Inappropriate Elimination in cats according to the veterinarians of the Lachine Veterinary Clinic.
When a cat urinates or eliminates stools in the house and out of its litter box, it is never pleasant. This behavior is called inappropriate elimination. And the latter is the most common undesirable behavior encountered with cats.
The causes of an inappropriate elimination can be divided in two: medical and non-medical .
In terms of medical causes, veterinarians at the Lachine veterinary clinic immediately think of urinary problems such as cystitis (bladder infection) or the presence of stones in the bladder. These conditions generate a lot of pain and cats that have them tend to want to urinate very often, but in small amounts wherever they are, every time the pain becomes too intense.
Other diseases such as renal insufficiency, hyperthyroidism and diabetes, to name a few, cause excessive thirst and are associated naturally with frequent urination. Cats with these conditions find it difficult to hold back and sometimes, they urinate outside their tank when they cannot reach them in time.
Some geriatric diseases such as osteoarthritis can also cause inopportune elimination. If the tray is placed on a countertop or in a location that is not easily accessible, the arthritic cat will have greater difficulty accessing it. Same thing if the walls of the litter box are very high, the cat can then have a lot of difficulty climbing up the litter box and will have no choice but to eliminate elsewhere.
Eventually, diseases of the digestive system such as colitis, intestinal parasites, constipation, blockage or infection of the anal bags, can result in the elimination of stools in the home.
Apart from medical causes, the major non-medical causes can be divided into three categories: aversion, preference and marking. In terms of aversion, a cat may not like its tray, the type of litter used, or where it is located. For example, if the tray is placed in the children’s playroom, it is quite possible that the cat hesitates to go to in his box.
The strong odors that sometimes come out of the tank when it is not cleaned often enough, can sometimes discourage the cat from going there also. Scented litters sometimes can cause the same problem. Finally, some ammonia-based detergents have the unfortunate property of leaving an unpleasant residual odor for cats, who ,let’s not forget, have a much more developed sense of smell than ours and will then avoid going into the box .
The type of litter used may also cause aversion in some cats, whether due to the texture or the inadequate amount of litter in the tray .
The height and style of the litter box can also cause undesirable aversion and elimination. Think of an inferior sized tray, too small for a big cat or conversely far too high for a kitten. Some bins are nowadays fitted with lids and this is not always adequate for some felines.
In terms of preference, it can be said that a cat may prefer one kind over another. It may prefer clumping litter to that made of traditional clay gravel. He may also prefer one place rather than another, especially if the box is in a busy place. In some cases, the texture and cleanliness of some places such as the carpet in the living room, the floor in the dining room, some fabrics such as clothes or plastic may seem more attractive to a cat.
Finally, marking is a normal behavior in cats, it is their way of leaving their business card, marking their territory or attracting a potential mate. It is however very unpleasant! Unsterilized cats have a special way of marking: they mainly make it standing up, allowing small amounts of urine to escape on vertical surfaces. Some cats and sterilized cats will mark their territory by urinating on certain objects belonging to the owner. With these animals, this type of tagging is often associated with the presence of outside cats. It can also be a manifestation of anxiety in some cats . Note that the incidence of this type of marking increases with the number of cats living under one roof. One study reported a 100% chance in families with 10 or more cats.
Let’s see how to fix the problem.
In the first place, you must make sure that your cat does not suffer from a medical problem. You should therefore consult the veterinarians of the Lachine Veterinary Clinic.
It is essential to clean the soiled areas. We strongly recommend using products that will completely neutralize odors ,not masking products like certain fragrances. For more information, please contact us. You can also cover the areas soiled with a thick plastic. This can have the effect of discouraging the cat from eliminating on the covered location.
If it is an inopportune elimination related to the aversion phenomenon, you must carry out an impeccable maintenance of the tank: remove urine and feces as they appear. If you choose clumping litter, in addition to removing stools, you should remove the agglomerated urine pellets daily and change the litter once a week. When cleaning the tray, do not forget to use ammonia or bleach cleaners.
It is important to provide the cat with an inopportune elimination problem, a good variety of bins and litters. Offer different models of different sizes.
Another good idea is to place bins in the places chosen by the cat. You can then move these containers to a more convenient location very gradually.
In a family where several cats live, it is also important to identify the culprit: if necessary, you should isolate the cats ,one by one for a short period of time, in a room. Also, remember that you should have at least one litter box per cat living under one roof, plus another , and up to five. So, in a family where four cats live, we should find five clean litter boxes!
Sterilization is effective in 90% of males and 95% of females to regulate inappropriate eliminations .
In regards to sterilized cats that are marking; attempts should be made to limit the ability of house cats to view outside cats and ,when possible, to get rid of these cats . You must block visual access through windows and doors. You can also lock the cat in a room where he cannot see the outside cats. In some cases, motion sensors or fences can keep some outdoor cats out of the yard and away from the windows.
A behavioral consultation with a veterinarian is always indicated. Sometimes some medication may be prescribed to correct the problem when environmental changes or sterilization have not been effective. Talk to veterinarians at the Lachine Veterinary Clinic.
If you ever have any questions, do not hesitate to contact a member of the medical team of the Clinic (514-634-4190) who will be happy to assist you.