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Your Questions About House-Training Pets

Your Questions About House-Training Pets

Litter Box Troubles

Almost every cat owner at one time or another has to deal with a cat who decides not to use the litter box. Often there’s a good reason for it… Following are some of the letters we’ve received on this subject and our suggestions for eliminating the problem – and the problem odors.

I have a cat who refuses to use the litter box and the vet says it is all in her attitude. Any suggestions?

There is a product called “Attract” that will help your cat use the litter box again. You can find it at Pet Co. or ask your vets if they know where to get it. It is a bit costly but the theory is that you only need one bag of it. It’s a clumping product that you just mix in with your usual litter and she will find it a better place to go than where she was. If you place foil and plastic where she did like to go it will help get her away from that area. Cat’s don’t like the feel of plastic sheeting and foil on their feet. Good Luck! Laura

Overshooting the Litter Box

Lately my cat Nikita has been peeing on my bathroom floor occasionally. She will be in the box but she doesn’t squat enough and she “shoots” the pee over the edge of the box onto the floor. I would like to know how I can help fix her problems. Donna

Time to get a covered litter box. That will cure Nikita’s over shooting. Have you tried OxiClean? It’s really the answer to cleaning up cat urine so you don’t have to smell it again. It doesn’t bleach out colors and it “eats” up the urine as well a bleach does. I’ve found it at WalMart.

Are you sure she doesn’t have “gravel” in her bladder? Cat’s will have the same behavior you’ve just described with that. Let me know, Laura

Forgetting can be a sign of illness…

I’m having a problem with my cat Janey. She is using a corner of my Turkish rug as a litter box. This didn’t start until we had her for over a year and it started at exactly the same time that my friend and her dog came to stay with us for a few months. Janey wasn’t afraid of the dog, they seemed to get along fine. (We also have a dog of our own and another cat) The dog and her owner have been gone for almost a year now, and Janey is still having her troubles. Every now and then, she’ll stop for a week or two and then start again. We keep her litterbox clean and thorougly clean the area she has soiled, but even after stopping for as long as two weeks, she starts again. Is she trying to tell me something?

Janey may very well have a bladder or kidney infection and is trying to show you her discomfort. Have you taken her to the vet? Janey does not like changes in her home environment so she shows you she’s “pissed off” about something in this way.

There is a product called Attract, you can find it a Pet Co. or you might ask your vet about it when you see him/her. You just put it in the litter box and then Janey will find it a better place to do her business. I have a freind who has had great success with it. It is a bit expensive but the good news is that you don’t have to use it forever. She only had to buy it once. It’s a clumping brand so you just mix your usual brand of clumping litter in at as you go. (That’s the theory) Then you’ll hopefully have good results and no more messes on your Turkish towels. By the way, Oxi-clean is the ONLY thing that truly gets rid of the cat pee odor on clothes, towels, carpet, etc. Take care, she’s a very sensitive cat. Love, Laura

Forgetting as a sign of anger….

Our cat appears to be very angry. We’ve had a few new changes such as: A new house, two new cats, and a new baby. Since all of this she pees in every room in the house. Do females mark their territory? What can we do about this? we try to give her extra attention but she still seems mad? We don’t want to keep her outside. is there another alternative? -Jenny & Frankie

I think all of us have had a similar problem with a cat at some time in our lives, so you’ll find replies following from several of our group.

The key issue here is that your cat is unhappy and feels displaced. This is not so much about marking territory as it is about letting you know that she is feeling very insecure and angry. And she may not be feeling well as a result of all the changes… if you haven’t had her checked by a vet, do so right away, this behaviour is often indicative of some bladder or kidney infection. You may find that putting some Rescue Remedy (a Bach Flower Remedy) in her water for a few weeks will help.

One thing that has worked well for me in the past is to communicate very clearly and emphatically – not with anger, but with emphasis, that if the cat doesn’t stop peeing around the house, she won’t be allowed in. Tell her that good cats use their litter box – and be sure it is clean and that she has a special space just for her that is a bit out of the way. She needs lots of loving and hugs and encouragement… I am afraid that if you put her out at this point, she will just feel more isolated and unloved… and since this is about insecurity, my sense is that the best remedy is going to be lots of love and understanding… the rest of the team have some good tips for you also… hope these insights help. Lotsa LLLove, Danielle

SHE must have her own litter box, put other cats out everyday while she remains in, feed her first in front of others! Her territory has been invaded, her immune system could be declining as she takes this as a sign of her weakness that all these changes have appeared on the scene, Sherie

She is feeling very insecure and marking her territory to make sure everyone and everything understands it is her house. Is she spayed? If not it is probably the answer that will help a bit. It is a very difficult problem to solve. She will stop once she feels secure. Also was there another cat that lived in the house before you bought it? It may have sprayed and your cat just covering the strange scent.

