Why Is My Cat Not Toilet Trained?
The act of burying its droppings is a behavior adopted by the cat to escape its predators. It is the cat that transmits this know-how to its young. It may happen that this education has only been partially completed, especially if the kitten has been separated from its mother too early. A cat that feels perfect security at the home of his masters can also forget the fundamental behaviors of concealment of his dejections.
However, if the burying of excreta is a strategy for the protection of the species, it conflicts with the need to mark one’s territory. When the latter takes over, it leads the cat to leave its traces anywhere in its master’s dwelling, except in the litter intended for this purpose. The droppings of felines contain pheromones perceived by their congeners. They serve to delimit the territory of life and hunting of an individual, warning intruders who venture there that they are not welcome. In the most problematic cases, cats with a dominant temperament – most often males – go so far as to deposit their fragrant turds in evidence on the furniture. They consider that the places belong to them and intend to point this out. The higher the deposit, the greater their feeling of power.
Tip 1: To Solve A Cleanliness Problem, Identify The Cause
The first thing to do to solve a cleanliness problem is to identify:
- if it is simply a question of helping the cat to acquire or regain good habits of cleanliness,
- or if it is a question of fighting against his wild side and his need to delimit his territory.
- remove (temporarily) carpets,
- place his favorite toy close to where he soiled the last time,
- roll out aluminum foil on the floor in places it soils regularly.
For that, you will have to surprise and observe your cat when he relieves himself outside his litter box.
If he stands up straight, tail stiff, and just expels a little urine before starting again, it’s marking his territory.
If he squats to urinate, he hasn’t learned to use the litter box.
Tip #2: Sterilize Your Cat
Territory marking is a very common behavior in intact males, although it can also be done by females in heat. Therefore, sterilization appears to be the most obvious solution, especially if you do not want your cat to breed. You will gain at the same time in quality of cohabitation: sterilization indeed reduces the risk of confrontations between cats. Moreover, it is encouraged by the public authorities to contain the populations of cats in the city, because the proliferation of our dear domestic felines weighs on small wildlife, birds in particular.
It may happen that the sterilization is not enough and that the cat continues to act like a dominant male. It may be that you are not exercising enough authority. Also, you will have to be firmer with your pet: do not give him all his whims and limit the rooms to which he has the right to access to impose you as the master (or mistress).
Tip #3: Make Sure It Has Its Own Bin
If you have several cats, it is necessary that each of them has its own litter box. The ideal is not to install them all in the same room because it is not because they share the same bowl and the same sofa that they are ready to do their business in the same place.
If you have placed your cat’s litter box outside (balcony, terrace, etc.), it is also possible that he refuses to use it because a neighborhood cat has taken it without your knowledge. You must therefore make sure that your cat can have access to its litter box.
Tip #4: Pay Attention To Your Cat’S Comfort
Do not place a cat’s litter in a busy place, where the animal would be likely to be jostled by the passage of children or the dog when it does its business. Also avoid placing it near the washing machine, the dryer or the dishwasher because the noise of these devices is a source of stress for cats, their hearing being particularly well developed. You should also know that some cats prefer to have at their disposal a covered bin because it reassures them and gives them the calm they need to relieve themselves.
It can happen that a cat suddenly stops being clean when it had never caused a problem in the past. It’s probably that his environment has changed and it doesn’t suit him. His lack of cleanliness is then the means of expressing his anxiety or his displeasure. Find out what the trigger is. Have you moved his litter box recently, replaced the box or changed the brand of sand? Have you introduced a new piece of furniture nearby, changed the decoration of the room or changed the lighting conditions? Once the environment it was used to is restored, the problem will surely disappear. Of course, in the event of a move, the situation is more complicated to resolve. You will probably have to experiment a bit to find where to put the litter box.
Tip #5: Clean The Litter Box Frequently
You don’t have to wait until the litter is saturated with droppings to empty it and replace it. Like hearing, a cat’s sense of smell is more developed than ours and it can really be bothered by the smell of urine-soaked sand. Then replace the sand more often than you already do, clean the bin each time using water and an odorless detergent. Finally, add a few drops of a special litter deodorizer to create a satisfactory environment for your cat’s delicate muzzle.
Over time, depending on the nature of your tap water, a limestone deposit may form at the bottom of the tank. This creates a real trap for bacteria, sources of bad odors. Then use white vinegar to get rid of it. If you can’t get the plastic to feel smooth again, replace it.
Tip No. 6: Mark Out Its Different Living Areas
Whether or not they respect the litter box, adult cats do not relieve themselves in the same place as where they eat or where they sleep. They will also avoid relieving themselves near their toys and will avoid uncomfortable surfaces. Following these logics, here are some tips for structuring your territory:
The cat will eventually realize that the litter box is the most satisfying option for defecating.
Tip 7: Do Not Hesitate To Talk About It With Your Veterinarian
Under no circumstances should you give up in front of a cat cleanliness problem. It happens that none of the explanations and its solutions mentioned above solve it. A toilet problem can also be a sign of a health problem such as a urinary tract infection, cystitis or another disease, kidney failure or diabetes. If your cat urinates without restraint, has diarrhea and drinks a lot, don’t wait to make an appointment with the veterinarian. With advancing age, osteoarthritis can also prevent him from accessing the tray and squatting there. The animal health professional will be able to ask a diagnostic and advise you to adapt the environment to the physical form of your companion.