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007. Housetraining - problem


This article is from the Problem Behaviors in Cats FAQ, posted to rec.pets.cats newsgroup. Maintained by Cindy Tittle Moore with numerous contributions by others.

007. Housetraining - problem

It is possible for cats to stop using the litter box or to have trouble learning in the first place.

Do NOT ever try to discourage a cat's mistakes by rubbing its nose in it. It never worked for dogs and most certainly will not work for cats. In fact, you wind up reminding the cat of where a good place to eliminate is!

Potential CAUSES for failure to use litterbox:


+ diarrhea (many causes)

o small intestinal- soft to watery

o colitis (inflamed colon)- mucus in stool, blood, straining

+ urinary bladder inflammation


o Bacterial infections

o trauma

o calculi (bladder stones)

o tumors

+ polydipsia/polyuria (excessive water volume consumed and urine voided: upper water intake for cats is 1oz/lb; most cats drink considerably less than this)

o diabetes insipidus

o diabetes mellitus

o kidney disease

o liver disease

o adrenal gland disease

o pyometra (pus in the uterus)

o hypercalcemia (high blood calcium)

o others


+ intact female in heat

+ intact male spraying

+ marking of peripheral walls particularly near windows may be from presence of outdoor cats

+ may be triggered by over-crowding of indoor cats

+ previously neutered cat has a bit of testicular or ovarian tissue remaining, possibly resulting in a low level of hormone which could trigger marking

+ neutered male with sexual experience exposed to female in heat


+ overcrowding: too many cats using same box

+ failure to change littter frequently enough -- some cats won't use a dirty box

+ failure to provide constant access to litterbox

+ change in type of litter used

+ change in location of litterbox

+ unfamiliar, frightening, or loud objects near box: dishwasher, etc.

+ food and water too close to litterbox

+ objectionable chemical used to wash or disinfect litterbox

+ location preference: your cat may want the box in a different location

+ texture preference: your cat doesn't like the feel of the litter

+ failure to cover litter: learned process from parents

o use of litterbox is instinctive

o cats that don't cover litter may be more prone to litterbox problems

o your cat may be indicating texture preference problem

* PSYCHOLOGICAL STRESS (most common manifestation is inappropriate urination)

+ addition or subtraction of other pets in household

+ visitors, company, parties, redecorating, construction, or any type of commotion

+ a move to a new environment

+ change in routine or schedule: a new job or working hours

+ their return from boarding or hospitilization

+ interaction problem with other pets or cats

o cats are asocial rather than antisocial; in the wild each has a territory and period of contact with others in the group (and only one male per group)

o a closed environment will create a greater degree of interaction than some cats prefer. The more cats in a household, the greater the degree of interaction


+ likely to produce repeated visitations to the same spot

+ may induce urination by other members of a multi-cat household

+ you may have moved to a residence previously occupied with other dogs and/or cats


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