There are sprays which you can purchase from large pet stores which will help deter her. Talking to her and telling her she is displeasing you should help. Reassure her she is and always be first in your heart. Spend some time petting her and talking to her. Victoria

My cat too does this when she’s upset. I remember one time she actually went on top of my son (he was 8 at the time) when he was sleeping and actually peed on him. He was not amused. He will probably need therapy on that one, grin.

This is usually a sign of distress. For my cat it was an actual bladder infection and once I brought her in she was fine. Also if their litter litter box is not as clean as usually they will do it. My cat is a large hairy thing but I get her shaved because she feels much happier. If her hair gets to long she will start peeing on things.

It probably has to do with the new baby and especially the new cats will trigger a cat but she will get used to it. My gut says it will take another 2 or 3 weeks (hopefully its not months my guides are talking about) to get her used to the new changes.

Do you have a downstairs? Can you keep her down there for a few days so she knows she’s doing wrong?

Good luck and congratulations on your new baby, Sharon

How do you tell you dog to go to the bathroom outside? Hali

You do that by waiting 5 minutes after they have eaten. Take them outside on a leash and take them for a walk until they do their business. As they start to squat or lift their leg to pee say “Good dog! Take care of business.” and give them a treat. Repeat the same statement as they start to squat to poop and give them the treat. In no time at all your dog will have learned o go to the bathroom outside. All it takes is a little of your attention at the right time and some exercise for both of you and you are on the right track. Good Luck, keep up your end of the bargain. Love. Laura

How can I communicate to my cat that I need her to stop urinating on my rugs. I have to shut the bathroom door because she’ll go on the throw rugs in the bathroom. I’ve just put in new hardwood floors on the first level of my home because she’s ruined the wall-to-wall carpet. A new area rug that I’ve laid down is now a new target. Help! Laurie

I hate to be the one to tell you but since she already has an established pattern of inappropriate urination in those places there is very probably nothing you can do to stop it completely. So, you need to pick your battles with her.

The throw rugs in the bathroom can be washed in OxiClean and put back in place. OxiClean is the only thing that I have found that really does get that smell out.

You can try Feliaway in your home where she misbehaves. Drs. Foster and Smith carry that product in their catalog. If you go to their website; you can read about the product. There is a spray bottle and a “comfort zone” aromatheraphy dispenser. I think I would buy both if I were you. There is another product you need to invest in, Good luck with the process. Love, Laura

About 2 weeks ago, my cat Snickers decided not to use her box anymore for urinating and is doing so on the rugs around the house. I have tried various methods to get rid of the smell, but how do I prevent Snickers from continuing this new habit. The rug she prefers is a thick white wool rug that had been dry-cleaned recently. She has not liked her box for defecating for some time, but it’s easier to deal with this. I have tried a new box, a new box location, but otherwise there is no change in our environment. There is some building going on in our neighborhood, which creates some noise and I had the painter in the house about 2 months ago. Can you help?? Else

Have you had Else to the vets for an examination? She could very well be telling you that she has a bladder infection. OxyClean works wonders getting out the smell but if I were you I’d roll up the thick white wool rug for a while and put it somewhere that Snickers can’t find it. Drycleaning does not get out cat urine smells. . . Have you tried different litters to see if that might make the difference? Snickers is definitely got a think about the litter box. Is it a covered box? If so take off the lid and see if that matters. This can be the most exasperating thing to get worked through with a cat. My thoughts are with you! Love, Laura

Dear Laura, thank you so much for responding to my e-mail. I forgot to tell you before that I did have Snickers checked out by the vet for a bladder infection. He could not find anything wrong with her, but gave me an antibiotic for her as a precaution. Some time back I changed the litter box (it is an open one) and changed the litter. I treated the rug with some products that were “sure” to get the smell out, which was not totally true, but it helped. To get rid of the stains someone recommended Windex and this seems to be doing the trick (for the stains only).> Your recommendation to roll up the rug for some time might be the best solution yet and I will do so as soon as it has dried up completely from the various treatments. Your answer to my distress call was very much appreciated. Best regards, Else.

Oh dear! If/when this problem goes on for awhile (like more then a week with a female cat and there is no bladder infection) it’s a big problem! Bladder distress is often caused by control issues, like changes in the environment, people coming or going, moving. Things of that nature. The cat no longer feels “in control” or is mirroring the owners feeling of being out of control. All things to ponder. Best of luck!! Love, Laura

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