Housesoiling does not have to be a forever problem! In fact, we find many cats that were surrendered for housesoiling in one home do not have this issue in their foster homes or with their new families. There are many factors that can contribute to a cat urinating or defecating outside their litterbox. Thankfully this is often a problem that can be solved.
Five things that may cause housesoiling are:
- Your cat is experiencing pain or incontinence due to a medical problem. This is the first thing to rule out if a cat suddenly begins failing to use or make it to the litterbox. If you suspect your cat may be unwell, schedule an appointment with your vet as soon as possible.
- Something is making her uncomfortable in her litter box. If another cat, child, dog, person, or loud noise interrupts your cat while they are using the litterbox, they may seek a quieter place to do their business.
- The box hasn’t been cleaned in a while. Some cats are very picky, so giving the litterbox a deep clean and getting into a regular scooping routine can help.
- She eliminated outside the box and was immediately put in her litterbox as punishment.
- You recently changed the type of litter or the litterbox itself, and your cat does not like the new product.
If you are experiencing infrequent housesoiling from your cat or they have suddenly changed their litter box behaviour, you can try the following things:
- Add an additional litter box, either on another floor of your house or in a different area near where they are housesoiling. If their main litterbox is in a high-traffic area, find a quiet spot to put the second one to see if they prefer that location.
- Scoop the litter box more often (ideally every day).
- Use a urine enzymatic cleaner to clean the areas where they have eliminated outside of the box. Cats will often return to the same spot if they can smell their scent in the area.
- If you have recently changed the box style or litter type, change it back or try another alternative.
Our Behaviour department has an assortment of helpful documents on the causes and solutions for housesoiling. Click a link below to read more on these topics:
Punishing your cat for housesoiling will not solve the problem. Do not rub their nose in it or attempt to correct them when you find a mess. This is more likely to cause continued litter box issues. Instead, we recommend trying the suggestions in this article and in the handouts from our Behaviour department.