheromone therapy is a great alternative to getting your cat to eat something. The science behind the pheromones is that they mimic the pheromones that mother cats release to their young. This is said to have a “soothing” effect on stressed out kitties. They come in a variety of forms including collars, sprays and wall plug-ins.
Calming drugs are another option. However, we highly recommend trying natural remedies and changing some of the things mentioned above first. Monitoring blood work is required bi-annually due to the negative effects that they can cause on your cat’s major organs.
The Diet Change
The last thing that we usually recommend for house soiling is a diet change. These foods are formulated specifically for urinary issues. Examples are Hill’s c/d diet and Royal Canin S/O formula. The reason for changing to these foods is a condition we call cystitis…a fancy word for inflammation of the bladder. After other medical causes (such as UTIs and bladder stones) are ruled out, cystitis is left as the culprit.
Unfortunately, there are no known causes for this condition. The downside to changing to one of these diets is mainly the cost. This option may even seem like an impossible feat for people with multiple cats, but it can be achieved. Other than food, giving your cat a joint support supplement (such as Cosequin) has been said to work.
When Nothing Seems to Work
As every human is unique, so are our pets and their desires. If your situation involves multiple kitties, it is possible to have a cat that simply prefers to be alone. Secluding them in one room of the house with their own litter box, food and water would be a way to test this theory.
Lastly, and as mentioned from the start, patience and consistency is absolute key!