Does your kitty have potty phobia?

One of the major perks of having a cat over, say, a dog or a horse, is that all cats instinctively drop their waste into neat little litter boxes, eliminating the need for frequent "walkies" and the palpable awkwardness that comes with the public use of pooper-scoopers and plastic baggies. Cats instinctively seek to bury their droppings, so it works out great for everybody!

So, what does it mean when they potty outside of the box?? "Inappropriate Elimination" is the term we use to politely discuss the problem of cats peeing everywhere but in their litter boxes. It is the largest single cause of concern among cat owners, right up there alongside clawing furniture and drapes. Shelters cite that it is the largest reason given by people surrendering cats. "He pees all over the house". Sad, because in many cases these cats are in physical pain, and peeing outside the box is not "bad behavior," but an effort to urinate without pain.

Cats are not spiteful creatures—that's one of the most refreshing things about them. Although we may view cats as mysterious, they do nothing without reason. Contrary to popular assumption, a cat who has a lapse in using the litter box is not trying to punish his or her owner. Your cat may be feeling out of balance, and this sign should alert you that your cat may be unwell or that something else is amiss. There probably is a good reason for this behavior, and it's up to us to figure out what it is. A cat who stops using the litter box may be getting a bladder or urinary tract infection. In this case cats might associate the litter pan with the pain they feel upon urinating and avoid using the litter. It is also possible that your cat may be avoiding the unfamiliar scent of a new brand of litter you've started using, or may not feel comfortable using the box where it is kept. Cats' behavior may change with an alteration in their routine or environment, such as a new cat or a new home. If you ignore it, or, worse yet, choose to punish your cat, an untreated medical problem can quickly become life-threatening.

If your cat is exhibiting abnormal behavior give us a call. If no medical problem exists, one of the vets may suggest trying Feliway or a behavior modifying medication. It is very likely that we can convince your cat to maintain good potty habits.