Can Housesoiling be Cured?

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:

Cat Housesoiling Checklist
Feline Marking Behaviours
Preventing Litter Box Issues
Solving Litter Box Problems

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.

Did you know that you can contact our Behaviour team even if you didn’t adopt your pet from Calgary Humane Society? They offer support to all animals and owners! Phone them at 403-723-6019 or email behaviour@calgaryhumane.ca.

Preventing Lyme Disease in Pets

 

You might breathe a sigh of relief when mosquito season is over, but fall has a different pest problem in Canada: ticks. While young ticks are prevalent in spring, adult ticks are most active in the autumn. Ticks, including deer ticks, are on the rise in Alberta in particular, with up to 20% of ticks screened in the province testing positive for Lyme disease.

Lyme disease is a zoonotic disease, which means it can be contracted by both humans and pets.

The best way to prevent Lyme disease is to prevent the ticks from biting your pet in the first place. Speak to your vet about preventative products such as pills or topical products that may be beneficial to your pet if you spend a lot of time outdoors. The options available to you and your pet will depend on your area, your pet’s health, and other factors. Be aware that products marketed for one kind of animal are not safe for others – i.e., if you purchase a preventative product for a dog, do not give a smaller dosage to your cat. Always consult a veterinarian before treating your pet with any preventative products.

Where possible, avoid tall grass and marshy areas when walking with your pet. Dogs, cats, and horses should be checked for ticks when they have been in contact with long grass and wooded areas like hiking trails or overgrown yards. Ticks tend to attach themselves to animals around their eyes or will hitch a ride on their coats. To check for a tick bite, thoroughly run your hands through an animal’s fur or hair. A bite will feel like a small lump on the animal’s skin.

Lyme disease can cause issues like lameness, lethargy, fever, painful joints, and even kidney failure in pets. It may take up to 5 months for any of these symptoms to appear if your pet has been bitten by a tick, so if your pet begins to show any of these signs or you feel a tick bite on your pet’s skin – regardless of the time of year – contact your vet immediately.

Lyme disease cannot be spread from one pet to another through contact with an infected animal. However, because people and their pets are often together when a pet is infected, it is important that any diagnosis of Lyme Disease in a human or a pet triggers testing for other family members, whether they have two legs or four.