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008. Housetraining - Treatment


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.

008. Housetraining - Treatment

* Rule out medical problems FIRST

+ complete history and physical

+ stool/GI workup for diarrhea (if needed)

+ urinalysis for inappropriate urination to rule out an infection

+ workup for polydipsia/polyuria

+ important to check all cats of a multi-cat household

o last cat seen misbehaving may be responding to chemical attraction and not be an instigator

o more than one cat could have problem

+ treat/correct medical problems first. Behavioral problems can only be diagnosed in a healthy cat

* Territorial marking

+ neuter all cats (check history of neutered cats; retained testicle in male or signs of heat in female)

+ prevent other cats from coming around outside of house, close windows, blinds, and doors

+ prevent overcrowding in multi-cat households

* Litter box problems

+ provide a box for each cat

+ change litter daily

+ provide constant access to a box

+ go back to previously used brand of litter and/or discontinue new disinfectant

+ move box to where it was previously used

+ eliminate new or frightening noise near litterbox

+ move food and water away from litterbox

+ if cat is only going in one spot, put the litterbox at the exact location and gradually move it back to where you want it at the rate of one foot per day

+ if there are several places, try putting dishes of cat food in those areas to discourage further elimination there

+ experiment with different textures of litter (cats prefer sandy litter)

+ use a covered litterbox for cats that stand in box but eliminate outside of it

* Psychological Stress

+ eliminate if possible

+ try to provide each cat at home with its own "space"

o use favorite resting areas to determine

o provide separate litterboxes near each space if possible

o cubicles, boxes, shelves, crates are effective for this

+ tranquilizers sometimes work well in multicat situations

* Chemical attraction

+ dispose of all soiled fabric or throw rugs if possible

+ 50% vinegar or commercial products may be used

+ steam cleaning may help

+ repellants may help

+ do not replace carpeting until problem entirely solved or it may start all over again on your new carpeting

* Confinement (In portable kennel with litterbox, (with appropriate corrections) to stop further inappropriate behavior while medical and/or other problems are being treated.)

+ particularly beneficial for transient stress induced problem

+ may allow acclimation to stress situation where source of stress cannot be eliminated

+ procedure

o choose an area that can be a permanent location of litterbox

o keep cat confined to this area 4-6 weeks when not under your direct visual supervision (if your cat attempts elimination outside of kennel when you are watching, squirt with water pistol as soon as elimination posture is attempted and put cat back in kennel)

o if cat is using box regularly for 4 to 6 weeks when not under your gradually give access to larger and larger areas of your home, one room or hallway at a time

# allow 1 week of good behavior in the new area before adding the new room

# never increase access area until you are 100% certain cat's use of litterbox is 100%

# if accident occurs, re-evaluate this material to make sure litterbox problem or something else didn't trigger

o begin confinement over again and double intervals for relapses

* For inappropriate urination problems in which all else fails and the alternative is euthanasia, hormone therapy may be attempted.

+ only for neutered cats only 50% effective

+ side effects may include increased appetite (common), depression or lethargy (less common). Long term use might have side effects such as: mammary enlargement, adrenocrotical suppression, and diabetes mellitus.

+ usually requires lifelong maintenance on regular intermittent basis

+ very dangerous drug; use borders malpractice -- should be reserved for cats who will be put to sleep if problem is not solved

o immunosuppressive

o weight gains predisposing to obesity

o mammary gland development

o feminization of males

o may induce latent diabetes

+ dosage is initiated daily for 7 day trial; if effective, then dosage is tapered to least effective amount given every other day every one to two weeks

+ relapses may be expected when drug is discontinued


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